Excerpts from this interview were used in our book, Graffiti South Africa (Schiffer Books, 2014).
Can you please introduce yourself to me.
I am a South African Artist born in 1989. I started freelancing as a mural and visual Artist in 2007. I have exhibited my art across Europe and painted Graffiti in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban. I am an Artist not by choice, but by instinct. I choose to use Art to its full potential to change lives and bless our community.
Did you always want to be an artist?
I have always known that Art and Graffiti will be my future, if it makes me money or not; I will continue to create. If I am going through battlefields in life, Art will always be there for me. I will do it, and can’t stop doing it.
How did you become interested in graffiti and when did you start?
I first felt interested in graffiti at the age of 16. I was invited to a hip hop gathering in Durban, it used to be called “Bling Free”, “Battle of the Year” also at Albert Park, made a big impact on the youth and the Durban underground scene. I looked up to all the Durban forefathers known as Cade, Ewok, Create, Esk, 2kil, Opt1. I have since been inspired by Durban Artists Gift, OEC, Fiya, Polizieee, 4GIVN, Tax, Somz, Pace, Plastik, Saikad, Fink, Stop, Spook, Taik and many more to mention.
How did you come up with your name and does it have any meaning?
The name Pastel, was given to me back in school. There is no meaning behind it, its description is self explanatory. NOTE: taken from his surname, Pastellides.
Tell me all about your style.
My style is always recreating itself. I get bored on one look very easily, resulting in spontaneous subject matter. I am inspired by more modern Artists. I have grown up painting realism and am currently experimenting in a more ‘loose’ feel inspired by stylised nostalgic films, weird compositions and digital surrealism.
How did your style evolve and become what it is today?
I am not too sure about this. Who knows what is the perfect style. I focus on having fun so I can simply keep challenging myself, evolving my style is the key. I have positive ambitions to see where Graffiti will take me.
Tell me about the graffiti scene in Durban.
The graffiti scene in Durban, you could say is very fun. Having it’s pro’s and con’s. Bombers this side have it the same as anywhere else, Graffiti was never created to be easy. You have to always push yourself. Some trackside pieces have been up for ten years while other walls won’t even last a month, it’s the quality of life and the risk you are willing to take for your passion. I have learnt everything I am today through my city. I live off doing commissions, so I give thanks.
Are you in a crew and who is part of it?
I personally don’t like discussing what crew I’m in, so yes I am in a crew. We are family, and we have had some tough times and we are all learning together.
What else are you interested in?
I am interested in God, positivity, nature, the Art of tattooing, fashion, the internet and all other Artists around me.
Any influences for your graffiti work?
My biggest influences are Mak1one, Buffy Braveart, Aryz, Belin and Gottfried Helnwein.
What do you think of the South African graffiti scene?
I am so proud of the South African Graffiti scene. Cape Town trains and tracksides are burning. Joburg’s bombing is out of control. The amount of international collaborations and integrated productions that are an outcome of South Africa are phenomenal. This will inspire us to grow. South Africa has come so far politically; we have come together as a whole. Painters and positive people will walk forward in unified movement.
Do you think you’ll continue to paint graffiti and why?
I will continue to paint Graffiti until I cannot see. It heals me and fulfils me as a human. It will be the way I give back to our Earth.
What does graffiti mean to you?
Graffiti means a lot more to me than it does to those around me. I will never understand why society creates a barrier around Graffiti Artists. May all forms of Art be legalised. Amen.
Images via http://www.pastelheart.org/