Graffiti South Africa The definitive African graffiti and street art website.

WELCOME TO GRAFFITI SOUTH AFRICA
THE DEFINITIVE AFRICAN GRAFFITI & STREET ART WEBSITE.

This blog features news, pictures and event info to keep you updated with what is happening in the world of South African graffiti and street art.

FRIDAY FEATURE #5: Graffiti Girls

Graffiti is a typically male dominated art form but there are many females painting the streets today. We decided to add a little girl power and focus on three of these women…

Last weekend we caught up with Daisy at Mams Art Festival in Mamelodi, a township just outside of Pretoria.

How long have you been doing graffiti and street art?

I started painting approximately four years ago, where members from both DS and OWN crew were kind enough to let me tag along and teach me about the perplexity that is graffiti.

What inspires you to create art?

My art background spans for over tens years and within those years inspiration has come from a wide field of reference; people, life, artists, art, to name a few…

Photos: Irene Quirk

Tell us about your experience at Mams Art Fest?

Mams Art Festival is such an amazing collaboration between The Viva Foundation of South Africa, Mamelodi residents and artists from all walks of life. This foundation aims in creating a living art museum in an informal settlement located in Pretoria and is one of the very first.

Participating in this project is completely rewarding, especially assisting in fulfilling the goals of an organisation like The Viva Foundation (who do exceptional work in several amazing programmes in the Mamelodi community). I have a lot of adoration for this foundation.

What do you think of the role of urban art in today’s society?

As an individual who works in the built in environment, structures are erected to fill a function, as well as attempting to create a dialogue with the current context and be aesthetically pleasing. Urban art does the same thing. It’s role is equally as legitimate as art made in the studio, and other art forms. Possibly even more so where works of art are littered throughout the built environment, which in turn becomes far more accessible to the public. Whatever the statement or lack thereof, urban art engages with individuals on a platform that most others cannot. An art form the elite no longer have possession over.


Nard Star is a Cape Town based graffiti and street artist who is currently in America to paint and exhibit at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut, just outside of New York.

How did you get into graffiti and how long have you been doing it?

I got into graffiti when I was a teenager. I was always up to no good back then and used to spend a lot of time hanging out with my friends on the streets. We were all into Hip Hop but none of us did graffiti. I was already into art so it was a natural progression. You can say I’ve been painting solidly for about 4 years now….

Describe your graffiti style…

My style is just me having fun with shapes and colour. It’s like a intense game of Jenga.

What is your favourite piece you’ve painted?

I don’t really have a favourite. It’s usually the last wall I painted and then I paint another one which becomes the new fave.

What reactions have you received about your work on the street?

I usually get good responses to my art on the street. People enjoy the bright colour and figuring out the animals, but sometime people can just be really confused about why I am doing art on a wall in the first place.

Do you think it’s any different for a girl to do graffiti since it’s very male dominated?

No, I don’t think it’s any different for girls and guys…

What inspires you?

Walls, animals, progression, travel, other artists, the streets, shapes and colour.

Favourite artists?

I don’t have favourites, but I have respect and admiration to all artists that live their art and keep getting better and better.

What do you think is the role of art in todays society?

I think each artist has their own reasons for their art. Some make art without even considering a viewer so I cant really answer that question properly.

Last year, we linked Nard to a Toronto-based independent film-maker, Idalina Leandro Pifaro, who is currently in the process of shooting a documentary film about woman who write graffiti.

All She Wrote” is a documentary that tells the story of female graffiti writers presented through the artist’s own voice. With emphasis on the women behind the art, the film uncovers a common passion but unique motivations and experiences. Spanning Europe and the America’s, “All She Wrote” is ultimately a story of powerful, dedicated, and ambitious women, presented through their own eyes and ears.

All She Wrote Teaser 2 from a film company on Vimeo.

With the project nearly complete, we asked Idalina about the film and her interest in graffiti art…

What made you want to make a film about girls who do graffiti?

