In a pursuit to always Choose Interesting, Grolsch has invited 13 South African artists, designers and photographers to customise SMEG fridges. The result is a range of 21 unconventional but functional works of art, one of which could soon be yours, created in a variety of mediums.
These are the participating creatives, curated by Brown Eyed Boy.
Andrew Robertson’s exhibits have shown a diverse range of style and subject matter. This is almost certainly due to the dynamic influences that have shaped both his life and his work. While still in high school he volunteered as a fire fighter at the age of 16. He then went on to work with his brothers at an engine company and a rescue team for 5 years, an experience that shaped much of his painting at that time. After leaving the department Robertson worked in design and advertising. Despite developing skills in digital media that he would later apply to his own work, he found commercial art restrictive and subsequently left in order to pursue fine art full time. He is currently the founder/director of Glyph, an art company that defies categorization. He works out of a studio in Johannesburg, using both traditional and digital media to explore a dynamic range of subject matter. His exhibits have included unique South African landscapes, portraiture and protest art in poster format.
“Boxing and martial arts have always had a profound effect on my work. Through sparring I have come to understand and exploit spontaneity in my painting and to balance it with hard-worked technique. The rich cultures and histories that underpin the fighting arts have also taught me to work with conviction, discipline and a sense of respect for the process. I have always loved the idea of painting on a 2D surface to portray a moment that exists in 4 dimensions. Fine art is a beautiful way to preserve a piece of time – and I love the challenge that this poses. I am excited about every project and any opportunity to create. But this particular project was a great way to put into practice some new techniques.”
Thato S. Nhlapo
Thato S. Nhlapo is a South African artist born in the year 1990 and raised in a township north of Heidelberg called Ratanda. He has produced work for several individuals as commissions and completed some charity work in the form of murals, namely at the Thabo Vuyo Primary School for children with special needs. Nhlapo has also participated in several group exhibitions. Most recently he received the 2014 Reinhold Cassier art award on behalf of the Bag Factory in Johannesburg. Funded by Nadine Gordimer, the award offers emerging South African artists under the age of 35 the opportunity to spend a period of approximately three months working at the Bag Factory studios. Nhlapo’s latest works focus on the historical development of his hometown and the residents that live there.
“When I was told to do an artwork on a fridge I was so confused at first. I did not know how or what I would do, but then when I was told that this was for Grolsch, and it was on the awesomely curvy SMEG bar fridges it clicked for me. Music and lights! This fridge represents my interpretation of music in color. I believe [the artwork] is a true reflection of me and the way I think/see/listen to the world and my music. Like many artists I was always the weird kid in the school and community, and I went to an Afrikaans school where I was the only black child in class. I have always listened to weird music (according to my friends); so all the small elements that have made me who I am are present in the fridge. The colors that are meant to represent the many genres of music may also refer to the varied cultures of South Africa that I have interacted with. Apart from this awesome opportunity for me as a young artist to associate myself with such initiatives and brands, I was also excited to see the outcome of my work on this.”
Sfiso Sibanyoni is a 29-year-old Johannesburg based photographic artist and art director. He has been producing creative photographs for the last 4 years and established himself as a strong voice within the rapidly growing new breed of young creative photographers. He has exhibited at numerous shows and regularly sells his fine art photography to a growing client base. Creatively curious are two words that closely describe Sfiso’s photographic style. He fell in love with creating images from the first time he picked up a camera and has not put it down since. With a keen eye for detail he has always been a natural pattern spotter and is drawn to symmetry, complementary and contrasting colours, lines and shapes – themes that are evident strongly in his photography, whether shooting an urban landscape, delicate flower or blushing bride.
“I have always drawn inspiration from my city – Johannesburg; such a beautiful melting pot of creative energies. But while I have seen thousands of cityscapes shot by other photographers, I really felt that only a few of those really did justice to the city. Very few photographers are capturing and presenting the city in a totally unique way or shooting a perspective not yet captured. So that’s what I set out to do: capture a totally unique, fresh perspective of Johannesburg. My art is always a deep reflection of myself. What I capture and how I capture it is usually a good yardstick of where my mind is at. I am always looking to extend the reach of my art and expose myself to different mediums and audiences. I don’t just want my pictures to stay as digital files on my computer. I welcome every chance I can get to get my pictures printed on a physical medium.”
