Space Between is a unique gallery and creative studio launching on 29 January 2015 in Cape Town.
The launch includes the Urban A: Exhibition Part 1, running from 29 January to 6 February 2015, and the Graffiti South Africa book launch…
WE’RE MORE ACTIVE ON INSTAGRAM THESE DAYS
THE DEFINITIVE SOUTH AFRICAN GRAFFITI & STREET ART WEBSITE.
Tattooing is a highly respected art form and is often linked to graffiti. We speak to two artists who both paint graffiti and tattoo…
Ross runs a tattoo studio in Johannesburg and has worked in England and Hong Kong. He loves full colour neo-traditional tattoos, as well as Japanese tattoos with a western twist.
Tell us a bit about who you are…
I am co-owner and tattooer at Handstyle Tattoos Johannesburg. I also paint graffiti under the names ‘Hate’ and ‘Wise’. When I still have spare time I play in a Hardcore Punk band called Conqueror.
How long have you been tattooing?
I’ve been tattooing for five years now and I’ve been painting properly since around 1999/2000, although I did some of my first tags under some terrible toy aliases as early as 1997.
How did you get into tattooing? Was it through graffiti or did graffiti come afterwards?
I think art and my fascination with sub-cultures led me to persue both graffiti and tattooing as another art form to express myself. The first tattoo flash I drew up back in 2000 was completely graffiti orientated, it wasn’t great but it was a lot better than most cherry creek flash doing the rounds at the time. Graffiti came first and has played a major role in the development of my tattooing in regards to colour, line variation and typography. But, at the same time, they are completely different mediums and tattooing commands a lot more respect.
What do you love most about tattooing?
The fact that you are constantly learning and progressing, meeting other rad artists and hanging out with my best friends. Getting the chance to travel and do guest work locally and abroad. Being able to translate peoples ideas in to a permanent work of art. I love the work ethic and being part of an amazing community.
What do you love most about graffiti?
I loved painting panels the most, I gave it up a long time back. But seeing panels run is the best feeling ever. These days I enjoy painting pieces and taking it easy and relaxed on a wall. I’m over all the juvenile politics and crew beef. Do what you love and love what you do, it ain’t worth getting shot over.
Shout out to Tower, Skiet, Drone, Hack, 2Kil and my crew in the UK; Spar Monster Colours NRFL.
Ninjabreadboy is a multi-disciplined artist who lives and works in Cape Town. He is intrigued by local gang culture and has been doing a lot of stick ‘n poke tattoos recently.
Describe how you got into the art… Design/tattooing/street art
When I was about eleven I got my first Blunt magazine which had an article on graffiti in it. There was a flick of Wealz130 standing on a bridge in Observatory with his hands in the air and his signature chrome bubble letter outline on the bridge in front of him. I cut that pic out and stuck it on the wall next to my bed, I always loved art and drawing but that was the first time I discovered the art form that appealed to me most. I used to skate a lot as a kid and started collecting a lot of skate mags. Any graphic element associated with skateboarding appealed to me – all the graffiti, tattoos and skate graphics I saw in mags were a big inspiration.
What inspires you?
As I’ve got older I’ve drawn my inspiration from so many different fields and mediums, I went through a phase where I was pretty obsessed with latino gang culture because of their use of tattooing and graffiti to express themselves. For me it was so much more “real” than what graffiti writers and tattoo artists were doing because it was so raw and had so much meaning and symbolism about it. This got me interested in local gang culture and the forms of graffiti and tattooing that they were doing. I also realised there is so much crazy shit going on around us on a national level that we just look straight past or ignore it when it allows for so much fucking amazing content. I’m very influenced by things happening internationally but like to try create work that has a ‘local’ context to make it more personal.
What are you enjoying the most right now?
I’m all about trying to apply my style to as many mediums as possible. When I started sketching hand-poke flash I drew in a pointillism style which adapted well to a hand-poke, this style started influencing the rest of the work I was doing. At the moment I’m really enjoying working with brush and ink, but always fucking around with different mediums trying out new shit.
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
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.
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.
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
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”…
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
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.
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