On a personal note, graffiti has always been my favourite kind of art, al
though I can’t place exactly why. Perhaps I was a graffiti writer in 
another life, because I’ve never had the courage or the talent to do 
it in this one. But, I fulfilled my love for graffiti through
 photography, taking photos of spectacular pieces and of spray-painted 
walls all over the world. And it was when I lived in Portugal in 2002 
that I first decided to find out about the women that were creating 
this visceral, urban art. I was so impressed by their passion for
 graffiti and the pieces they created, I wanted to make a documentary 
film that was dedicated to them. A documentary I could relate to as a
 woman, one that looked past the typical male-dominant graffiti scene.

What message do you want to say with your film, if any?

The message I would like to send in my film is if you believe in yourself you can achieve anything you want. All these women have empowered themselves through their art and have achieved great things by standing up for what they believe in.

How much work still needs to be done to complete the film? When do you hope to release it?

About 40% of the film still needs to be done, but I hope to be finished shooting by the end of the year. We will be submitting the film to film festivals for the 2014 season.

Are you working on other projects? And do you think you’ll make another documentary film after ASW?

At the moment “All She Wrote” is the only project that I am working on. Making a documentary takes a lot of your time, and I am also a full time mom, so other projects don’t have room. But yes, I will make other documentaries and films, I have lots of ideas and scripts we can work on.

A crowd funding campaign was recently opened to raise more funds for the film. Make a donation HERE.

AFRICA \\ Arts For Change - Graffiti in Botswana

Arts For Change is “an initiative to empower youth to use their artistic talents as a means to develop their livelihoods.”

Last year, they hosted a graffiti event with South Africa’s Mak1one & Kasi along with some local graff artists:

Pics: ImageLounge

This week they will be hosting Jace, a graffiti artist from Reunion Island, known for his character ‘Gouzou’.

More info on their Facebook page

AFRICA \\ OptOne in Lesotho

OptOne spent some time in Maseru, capital of Lesotho. This was part of his ‘spray-cation’ around South Africa last year.

NEWS\\ City Of Gold: Artist Update

City Of Gold Urban Arts Festival 2013 is almost upon us and we can’t curb the excitement!

More featured artists have been announced recently:

  • Revok & Pose of MSK crew (USA),
  • Solo One (UK), coming back for a second time.

Herakut (Germany) and Kid Kréol & Boogie (Réunion Island) are also participating in the festival.

>> http://www.cityofgoldfestival.co.za/

FRIDAY FEATURE #4: Mars - A South African Graffiti King

One of the most notorious writers in South African graffiti is MARS.

A king in all aspects, from train bombing and rollups to colourful pieces that are out of this world good!

We caught up with him for an exclusive interview…

How did you get into graffiti… Was there anything that sparked this obsession?

I was 13-14 years old and first saw graffiti in a Source magazine. Later that year, a friend and I were watching a movie called “187” and these kids from L.A were drinking, smoking weed, skateboarding and doing graffiti. Graffiti was the subsequent misdemeanour – we were already doing all the other stuff. We drew some shit graffiti attempts and the next day made a mess in an abandoned church next door. Looking back, it had nothing to do with art, we were just fucked up.

How did you come across your name?

Maybe a year later, after dabbling with random names, words, characters, mostly on paper, still not knowing what graffiti is or meant to be, we were at the same church and I had an alien character I did. I wanted to put a word next to it, so being a dumbass I did the most obvious thing and free-styled a horrific MARS. I ran out of paint halfway through, this happened often in the toy days… At the time I was unaware that there are a million other Mars’ in every city around the world. I would have chosen something more original had I known.

What was the scene like when you first started writing?

There was no scene really, the only graffiti I saw was DS and DBS tags around my area, being young I also couldn’t get around much so that’s all I knew. There were no graffiti shops, no imported name brand spraypaint, no books, no blogs, no Facebook, no super-star graffiti artists, NOTHING… I discovered Artcrimes.com, and in the following years looked at every single page on that site, maybe even twice, no jokes.

Around 2005, I went to Cape Town for the first time and brought back two rare gems; the “Graffiti World” book and 2 Montana cans from the graffiti store in Canal Walk, I think. Less than 8 years later and I have over 30 books and 6 different international brands of spray-paint on my shelf. It’s been a crazy transition from fuck all to information overload.

