His style is simple and thoughtful, largely characterised by his use of clean and minimal lines. The talented young graphic designer is passionate about formulating a modern African aesthetic and has invested time into creating a design language that reflects contemporary South African youth culture.
“I feel the primal traditional African aesthetic isn’t progressive. It is still pattern dependent, and it doesn’t fully reflect the current state of African identity. The framework is this question: How does a young African express their African-ness in the 21st century? I try and answer that question.”
Here we chat to Thulisizwe about his influences and creative process.
How and why did you become interested in digital design and illustration?
I got interested in digital design and illustration through music, back in high school, before I even knew what design or illustration was. I’d listen to a lot of music and marvel at the track art. I got curious as to how they were designed and illustrated. That was back in 2011 when I was listening to t3n’s ‘Live 4 Now’ that had track art done by an artist named Dragon76. I was always into art and technology, design and illustration just felt right.
Please tell us about some of the themes and ideas that you’ve been exploring in your student work?
There were various themes and explorations within the projects. However, I had in my mind, only one core theme, which was ‘a modern representation of the African aesthetic’ – neue-Africa. Student work gets too Euro. I mean, it also depends on the correctness and suitability of the brief. But it gets too watered down. South African youth culture was another ‘theme’, I used it more so as a reference point for the broad scope of most of the student projects.
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