Dubbed the coolest kid in Cape Town by Vogue, 20 year old self-portraitist Tony Gum will have her first solo presentation at Christopher Moller Gallery at the FNB JoburgArtFair this year. The lively young artist fuses specific brands like Coca-Cola with an array of projected identities that range from the matriarch in traditional Xhosa costume to the West End Playboy Bunny. In doing so, she presents an ironic and playful take on the universal preoccupation with identity politics.
Working both behind the scenes and front-and-centre, Tony flits between the roles of art director, model, stylist and photographer when creating her conceptual imagery. In her bio on the ArtFair site she’s described as the new ‘plastiglomerate’ –an artist able to splice the moral with the synthetic as well as high art and trash to capture the radio-active buzz of this particular moment in art.
“There actually is no point where I decided that I wanted to pursue art, it just came at me as a surprise,” says Tony, who shares her journey and inspirations in a video portrait by Josh Hayman that gives us a candid glimpse into her creative process.