Your style keeps evolving and you go through ‘style phases’. Give us a little insight… This new style of yours is very funky and ‘loose’ – and not symmetrical at all. Tell us more about your decision to move towards it…

For a long time I did symmetry pieces, and in recent years have been trying to make them more interesting than typical boring graffiti, you know, have the “WOW” effect. I came to a point where I realised that the symmetry had reached its highest point for me and it wasn’t going to get any more interesting or “WOW”. I still use a lot of the same shapes and elements, along with new ones. I always try doing something new, I like being meticulous and at the same time spontaneous; making a medley out of two extremes, often one prevails. At times you can see a piece is a lot more spontaneous and experimental. Bombing is obviously a little different, repetition is key. I try being versatile; characters, pieces, backgrounds, anything with a can that I want to do.

You like to add extra flare to your pieces by adding characters. Have you ever felt a need to explore characters more?

Definitely, like I said, I want to do it all – be well rounded artistically, that includes characters. Hell, I might even do some more street art orientated stuff in the future, who knows, I just ride the wave.

Tell us about your crew, Demolition Squad…

Your crew has been putting up high class productions lately. Do you plan a wall or do you just freestyle? And is it hard to translate your ideas from paper onto the wall?

Tapz, Tyke, Aybe (London), Fiya and Mars. Whereas a lot of crews are a bunch of weak writers coming together to make an average crew, DS is five individually strong writers who form a well rounded, prolific crew. We all have strengths and are all versatile; we bomb, do pieces, trains, jobs and live graffiti. DS has been around for over 10 years and has outlasted many crews throughout the years. Writers come and go within the crew, but those that are meant to be here are. I think we are the strongest now than we ever have been.

Walls get planned differently. Sometimes we meet for serious concepts, and other times we just do whatever on the day.

Favourite surface to paint on?

Lately; weird textured walls, over windows and protruding surfaces. I like how it looks - not so perfect like on a flat wall. Trains are also nice, if you don’t know why, then I suggest you go do one.

You’ve smashed a lot of trains in recent years… I’m sure you might have some crazy stories?

Being shot at definitely changes ones perception of life and how fragile it is. Myself, Angel, Trips and a German tourist writer, Azme, got to experience this one night not so long ago. Trips and I ran one way and were about 2 meters apart, we heard the bullet fly through in between us. I always cherished my time on this earth as I experienced death at an early age, but this definitely gave me insight to my own mortality and how much I love being here.

Besides graffiti, what else are you interested in?

Most forms of art, music, reading, hanging with friends and loved ones, Nikes, driving, hustling, watches, eating at larney (fancy) restaurants poorly dressed, tattoos, pulling wire, x-hamster, pulling wire on x-hamster, pushing buttons, cigars, disappointing people, gear, pissing off girls, trying to stay sober, slores, buying crap I’ll never use, avoiding authorities, experiencing new things, travelling, hating, loving, loving to hate, hating to be in love… I believe life is about experience, so I try everything at least once.

Which artists do you admire the most right now?

Too many to mention, all for very different reasons, some of which have nothing to do with graffiti.

How does it feel knowing that you are inspiring the next generation of graffiti artists in SA?

I never really thought I was inspiring anyone, I guess pretty well, if you say so. I think I still have a lot to do, I’m just glad when someone looks at my pictures, even better if they can relate, it validates my existence. I only hope someone picks this shit up by the time I leave.

Where is the best place you’ve painted and where in the world you like to paint next?

I really like the freedom Johannesburg has, in first world cities it’s a lot more difficult to get walls, do street bombing and trains, as the public are very aware of graffiti. Jo’burg graffiti is still in somewhat of a grey area, in all aspects… I liked Sofia, Bulgaria, it’s similar there. Brazil is a must…

Will you ever stop doing graffiti?

Who knows?

What do you think graffiti of the future will look like?

