Pretoria born and raised, Otsile Moumakoe started a page on Instagram called Vtsek Studios in 2020, creating collages and photo manipulations that celebrate, comment on and satirise various topics. Now, three years on, Moumakoe is one of Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives Class of 2023.
An amalgamation of all his interests, the topics he covers on the platform range from movies and fashion to art and music, both local and global. Over the years, Moumakoe has branched out through collaboration into other disciplines, such as graphic design, fashion design and content creation.
We interviewed the young artist about finding inspiration in pop culture and satirising key topics.
What led to the creation of Vtsek Studios?
Vtsek Studios started in 2020 because I wanted to create art that celebrates South African popular culture because I was not seeing enough of it. At the time I used to rap, and the ideas that I couldn’t put out through my music, I started putting in collages.
I grew up listening to South African hip hop, a genre in which western subcultures and South African cultures meet. So I put those ideas into my art in a manner that incorporates all my interests – fashion, music, movies and a little bit of history.
Describe your creative process – how do you decide which famous figures to feature in your artworks?
I watch a lot of movies, music videos and documentaries in my spare time, and that’s where I choose which figures to feature in my artwork, depending on something that the actor or artist has said that struck me. I also look at specific historical dates, such as Youth Day and Freedom Day, and feature well known figures that have specific connotations to those dates.
What’s your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is being South African - being in a place that’s so rich in cultures and subcultures. What also inspires me is youth culture in South Africa, and how it’s taken a lot of western influences and mixed it with our own culture to create something unique.
Your pieces often comment on important historical moments and people. What does it mean to you to be able to bring humour and imagination to these topics?
I think humour is a great way to engage with people, so adding a little bit of humour helps bring attention to certain historical moments.
What has been a career highlight for you so far?
Being part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives Class of 2023 is a highlight for me.
What’s up next for you in 2023?
A print series that I'm currently putting together, and there are a few collaborations in the pipeline.
Photographs: Vtsek Studios.