Pastelheart is one of the most exciting creative talents to break from the Durban street art scene in recent times. Still developing his unique art style, his eye for the exceptional has already seen his work profiled on The Fader as well as being exhibited in New York City. With a guest spot representing the Durban creative scene in Sprite’s Obey You Collective campaign earlier this year, we caught up with Pastelheart on his craft, his expansion into fashion as well as his favourite pass time away from art-making.
You come across as quite the enigma. Is this the point of Pastelheart?
Being an enigma is one of my characteristics – it comes more naturally than anything else.
It appears every young person making any form of art in Durban knows the name Pastelheart. Either you’re the president, or there are other reasons. Why do you think this is?
President… No. I love this city. Most of us know each other here. I think if I have become known among the artists, as you said it’s for different reasons. I am yet to discover them.
Name 3 rules creatively, which you make sure to break every time you make an artwork.
The first would be my surroundings, so when creating an art piece, I am exposed on the street. My personal space gets redefined. Second, would be the financial aspect, I believe that I have to discontinue all thoughts that encourage giving up. You have to make art when you have nothing that shows that you have the right motives. Third most is that my process and final appearance is always a reflection of my personal being. I focus on being carefree towards the negativity of the world, just make art, this way you won’t harm those around you.
Do you see any similarities between exhibiting your art on the street and exhibiting your art on the Internet? Please elaborate?
There is a strong similarity yes. With or without the Internet and public display on the urban platform, the art piece itself will never lose its value. It will always belong to the artist, no matter what. Art will always exist as a whole, without the Internet or its street display to the public.
Looking specifically at galleries in your home town of Durban, what place do the traditional gallery spaces have in the age of the Internet?
The galleries have their power over the art community but as we progress into this modern Internet age this is slowly softening the galleries’ voice and power – possibly recreating the form of what is “traditional” or “contemporary” standards as we currently know them.
Durban has a very vibrant street art culture of late. What do you attribute this exciting growth in the scene to?
There is a great culture here; I always encourage others to simply make art. Learn to compliment before you criticize others, this will help you grow as an individual.
You’ve described your aesthetic as “taking a bad dream and mixing it with reality”. Does this mean, as long as you have nightmares, the world gets great work?
A dream to me is a life with endless possibilities. What is a nightmare? Life is confusing. I love going into a mind space where my equilibrium is peaceful, but where my work space is always unpredictable. This reflects our volatile world we relate to.
Your work in fashion is a lovely extension of your current street art work. Is there a difference in your process?
The process is different, yes. I have pushed myself to be versatile and various with my disciplines and mediums. I appreciate variety. It helps to create possibilities that redefine art and fashion. Everything has to be new.
Making murals for the Sprite Obey You Collective campaign appears to have been one of your career highlights. What’s your take on brands embracing street culture? Can any brand do it or are there some unwritten rules?
I feel there are great benefits among us to work with small and established brands. It needs to be embraced. It is a platform to steer you into the right direction in your journey as an artist. It will benefit you if it is a healthy ethos and relationship. Brands can empower artists or exploit them, the choice is their’s. The brand has to provide for street culture as much as they gain from it.
[youtube width=”640″ height=”480″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu7TFU9qX2k[/youtube]
You really seem to be loving lips. Is this a recurring theme in your work or a recent development?
The Lips have been a recurring image since 2010. It is one of the components of my body of work. I am willing to give to the public unconditionally, as long as the critics do not “bite” my style.
When you’re not working, how do you spend your time away from art?
Eating bunny chows
What’s next for Pastelheart?
I am just going to make art, keep making art.