Probably like graffiti of the past, it all goes in circles. Crappy retro graffiti is popular at the moment, just as vintage clothing is. I wouldn’t be surprised if people start doing cave man scratching and it becomes popular. Then again, so is the new “design” style graffiti, which is definitely a lot more “futuristic” looking, with a dash of retro. I don’t know, graffiti is so diverse at this point it could go anyway.

Special thanks to MARS for this interview. ©GraffitiSouthAfrica.com

PICS \\ A.Dub in Cape Town

The South African born and New York (USA) based artist A.Dub recently (17 March 2013) finished his first two painted murals ever. He selected Cape Town as the location of these works.

A.DUB from Klaus Warschkow on Vimeo.

The first one is in Pepper St in the Bo-Kaap and the second one in the court yard of Side Street Studios (48 Albert Road, Woodstock). Before this he made a small number of wheat pastes in New York.

Photographs by Klaus Warschkow

EVENT \\ Graffiti Jam: Raps Art Beach Jam

Some of Durbans finest graffiti artists will be painting live collaborations at the New Pier beach front this Friday (22 March).

EVENT \\ Exhibition: Trees On Trial

Trees on Trial is an exhibition that explores the nature of the wildlife featured on our South African Rands since 1994. Many of the Big Five that served as unobtrusive mascots, free of judgment, during a time of great change in our country are under threat of extinction. They marked a significant and refreshing change from the outdated portrait of Jan Van Riebeeck, which is also reported to be a misplaced portrait of Bartholomeus Vermuyden. The recent introduction of the new currency featuring Nelson Mandela, has come at a time of a quickly diminishing rhino population and rising inflation amidst a struggling economy.

The spray paint on canvas artworks originated from a deeper look at the reasoning and political agendas behind what we often take for granted and oversee on South African currency past and present.

>> MORE INFO

FRIDAY FEATURE #3: Street Art in South Africa

Photographs by Klaus Warschkow, except where stated.
Words: GraffitiSouthAfrica.com ©

What is Street Art?

Street art is more than just graffiti. It’s a broad term commonly used to describe art found in public space – from stickers and stencils, to paste-ups and installations and more traditional graffiti. It’s a means of expression evoking a rich spectrum of thoughts, captivating the viewer. With a variety of themes and ideas, from social and political awareness to plain visual poetry, this art form continues to gain momentum.

Some regard it as vandalism and not public art, but most artists try to create something meaningful – beautifying a run-down building, reclaiming a forgotten space. Street art is more than a tag, or moniker to gain fame. It provokes us to think and feel with more depth in an otherwise sterile environment. Street artists dare to bring greater vibrancy, colour and fluidity into drab and monotonous urban superstructures. It is non-elitist and invites the public to reclaim their right to shared spaces. It provokes freedom of expression, greater individualism and diversity.

Freddy Sam, Cape Town bus terminal

Faith47, Cape Town

The international street art scene is thriving with a growth of amazingly talented and diverse artists and great exhibitions and festivals. Cape Towns Faith47 has been travelling abroad to paint and exhibit her work which is both entertaining and educating. She was recently in Hawaii for the Pow Wow Festival.

The Long Wait’ by Faith47 in Johannesburg - A wheatpaste series commenting on the high rate of unemployment. Photo by Derek Smith

Graffiti VS Street Art

A whole debate surrounds street art – is it graffiti? Many see graffiti as being more letter-based and street art as a variety of elements. Others downright think that street art is not cool. The beauty of the debate is that they have a symbiotic relationship, each evolving separately, but provoking one another to reach new frontiers.

Despite the friction between the two, we respect anyone who puts anything up in the streets. This keeps it interesting, diverse and colourful.

Galleries and art collectors are diving into this market. Banksy, Blu and Mr Brainwash have had works displayed in South Africa. Augustine Kofie, American ‘graffuturist’ artist, painted live at an exhibition at Lovell Gallery in Cape Town last year.

Augustine Kofie piece in Cape Town. He came from a graffiti background and is part of the new ‘graffuturist’ movement.

Street Art in South Africa

While modern graffiti is still very new in South Africa it has, nevertheless, spread rapidly in recent years. When seen on a global scale, the South African scene is very youthful, but is quickly gaining maturity.