Born in the Eastern Cape in Molteno, Kupa is one of South Africa´s emerging, promising, young artists. Pulled to art from as young as he can remember, Asanda was always drawing and sketching people and constantly building structures from objects in his surroundings. He was reintroduced to art in his early twenties, this time as a loose cannon, “Art saved my life” is the way he puts it. Currently his vibrant palette is his tool to express his concern for the negative conditions communities find themselves in. Living and working in Johannesburg, Asanda creates with inventive realisation, trying to voice out the rage of the broken spheres, failing system and cries for space and resources. Choosing oil and found objects as his major medium he contradicts the condition of his subject, and that which it longs for. His work gained notice after he received the Reinhold Cassirer Award. He regards his work as a reflection of that of “Liberation art” drawing from Abstract Expressionism in an African context.
“I created a new image for this project. I was inspired to create the image I did through the concept of humanity, working together, the energy of crowds, movement and development, enhanced with individuality and standing out of the same crowd and also independency. The subject is quite close to me, so I put a lot of myself in the project. This project was a really strong idea, and a way to put artists’ work out there, also I feel that it’s really important for companies to work together with artists and the arts industry, in terms of development and growth. When I was choosing what to use for the fridge I realized the message I wanted to put out there, so with this type of exposure, where your audience as an artist is slightly different but large, the idea of humanity comes first. I used an expressionist approach and stencilling, with the themes of collective movement and protest. It’s the freedom attached to the project that ultimately inspired the style.”
Johann Barnard is a Johannesburg-based freelance writer and photographer who thrives on the unique energy exuded by the City of Gold. This is expressed through his photographic works that capture the promise of the inner city’s awakening from a period of neglect and decay. He is inspired by the rebirth of one of Africa’s great capitals in which millions of people live out their dreams of building a better life. This hope is juxtaposed with the reality that the streets of Jozi are not paved with gold and that simply surviving day to day is a victory in itself. Johann attempts to capture the city’s hopes and realities through his works, hopefully allowing residents and visitors to see the beauty that lies beneath. When he’s not exploring the city’s pavements, Johann escapes the urban jungle for road trips through the country to capture more tranquil landscapes and discover South African rural life.
“I have a love of Joburg and all it represents – its energy, its people, its problems and its potential. This is reflected in the cityscape scenes I photograph that capture all these elements, although more the city itself rather than its people. This partly reflects my view of the inner city as a potentially menacing space to the unwary, but an equally captivating and energising space. The artwork I created is therefore a reflection of this fascination with Joburg, and a desire for people to look at it with a new set of eyes. Which is why I chose to create mosaics of iconic views and landmarks of the city. The images of the Nelson Mandela Bridge and the view over the city from the M1 motorway are made up of hundreds of other images I’ve taken in and of Joburg. The use of the mosaic reinforces my view that the city is greater than the sum of its parts. In effect, my wish is for residents and visitors to recognize there is beauty in the city in spite of its unsavory or unattractive elements.”
Lehlogonolo Mashaba was born in Kwa-Thema, Johannesburg, in 1983. He began his art education at the Funda Center in 2003. He later enrolled at the Artist Proof Studios where he obtained a certificate in design and printmaking in 2004. In addition to creating his own work, Mashaba is a former collaborative printer specializing in intaglio, relief, monotype and silkscreen at Artist Proof Studio. In this capacity, he assists in printing works for established artists, such as Marcus Neustetter and Sandile Goje. Mashaba has participated in numerous group exhibitions in South Africa, France, and United States of America. His work has been part of the Artist Proof Studios booth at the Johannesburg Art Fair since its inception in 2008. Mashaba has been involved in a number of art residencies, which include the Rendezvous Art Project in France and the Artists Image Resource in America. He was invited in 2008 by the David Krut Workshop and Art Bank to participate in a printmaking workshop with five other artists, including Vincent Baloyi.
“I specialise in printmaking as my primary medium. As both an artist and printer a graphic image with high contrast is how I do my work. Durability and longevity of the work is always considered a top priority. My style is linear. I have echoed the principle of etching or dry point when drawing this artwork. I am inspired by text-based artworks following a style of fractals. I have a huge fascination for technologically generated imagery. I am focusing on the subject of metaphysics as my theme, focusing on the creation of human beings. I use paper as my canvas where I work in black and white where a hint of purple and blue hues are used to maintain the cold mood. Ice has been the primary key in making the ice like figure hence the emphasis in the middle to represent splashing of water. The figure is represented by repetitive patterns and broken down inconceivable text. I wanted to achieve a graffiti style effect. Inspiration to me is an ongoing process . The ideas that are chosen for this project are a continuation of how I usually work. There is always a desire to be creative and produce new work. Creative ideas flow while I work so I recycled some of the ideas I had already. The curiosity to see my new work is itself inspiring and allows me to create new art.”
