About four years ago, Udoka Uju stumbled on an oomph that would transform her life forever – painting.
Uju then resigned from her lucrative banking job in 2015 in Nigeria’s financial epicenter to pursue that energy which has turned her into an online most loved amongst youthful Nigerians – for exceeding expectations in a field ruled by men.
With the brand name – ‘The Lady Painter’, Uju has beautified a huge amount of homes and workplaces across Nigeria.
“Knowing that I am the first woman in Nigeria to come out boldly as a creative Painter, with a totally different painting concept and solution, does feel good,” Uju would say in an interaction with She.Leads.Africa (SLA).
“The idea of it being a male-dominated field is because we allowed it to be so in this part of the world. I am glad I am an influence to all other creative women out there, now a lot of women are coming out as Painters, even those who only called themselves “Artists” are now adding Painter to their profile,” she said excitedly.
Uju said the desire to find “my own path in life” as well as inspire the lives around her was what triggered her to painting.
“Up until late 2015, I had never thought of being a Painter. I had only always been fascinated with beautiful homes and spaces. I used to wonder what it took to create beautiful spaces and I used to imagine myself creating spaces like that.
“So, one day I just started calling myself The Lady Painter, and since then all I think of is how to create amazing spaces for people to live and work in,” she recollected.
The transition hadn’t been easy for Uju—from pain employment to uncertainty but she isn’t the type who gives up once the mind was made up.
“My experience made me realize how some of us actually take people with blue-collar jobs for granted,” she admitted. She said she had been turned down and disappointed by clients, days, minutes, seconds from penning an agreement with her.
Focused and determined to succeed, Uju spent profits she made on jobs she had to stay afloat. “To stop that from happening further, before I proceed on any job, my clients must sign my service request form, with my terms and conditions of service stated clearly, which saves me from being liable for defects on walls that I have no control over. This helps me do my job professionally.”
In late 2016, Uju launched the Grab a brush, Colour a life project. It involves renovating and painting poorly-kept public schools within any local community in Nigeria to inspire lives positively using colors and patterns.
The goal of each project is to beautify, give children a better learning experience, a colorful school environment and the opportunity to properly lead tomorrow.
Apart from beautifying the schools, the project also gives teachers and students information on everything from basic health safety to the dangers of climate change.
The maiden project took place on October 1st, 2016 at Araromi Primary School Mushin, Lagos.
“What led to it was the desire to not only make money from my skills,” Uju said “but, to also touch lives positively using my painting. I believe that everyone deserves to live and learn in a beautiful environment and so my mission is to inspire people to live in their full potential- using colors and bold patterns.”
Uju said: “Thankfully, both my business and my initiative have the same offering – Painting, which makes it a little easy to manage. The only difference is that one brings in money and the other cost me money.”
Having had to leave banking to find happiness in painting, Uju admonished young ones to always pursue whatever makes them happy and gives them satisfaction, saying “ if it will make you a better person, if it will make your neighbor (in this case your customer) happy, and if it will earn you a decent income, then, by all means, go out there and do it! Start by taking a first step which is understanding that your life is purposeful.”