For years graffiti artists have dominated the streets. Those that spray their stencil often fade away soon after starting. Things are changing. Urban art is becoming more popular as internationally acclaimed artists visit our shores.

Remed (France), Cape Town

Dal East (China), Cape Town

Unknown Artist, Cape Town

Freddy Sam & Christiaan Conradie, Cape Town

The /A Word Of Art Residency Programme has brought many street artists to Cape Town and Johannesburg. Highlights include the 5-man collective called BoaMistura from Spain and the Acrylic Walls project with Gaia (USA), Franco ‘Jaz’ Fasoli (Argentina) and Know Hope (Israel).

Gaia (USA), Cape Town

Jaz (Argentina), Cape Town

Acrylic Walls Johannesburg mural. Photo by Derek Smith

Other artists who have participated in the residency are Above (USA), Tika (Switzerland), Indigo (Canada), Yumanizumu (Japan), Scott Sueme (Canada), Remed (Spain), LX One (France), Mike Makatron (Australia), Hannah Parr (UK), Mymo (Germany), Pascal Paquette (Canada), David Shillinglaw (UK), Elicser Elliott (Canada) and Andrzej Urbanski (Germany).

Yumanizumu (Japan), Cape Town

Wesley Van Eeden, Cape Town

Masai (UK) works on a new mural in Cape Town. His recent works create awareness of the declining animal population.

Masai and Breeze from Klaus Warschkow on Vimeo.

Kasi (Breeze), Cape Town

South, Cape Town

Andrzej Urbanski, a Polish-born artist, has relocated from Berlin to Cape Town. “I fell in love with this city…. The street art scene here is small but very good. There’s a lot of creative people and a rising 



art community.”

He sees himself as a ‘contemporary street artist’ working in studio and in the streets. “Being out in the streets and sharing with the community is very special. The people of Cape Town are very interested and helpful. I really made a lot of good friends in the community while I painted.”

Urbanski & Elicser, Cape Town. Photo by Urbanski

Urbanski, Cape Town. Photo by Urbanski

Interesni Kazki’s AEC is currently here as part of the residence programme and has already painted one wall (with only brushes). Along with Waone, this Ukrainian duo live up to the meaning of their name painting “interesting fairy tales”.

AEC (Interesni Kazki) completed piece and progress shots in Cape Town

I Art SA is another project that has been developed by /A Word Of Art and features a range of artists and styles. This project took place in Woodstock (Cape Town), Soweto (Johannesburg) and Johannesburg City.

With his endemic animal paintings, internationally acclaimed artist ROA was one of the featured artists at I Art Joburg last year. The exhibition opened last night in Cape Town. Photo by Derek Smith


Open City

Last weekend, a group of creative individuals met up in downtown Johannesburg for an event they called ‘Open City’. The aim: “To make the city pretty”…

“I do this a lot. Whenever I’ve got chalk, I bomb. I make it normal. I’m not special… The streets are yours. Be the art you want to see in the world!” - Andrew, event organiser


Freddy Sam working on a mural in Johannesburg for WWF. Photo by Derek Smith

Mooki’s street art in Durban

Hundreds of painted stencils adorn the walls of Grahamstown, a quaint student town in the Eastern Cape. Many are attributed to a Mr Stevenson.

Hannelie Coetzee, chipped wood piece in Johannesburg

Kevin Love, wood blocks in Johannesburg

This ‘dog’ pasteup is found all over Johannesburg


Grant Jurius

We recently discovered the work of Cape Towns Grant Jurius and asked him why he does street art…

I love street life! The most inspiring artists are street artists – at least for me. The street is raw and real. It feeds me and I feed back.

What do you want to evoke?

I want people to think about a piece and create a sense of feeling of some sort… I use figures because I like the human figure and I think people relate to it.

How long have you actively been working in the streets?

I only recently had the confidence to start putting up bolder pieces. In 2011, I started drawing on paper and then progressed to more defined paintings. Then I started doing the opposite by placing work in the street.

