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Leonard Miller

10 Creatives Inspired by The City

Instead of fleeing to the countryside for peace of mind, loads of local creatives are turning to the cityscape for inspiration. Here’s a collection of artists, photographers, architects and illustrators whose work reflects the manufactured beauty of the urban jungle.


Guy Tillim’s Latest Series of Photos, Titled In Joburg: Points of View


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Guy Tillim‘s latest photography exhibition opened at Stevenson Gallery in Joburg last week. Points of View is comprised entirely of diptychs, pairs of photographs that both animate and freeze a momentary perception.


“My plan to photograph small pieces at a time and put them together to create a city portrait soon seemed pointless in the face of the city’s infinite impulses that could not be contained in a manner of my liking. I couldn’t see everything and be everywhere. I realised that to suggest some kind of truth, it wouldn’t matter particularly where I was, but I’d have to let the place speak through me rather than trying to assign co-ordinates to a piece of puzzle,” Guy explains. Thus, through the expansion of the field of vision in this series, we are compelled to recognise spaces on their own terms, and by the same notion we are called to question our own way of looking.


The exhibition will take place in multiple sites around Johannesburg, including the Market Photo Workshop, in addition to the Stevenson.


More details.


Hand Drawn Architectural Illustrations by Black Ink Design


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Blank Ink Design was founded in 2013 by architect, designer and artist, Shaun Gaylard. This Johannesburg-based design studio specialises in capturing the architectural fabric of cities around the world through hand drawn architectural illustrations. Earlier this year they released limited edition Architectural City Guides to JHB and CT, to showcase and celebrate the beautiful architecture in these cities. But these aren’t just any old city guides. The buildings were carefully researched and selected, transcending styles and decades to encapsulate the architectural history of each city. Other prints include A – Z, An Alphabetical Guide to Architects of the World, a hand drawn showcases of 26 internationally renowned buildings which says something of the era in which it was designed.


Go to Blank Ink Design’s website to shop or to see some of Shaun’s other work.


Architectural Photography by Architect Leonard Miller


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Architect Leonard Miller first began taking pictures of sites as a first year architecture student, and now his love for architecture and his photography skills complement each other beautifully. He captures interesting architecture from around the world in photographs.


See our feature on Leonard earlier this year, or visit his website for a full portfolio.


Yellow Jewellery’s 35mm Film Diapositive Necklaces 


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Yellow Jewellery’s 35mm Film Diapositive Necklaces hold once-off, original Kodak slides, taken in cities around the world, from Madrid and Paris to Cape Town. Jess Gouws, the designer behind Yellow Jewellery, sees photographs as factual pieces of evidence proving that our memories are real, which is what inspired her to design and make this range.


Find out where to buy a cityscape film necklace from Yellow Jewellery on their website.


Street Art Interventions by r1


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Street artist r1 produces urban interventions to transform city spaces and create new visual alternatives. He believes that the streets are the veins of a city, and these shared spaces become the places where new collective identities are formed. “The streets are where we walk, where we talk, where we meet others, where we ‘are’,” he says.


He considers the street as an open canvas, working on urban interventions and collecting found materials, transforming the streets. “Like the street, the work finds its meaning once an interaction with the passer-by takes place.” Through his work, he hopes to create a dialogue and interactions between the environment and our experience of it.


His latest piece, Yield, consists of a hundred yield signs on a Braamfontein wall, and aims to use street art to uplift and improve the city’s alleyways.




Find more of r1′s work at or more about him in our previous feature.


The Calendar of the Everyday | A WDC2014 Project


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Liani van der Westhuizen, Creative Director at Spier Architectural Arts, started The Calendar of the Everyday Project as a year-long photo essay to celebrate ordinary, everyday experiences in the Mother City. “A city’s urban identity comes from its relation to the everyday world. Calendar of the Everyday depicts this distinctive ‘flow’ of Cape Town city life, embracing its rhythms, contours, personal histories, eccentricities and contradictions, beyond tourist traps and well-known natural beauty,” explains Liani. The Calendar of the Everyday Project is an official World Design Capital Project (#WDC558) and will be running throughout 2014. 


Find The Calendar of the Everyday Project on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see a bit of Cape Town, every day.


Read our Interview with Liani about her Day Job.


Knolc | Illustration by Julia Anastasopoulos


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Cape Town based illustrator and designer Julia Anastasopoulos (aka Suzelle DIY) draws the city, on the city. She’s the face behind the beautifully illustrated Civic Centre, Thibault Square and Milnerton MyCity Bus Stations’ walls and windows, and that’s not even half of it. She also does city themed tote bags, shadow boxes of illustrated buildings, cityscape illustrations for children’s books and custom (you guessed it) city-themed murals.


See our interview with Julia earlier this year, and check out her website for her portfolio.


Photography by Grant Payne


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Durban-born, Cape Town-based photographer Grant Payne’s work is concerned with capturing honest, rare moments of life in the city. He shoots on anything from film and digital, in B&W and colour, on the street, on the move and in the studio. Grant also recently shot the streets of Cape Town in a Photo Essay for us titled Window Shopper, where he used public transport and captured the people of the Mother City through the bus and taxi windows, and the results are breathtaking.


See Grant’s Website for his full portfolio.


Wake Up, This Is Joburg | A Series of Ten Books about a City and Its People


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Wake Up, This Is Joburg is a brand new series of ten books celebrating the raw beauty of the city of gold. The series will be released in a sequence throughout the rest of the year and next, with the first four books already finished.


Written by urban planner Tanya Zack and photographed by Mark Lewis, this series showcases Joburg dwellers and their unique and remarkable ways of making a living, and a life. Some of them are fresh meat in Joburg, and others grew up there, but all of them have found truly intriguing ways of inhabiting this urban jungle. In harsh social, political and economical circumstances these individuals chose to stick around in the city that everyone loves to hate, which is exactly what Wake up, this is Joburg hopes to capture – that thing you can’t quite put a finger on when telling people why you love this city.


S’kop, Book 1 of 10 will be released on 7 June. Join the launch at Fourthwall Books – See the Facebook Event for more info.


Read more about Wake Up, This Is Joburg.


City of Gold Diggers, JHB Hates You Exhibition by Jana + Koos in NYC


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City of Gold Diggers, JHB Hates You is the latest exhibition by creative duo Jana + Koos. The show consists of mixed media photography, graphic design digital prints as well as installation and video art, all inspired by Joburg. They are currently in New York City, launching City of Gold Diggers, JHB Hates You as part of the Foreign Neighbors initiative on 5 June 2014 at the EVA NY Open Gallery Space.


See our Interview with J + K about City of Gold Diggers, JHB Hates You for more info.


More on their Tumblr, or keep up with Jana + Koos at



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