#DI Emerging Creative Pule Magopa tells us about how graffiti shaped his artistic career

A Design Indaba exclusive on personal ID, artistic challenges and mixed media

What inspired you to follow an artistic path?

My artistic path was inspired by graffiti. When I was younger, I was exposed to graffiti, which led to my interest in traditional and digital art.

How would you describe your creative aesthetic?

It’s not pretty. It’s quite conceptual, backed up by a history of questioning tradition, and subconscious thoughts that permeate throughout my personal experiences. Technically explained, it’s mixed media. A fusion of dry paint, acrylic paint, charcoal as well as masking tape mingle in the artwork when complete.

What do you think is a common misconception about graffiti? Do you think people's views on it have changed?

People's views on graffiti are changing slowly but people still associate it with vandalism. However, corporate companies are engaging with this form of creativity as they have been seeing how important it is for them to do so in recent years.

A lot of your work explores themes of ancestry and personal identity, what advice do you have for artists looking to convey their own identity and experiences through their art?

I honestly have no advice. Identity is personal and how one conveys it cannot be influenced in any way by another individual. Especially if an artist will be discussing matters of identity through Traditional Healing. That is between them, their source of inspiration and their elders.

What would you say is your favourite and most challenging part of your artistic process?

It is the beginning of the process. Always the beginning. Being confronted by a blank surface and imagining the entire thing in the end. I never really know what becomes of the pieces so the start of a painting has me wondering what will become of it.

What do you want to be remembered for through your work?

The point. The message. The inability to fear discussing matters many would rather not.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the near future?

You can look forward to more collaborative work from me soon.

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Credits: Pule Magopa