Artwork and photos by Grant Jurius


Another proclaimed street art duo is Herakut from Germany. They will participate in the City of Gold Urban Arts Festival in Johannesburg next month along with Kid Kréol & Boogie (Reunion Island), Pose MSK (USA) and local artists.

>> Check out our Street Art gallery

Additional pics:

Click ‘next’ to view more images…

(Various artists in Cape Town)

NEWS\\ Jace in South Africa & Botswana

Alliance Française invites you to meet Jace, graffiti artist from Reunion Island:

Talk & demo

Friday 15 March, 2pm

at Alliance Française de Durban
22 Sutton Crescent
Morningside
Durban
Tel: 031 312 9582 / Fax: 031 312 2864

Free coffee & biscuits
RSVP before Thurs 14 at
culture.afdurban@alliance.org.za

Jace is a graffiti artist originally from Le Havre in northern France who has lived on Reunion Island since he was 9 years old. He created Gouzou, a humorous, faceless character who remains fearless under any climate, in any circumstance and any country. It is Jace’s passion for drawing and his dream of an underground lifestyle that prompted him to specialize in graffiti art. Fascinated by the idea of transforming advertising posters, he has exhibited his work in many countries around the world. Eager to protect his freedom of expression, he no longer wants to solely express himself through Gouzou, and we can expect surprises during his residency in Durban.”

Ntombenhle Mbongwe is studying at the KZNSA Durban Centre for Photography since last year, she’s a durbanite photographer and has been the winner of the Alliance Française Foundation photography competition in Kwazulu-Natal. She will follow Jace at every step of the residency and go to Reunion Island for the South African Season in France for the presentation of the work they’ve made together.”

Jace will give a talk about his trips all round the world - together with the character he created 20 years ago, Gouzou - and about his residency/tour in South Africa & Botswana.”

>> Download a PDF with all the tour info and workshop dates here: pdf_jace_eng.pdf

>> Or check out the Facebook event

And here’s Jace in Madagascar:

FRIDAY FEATURE #2: Getting Up with 2kiler & Optone

For our Friday Feature this week, we speak to 2kiler & Optone about getting up. These guys have been painting for quite some time and always bomb hard…

Hi guys how are you keeping?

2KILER: Busy, overworked, underpaid, usual story.
..

OPTONE: I’m good, I guess?

How often do you bomb?

OPTONE: Depends on how busy a week I’m having. At the moment: On a bad week once and on a good week three or four times.

2KILER: I don’t really bomb, I get up whenever I can.


How do you feel about bombing vs piecing?

OPTONE: I don’t think it should be considered a versus thing. I think they should go hand in hand to a certain degree… Being someone that prefers bombing, I don’t mind painting a piece sometimes. As far as piecing goes, if you prefer doing them, that shouldn’t stop you from catching tags, a throwie or even stickers from time to time.

2KILER: Every scene needs every discipline.


Any interesting stories of late?

2KILER: I come across some interesting and entertaining people in the streets on a daily basis, but no one story comes to mind at the moment.

OPTONE: Nothing too recent, but about 3 months ago there was a week or two when every mission just went wrong – Held up at gunpoint, homie got caught catching tags, held up by 5 outies carrying knives, had some shit with cops for an open quart in the car whilst coming home from bombing, and then to top it off a homey got stabbed by some gangster fool… All separate missions with different people. I was beginning to think I was cursed. Luckily none of them resulted in any serious consequences, just some paint lost. Oh and after nothing but a long lecture, the cops gave our quart back!… Almost forgot this one: There was a day when a brick column of a derelict building collapsed almost crushing 2kiler. A close call to say the least!

What do you think of the SA scene?

2KILER: It varies from city to city depending on which political party is in charge. They all have their pros and cons.

OPTONE: Overall, Joburg is where it’s at right now. Proper shit going down there… 
Cape Town in general is quiet, but the trains are on another level!

Who else do you respect in the scene?

OPTONE: Besides my crews OTC and FUK, I respect whoever is out there getting up.

2KILER: Lots of writers… I don’t want to leave anyone out, so let’s say the ones that I respect know that I respect them and same goes for the ones that I don’t.