After Bambo’s teacher, Paul Madi Phala, recommended he apply to Artist Proof Studio (APS) to attend printmaking classes in the Saturday programme he caught “the printmaking bug”. His determination to succeed and his natural talent convinced Lucas Ngweng, a teacher at APS, to recommend him as a full-time student. In 2008 he was offered a full bursary to enter second year as a full time student. Sibiya is articulate in describing his own journey of discovery and fulfillment. While he was always a strong draftsman, in his second year at APS his work started showing social content and engagement with his community. As a student he was encouraged to develop his personal content through cultural and art-historical research as well as by participating in social advocacy programmes. Sibiya found himself drawn to the social realists and became interested in Hogarth’s social allegories, Goya’s Disasters of War as well as Diane Victor’s Disasters of Peace. Thereafter he began to etch poignant compositions of his own versions of poverty in his local community. He began drawing his figures from photographs he had taken showing how families survive in poverty. Encouraged both by his patron Clive H. Viveiros, and his teachers, he was urged to find subjects that were more familiar and hopeful in their outlook.
“I used to talk about the general issues that affect women, these are not easy issues to talk about and most of them came from my personal experiences. So whenever I wanted art that was a bit more lighthearted I depicted children, their fun side and smiles, that’s why I went with a child’s face for this art project. This project was a challenge and challenges are always exciting, one has to work outside their comfort zone. I felt like a designer working on this project, even though I’m a printmaker. I didn’t want to change my work so I had to come up with a way to work on a fridge. I had to create something that will last forever, but beyond that I had to use the right material, it’s a fridge after all, it has to be cleaned without damaging the actual artwork, so for me the entire process was really exciting. I went with automotive paint, I had to attend a few classes but it was all worth it. I had to prepare the surface of the fridge, spray a based coat then work on the actual piece. It is actually the same process as spraying a car.”
Hiten graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Master of Architecture (Prof) degree. His Master dissertation “Inclusive and Rehabilitative Environment” was influenced by his permanent disability as a profoundly deaf person with bilateral cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is an innovative assistive technology that enables Hiten to hear sounds, speak orally, and hold conversations with people without the need for an interpreter. His deafness does not stop him from being a creative and independent person with interests in fine art, design, photography, cities and urban design.
“My inspiration for the project came from multiple sources including my architectural studies and travels. I don’t stick to any particular medium or style in my work, which makes it difficult for anyone to pigeonhole me. I work with lots of materials in my art and this allowed me to explore different concepts. For this project I used pencil, watercolour, ink, aluminum sheets, spray-paints, digital prints, strings and magnetic materials. The sensory experience of art is very important to me whether it is in the form of visual art, dance, drama or music. Art should challenge your bodies and minds by forcing you to see the world through a different perspective. My personal experiences, interactions with diverse groups of people especially people with disabilities and places inspire me to create.”
Mpho Madi & Grace Rampa
Mpho is an artist from Meadowlands in Soweto majoring in graffiti art, graphic design and motion graphics. He has studied at the National School of Fine Arts and City Varsity. For the last 6 to 7 years, Mpho has done graffiti art on a professional and personal level. Grace is a young artist with an educational background in interior design and artistic skills for the National School of the Arts. She has worked on numerous design and art projects, even taking part in the Festival of Fame exhibitions and Artists Under The Sun. Grace has designed for high-end fashion organisations and worked on an Old Mutual campaign as a young artist and future gallery owner. Grace and Mpho currently work as a collective in a project-based company, rendering tailor made murals and graffiti solutions for offices, houses and exterior spaces.
“For the Grolsch Art Project we thought very carefully about what we wanted to do and since art has no boundaries, we decided on something fun to look at and also thought provoking. The image we decided on is an image that people can look at repeatedly, which contains an element of satire; an old apartheid police officer with a sniffing hound. We thought why not replace the dog with a beer bottle looking as if it’s sniffing its back way back into the fridge. We left it open to whatever interpretation people want to place on it. We usually gain inspiration from artists we look up to or from what is around us. The image was inspired by an artist called Bansky and the history our country has. We were immediately interested in participating simply because the canvas was unconventional. You grow up being smacked for leaving stains or scribbles on the fridge. So an opportunity to draw on a fridge and show other people without being reprimanded, we thought, “definitely!”. We went and surfed the net for historical South African police images and found one that dates back to 1986. Then we drew an animated vectorized image of a beer bottle slightly bent over. Initially we were going to stencil everything and execute the artwork with reference to the artist Bansky, but we felt the details of the images might get lost, so the solution was to vinyl print and then spray paint the background layer.”
