Celebrating South African Based Creatives This Youth Day

16 June marks Youth Day in South Africa, celebrating how youth culture has a huge impact on society. We wanted to take this opportunity to showcase some creatives based in South Africa that we are loving at the moment and the forward-thinking work they are producing. Have a read through and be sure to show them some love if you dig their work. Here they are in no particular order...

Sinenhlanhla Chauke, Cape Town

Sinenhlanhla Chauke (@99perspective) is an all around creative individual, loving all forms of creativity, but focuses mainly on art direction and illustration. Sinenhlanhla is the founder of 99Perspective where his work revolves around being inclusive and diverse and has worked with the likes of Puma. We first found out about Sinenhlanhla through the recommendation of Daniel Ting Chong.

Sinenhlanhla says, "I create work that lets people see themselves in it and evokes emotion. I love creating work that highlights BIPOC as there has not been a lot of representation in the media for us. So I make sure that inclusion is number one and that the concept and direction is clear and the message comes across as planned".

Chauke's inspiration comes from people and hearing peoples' stories online which inspires him to create, tell stories and represent these stories as best as possible through illustration.

A touching aspect of Sinenhlanhla's work is that he enjoys seeing children and even older people embrace themselves through seeing themselves in his art.

Sinenhlanhla doesn't shy away from talking about topics such as mental health and issues that affect us as humans daily. He strives to build that human interaction and add a personal touch that is uniquely him in order to resonate and make art with a purpose. Have a look at Sinenhlanhla's work here.

Qondile Dlamini, Johannesburg

Qondile Dlamini (@qew_doodles), who goes by Qew is a designer and illustrator currently based in Johannesburg. Qew describes her work as very energetic with a little sass, saying "it is an expression of myself and how I choose to see myself as a black woman. I am a very optimistic and jovial person and I always try to bring this personality across in my work, in my colors and dynamic compositions".

Qondile Dlamini

Her favorite subject is women. Qew says, "drawing women that look like me, the things that relate to us is very important to me. I believe we deserve to be documented and understood in all our glory, from our own perspectives and not through someone else’s interpretation of us". 

Qew uses drawing to improve her understanding of the world and work through feelings. Therefore, inspiration to create comes from anywhere, and at the centre of it is always to create something beautiful.

Jack Singer, Johannesburg

Jack Singer (@jacksinger_) is a graphic designer and illustrator with his work conveying themes relating to graffiti, hip hop culture, the city of Johannesburg and many other elements. Jack cites his early visual inspirations being old school cartoons and the local graffiti scene. 

Jack Singer

Jack is all for the culture and the thriving creative scene as a whole in Johannesburg where his biggest source of inspiration comes from. In 2018, Jack and Liam MacSweeney (@liammacsweeney) started a project called Juvenile Zine (@juvenile.zine) where they have produced two zines and hosted two successful exhibitions showcasing works by local emerging creatives, giving them an extra platform to make their names heard in the South African creative industry.

Last year brought about his project “Killastration” where he illustrated ‘weaponized’ drawing tools where the goal of the project was to remind creatives of the power their work has in society and to combat artists talking dismissively about the value and power of their work.

The future is bright for Jack and he is working on a project that hopes to promote, celebrate and inspire the creation of public art in Johannesburg. Have a look at Jack's work here.

Lauren Mulligan, Johannesburg 

Lauren Mulligan (@blahgrapher) is a storyteller working through photography, illustration, and filmmaking. Mulligan's work is a celebration of "play" stating "It's a space where I get to tell stories using everyday objects. When something catches my attention, I stare at it from different angles because I see it as a puzzle that has various outcomes. Sometimes the result is a doodle, sometimes it ends in frustration".

Lauren Mulligan

She finds inspiration in daily interactions or in interesting conversation, or from other artists. The inspiration for starting her doodle account came from watching the Christoph Niemann episode of Netflix's Abstract television show. Humorously, Lauren shows that inspiration can come from various things that bring joy stating, "I also find joy in watching dog videos...lots of dog videos." That's Pawesome. Have a look at Lauren's work here.

Mpumelelo Bhengu, Cape Town

Mpumelelo Bhengu (@mpumelelo.bhengu) originally hails from Durban but is currently residing in Cape Town where he is a Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Art Director. Mpumelelo creates mostly character illustrations based around cartoons and graffiti. The evident theme in his illustrations are the hustle and bustle of urban lifestyle, from graffiti to urban art, sneaker culture and hip hop - the energy of street culture. Most of the characters drawn showcase that energy from the clothes that they wear, to the poses, the expressions and mannerisms. On top of this, Mpumelelo is also conceptualising a lot on social commentary as he feels that artists have such a huge role to play when it comes to this.

Mpumelelo Bhengu

Mpumelelo's main inspiration comes from his love of video games, cartoons and comic books. Mpumelelo also acknowledges music as inspiration for his work citing that he is heavily influenced by Hip Hop and is a huge fan of MF DOOM. Aren't we all? 

"I think overall street culture inspires me a lot to create the stuff that I do. It’s just my constant appreciation for it…the streets that made me…"

Mpumelelo states that, "The constant need to improve and to have fun with the process is a huge inspiration for what I do. LOVE WHAT YOU DO". Have a look at Mpumelelo's work here.

Max Bauer, Cape Town

Max Bauer (@maxbauer_x) is an Illustrator currently working out of Cape Town. He describes his work as colourful and organic, and that he likes to draw spontaneously. His work is usually started by hand and either scanned in and finished, or finished traditionally.

Max Bauer

When asked about Max's inspiration he says "It is hard to pin down what specifically inspires my work, therefore I would rather leave that interpretation up to the viewer".

Bauer goes on to say that, "I feel art/illustration requires a bit of thought from the viewer's side, and becomes quite boring if all information is provided. I don't like to direct opinions or views of my illustrations". Have a look at Max's work here.

Scott Williams, Cape Town

Scott Williams (@demwun) is a multimedia designer and artist, conceptualising, sketching and digitising emotions for brands and himself. He works hard to find the perfect style to fit a brand or person and then translating that in a way that it gets peoples' senses to engage with it. Here's another creator we found through Daniel Ting Chong's recommendation.

Scott Williams

When asked about his work, Scott says, "I create in order to capture and record small moments, moments that are easily forgotten or go unnoticed. The things we subconsciously do and unconsciously miss. I think they have character defining truths". Scott then immortalises these feelings through color, shape or sound. This is what makes him want to create. 

"From the smallest and most seemingly meaningless moments or objects, to the obvious epiphanies that stop me in my tracks".

Scott goes on to state, "We can learn so much about ourselves from our surroundings. When we take a moment to consciously move through our encounters. Internally and externally". Have a look at Scott's work here.

Be sure to check out these creators and show them some love!

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