What was it like painting with Claw last year?

2KILER: Like painting with any other street smart individual who knows what’s up.

OPTONE: She was cool. It was rad to paint with a NYC legend. Besides that, we went pretty hard! A fun mission.

Plans for the rest of the year?

2KILER: I have a busy year ahead personally which obviously I won’t talk about in this interview.
..

OPTONE: I’m a full time student again, so other than studying and working part-time to make rent and fund bad habits, not much else.

Tell us about the zine?

2KILER: It’s our second issue and it’s called I LOVE YOUR WORK. It includes mainly street work from OTC and GLOK crews both locally and abroad. Issue 1 was about 36 pages and Issue2 will be about sixty.

OPTONE: What he said.

Thanks for the feature. Looking forward to the zine!


>> Read more exclusive interviews HERE.

EVENT \\ Conversations On Creativity

>> MORE INFO

Conversations on Creativity is a series of monthly events that bring together creatives and the public to engage and celebrate creativity.

Curated by Creative Nestlings and hosted by a guest host, featuring creative individuals that we invite to share their stories.

http://www.creativenestlings.com/

FRIDAY FEATURE #1: Documenting Graffiti Art with Derek Smith & Klaus Warschkow

Friday Feature is our new weekly feature. Every week we will delve into a different topic related to graffiti and street art in South Africa. Our entire aim of this website is to document and archive this art form and showcase it to the world. Urban art has a life of it’s own, sometimes lasting for weeks, years or only a single day. We feel it is very important to keep a record of these pieces of art and give them life on the internet.

There are two gentleman who have been documenting graffiti and street art for a while now and we are always glad to see their collection grow. Meet Derek Smith and Klaus Warschkow, two photographers who have fallen in love with this art form and are sharing their finds on the net. This is their hobby and they are both very passionate about it - always mentioning the positive aspects of graffiti art in today’s society, and always encouraging new people to fall in love with urban art.

Photos by Klaus Warschkow:

Derek is based in Johannesburg and is an eager follower of the scene, often embarking on adventures to dodgy areas and forgotten places. He sees the “value of street art in a scarred and broken society” and how it can create change and upliftment. “I’ve always liked graffiti but never thought about it much further than that” adds Klaus, who has been capturing the Cape Town scene with his iPhone. “In January 2012, I stopped my car in the road and walked a block back to actively take a photo of graffiti that I had passed a number of times. Instagram gave me an option to share my photos easily, right off my iPhone. It’s been a long time since and I now actively look for new and old graffiti in and around Cape Town. A number of my photos that I took during the Acrylic Walls Project in Cape Town have been picked up by blogs, webzines and magazines.”

With graffiti being such a controversial subject, it is great to see how these two encourage the art form as much as they can. “The graffiti by-laws have killed a lot of artwork in Cape Town. It’s high time we get some legal walls” says Klaus. Derek has also had trouble of his own, dealing with non like-minded resident associations who see graffiti as a very bad thing.

Derek follows most of the Jo’burg artists and regularly takes trips to Cape Town and other parts of the country to record works which he sees as an important part of graffiti archaeology. He is really excited for the upcoming City of Gold Urban Arts Festival where Herakut, a duo from Germany, and his favourite international graffiti artist, will be painting.

Photos by Derek Smith:

Klaus is very keen to meet more local writers and looks forward to seeing the new artists in residence at /A Word Of Art. He also hopes for more collaborations between local and international artists in the future. “We most certainly have local artists that are on the same level as the best of the international artists. A lot of them do deserve more international exposure.”

More photos by Klaus Warschkow:
(highlight the pic and click ‘next’ to view more)

We at GraffitiSouthAfrica.com are super excited for 2013 and can’t wait to see more international artists in our country. Our local artists are also pulling out all the stops and the scene is thriving. “Street art is gaining momentum in a big way in South Africa and this gladdens my heart. It is colourful, makes social statements and it’s art as healing.” - Derek.

More photos by Derek Smith:

Check out more of their photographs:

>> Derek’s Flickr stream

>> Klaus’ Instagram feed