Chris Valentine is a 23-year-old freelance illustrator based in Johannesburg. With a passion for drawing, painting and playing guitar, Chris creates artwork for various clients ranging from agencies and brands to artists in the music industry. He is currently working on his first solo exhibition and can always be found in Seattle coffee with a pair of headphones and a sketchbook of sorts.
“I was inspired to create the ‘Pirate Fridge’ by graffiti art, especially the guys in the San Francisco bay area like Alex Pardee and Craola. They’ve always been huge influences on my work and with this piece I really wanted to stretch myself in working from imagination without photo reference. I’m really happy with how it came out! I’ve always loved the challenge of working out of my comfort zone, and this was definitely one such case. The Astronaut Fridge… to be perfectly honest, astronauts have been quite popular in design and illustration recently, and being a big fan as a kid, I definitely had to illustrate my own take on the space explorers! I definitely thought that the white line work on the glossy black fridge would be striking. In addition, the astronaut imagery is fairly modern and edgy, which seems to tie in nicely with this project. As an illustrator, I’m very comfortable with digital painting and maybe some pencil work or oil painting, but painting on a fridge was something entirely fresh and I really had to stretch myself to make it work!”
Alphabet Zoo is a duo of young, Johannesburg based, traditional printmaking artists that formed a street-culture zine that invites collaboration from young talented artists, illustrators, publishers and designers. Alphabet Zoo is made up of two artists Minekulu Ngoyi and Isaac Zavale. Ngoyi and Zavale both studied at Artist Proof Studio and have been exhibiting on group shows for the last two years including, “Legends Of Culture”, 12 Decades in Maboneng, and the AKA- exhibition at the TWO BY TWO gallery, to mention a few. They work from their studio in Newtown and are involved with running the newly opened print studio ‘Prints on Paper’.
“This is very different from anything Alphabet Zoo has done before, but it’s always an exciting challenge as a creative to work out of your comfort zone. Illustration, typography and colour are part of the Alphabet Zoo style of working so it wasn’t difficult to choose what to do for the fridge. Because our fridge was red in colour, we used a colorful palate to complement the original colour instead of painting the whole fridge. We used spray paints, some pencil and acrylic markers. The style is realism and illustration, and all it took from our side really was practice and a bit of research. The general themes you will see on the fridge are all about South African urban culture and all the sub-cultures in Johannesburg.”
Breeze Yoko is a Johannesburg-based multidisciplinary artist specialising in video/film and graffiti. Yoko first made his mark on the underground scene in his hometown, Cape Town, in the late nineties as a member of the hip-hop collective Groundworks. He has participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus, and in urban art projects in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Senegal, Germany, France, and more. His films have won awards at the Tricontinental Film Festival, South Africa; Sienna Film Festival, Italy; and Dak’Art, Senegal. He is currently on a travel residency with Invisible Borders traveling by road from Lagos to Sarajevo. Breeze’s whimsical yet powerful murals unfurl a kind of humanity and beauty that re-imagine their environments. Global street culture and the universal language of hip-hop inform his work. It is concerned with pan-Africanism, and the reclaiming and forging of old and new “schemes, forms and strategies” in the realms of culture and politics.
“With the Grolsch Art Project, I thought it might be funny to use an image linked to poverty on a fridge linked to food and beverage and show the irony. The inspiration behind the piece was the idea that the more years we gain in this democracy the more shacks I see, I felt it looked like we are building on poverty rather than taking it away. I have painted fridges before and I always liked the SMEG fridges and thought it would be cool to be part of this project with some of the artists that were involved. The fact that Grolsch were open about what one can paint also was encouraging 🙂 I think I put a lot of myself in the work I do, so a lot of me is in the work and I identify with it strongly. It wasn’t easy to choose the material, it was all trial and error, but at the end I went with what I know (spray paint) and used a paintbrush to apply. I’m an illustrative artist so this was not far off my normal style; although I do experiment with other styles this would be closest to my usual style of art. Dreams, fantasy, life and all that it comes with are evident themes in my work. I dream of a colourful future, I dream of painting the world black because to me black is a beginning where anything is possible, black is healing, black is life, a beautiful life filled with love.”
How do you win one?
Purchase a Grolsch pack in store at participating outlets, collect an information card at the till point and enter your unique code via USSD to stand a chance to win.
If you purchase your Grolsch pack from Pick ‘n Pay or Makro all you need to do is swipe your smart shopper or Makro card to enter.
The competition runs at participating outlets until 24 September 2014.
Visit www.canvas.grolsch.com/za for more info.