11 Mar New Arrivals | 8 SA Designers and Illustrators To Watch
On Monday we launched Graphic Design Month on 10and5 to delve into the field and its many facets. For the next few weeks we’ll be sharing in-depth interviews, an ‘Archives’ mini series which has designers looking back (as far back as 1989, in one case!) to map their development over the years, as well as a few themed lists. First up on this front, we’ve selected 8 up-and-coming designers and illustrators whose work points towards a very exciting future for the industry they’re just entering.
Derick van Wijk
The stand-out graphic design style of Derick van Wijk is bold, confident and mostly monochromatic. Specialising in Art Direction, he graduated with a degree in Visual Brand Communication at Vega and we interviewed him for our annual Fresh Meat series soon after. “Working in the area between fine art and classic/contemporary graphic design is something I’ve always been very attracted to,” says Derick, who is influenced by the natural world and raw elements alongside objects and aesthetics of our post-modern experiences. “Works that function as a one way street can be so boring,” he says, preferring works that create an unspoken sense of dialogue. Without spelling it out, these allow the viewer “to realise a communication in relation to their own life or something they have seen or experienced” – an approach Derick believes is becoming increasingly important in the world of design.
Karabo Poppy Moletsane
“My interest in creativity coupled with my curious nature brought me into the world of design and illustration,” says Karabo Poppy Moletsane, who graduated with a BA in Visual Communication from Open Window. She uses her vibrant style to tell the South African story, clearly evident in some of her work we’ve previously showcased such as ‘Sho’t Left’ – A Zine on South African Occupations’ and the self-promotional ‘Mzanzi Like Me’. Karabo sees the latter as a direct link to all that she aims to achieve with illustration and design, namely “To dismiss one’s ability to classify certain things by ethnicity, instead classifying things as one culture (a South African culture) involving all the great traits of South Africa.”
Russell ‘Fatlip’ Abrahams
Fuelled by a desire to keep on learning, experimenting and bettering his skill, Russell Abrahams’ style is continuously (and quite rapidly) developing – as he incorporates new textures, techniques, colour schemes and influences into his work. Through his ‘Totem’ series he tackles serious social issues in South Africa, however most of the time he draws inspiration from people or pop culture. According to Russell, what makes an illustration great is style and concept. “I love looking at work that oozes with style,” he said when we interviewed him. “It defines the artist and that’s an amazing thing.”
Frané Els is a character designer, illustrator and animator from Potchefstroom who recently bagged herself a Gold Craft Loerie for her experimental typeface, UBUZU (which is the Zulu for ‘faces’) which we shared last year. In 2013 she not only decided to branch into multi-media design from graphic design, but also discovered her love of character illustration. Armed with a giant Moleskin and inspired by her second year lecturer Khaya Mtshali, Frané started sketching characters every day and her own personal illustration style began to take shape. As for graphic design work, Frané is a fan of clean lines and simple shapes, a side affect of what she calls her chronic perfectionism. “I love vectors, because you can achieve neat lines and perfect shapes and never have to get your hands dirty” she says, adding that a balance is always needed between structure and spontaneity.
Emijl de Kock
For Emijl de Kock, graphic design is the platform to turn passion into the profound. Since completing his BA in Creative Brand Communication at the AAA School of Advertising last year, he has been cutting his teeth as a professional illustrator at Radio. His work is clean, considered and meticulous – which two Loerie Awards already under his belt attest to – and his design process is ruled by structure. That said, he describes his style as flexible and in his ‘Guild Of Oceanography’ pictured here, Emijl experimented with various illustrative styles to create a fictional representation of the drift bottle citizen science experiment. When we interviewed him for our yearly Fresh Meat series, he said “I appreciate all forms of design, but there are always those selective pieces that just make you want to do the happy dance. I love how people can evoke that in others through their design.”
AAA graphic design graduate Qondile Dlamini also featured in our annual Fresh Meat series this year, after her final year project ‘The Mane Objective: Guide to Black Women’s Hair’ pointed us in her direction. What we discovered upon further investigation is a portfolio full of research-rich projects providing all sorts of information – from how birds get their colour, to the most influential drum machines over the last half-century. With a particular love for digital art, she works in a flat detailed vector style and has recently been experimenting more with colour. Qondile is heavily influenced by her experience of african visual culture, saying “I am inspired by interactions that happen around me and I like my work to be expressive, because it is personal.”
While Katlego Phatlane enjoys mixing print design, digital art and typography to the best of his ability; typography is his favourite of the three and he engages in frequent typographic experiments driven by an obsession with shapes and forms. Last year, his prolific output contributed to him being selected as the Johannesburg All-Star at Portfolio Night 13 affording Katlego the opportunity to travel to New York City to represent South Africa – we caught up with him just before he embarked on this journey. Since completing his degree in Visual Communication at Vega, he’s been working as a junior designer at Promise Group where he continues to uncover his style and hone his skill.
It’s not all that often that we’d have cause to describe someone’s illustrative style as ‘juicy’ but Kayla Schoonraad‘s (who you may know as ‘Diluted Oros’) digital illustrations definitely warrant it. So much so that during her graphic design studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, she was told that she was fond of illustrating things that looked lickable. Kayla’s growing collection of portraits of musicians, illustrated in fantastic colour combinations, speak of her primary influences: music and pop culture. “I’ve always been considered odd,” she says in a recent interview, “and I guess it’s because I don’t necessarily reflect or represent the stereotype of a person from the Cape Flats. That, and my somewhat unorthodox thinking process.”
Of course this list is by no means comprehensive and we’d love to hear about the young talent on your radar at the moment – leave us a note in the comments.