Karabo ‘Poppy’ Moletsane on taking the iconic African aesthetic to the world

Illustrator, graphic designer and street artist Karabo Poppy Moletsane says she is committed to preserving the African aesthetic. Most of her work is representative and inspired by everyday South African culture.

The artist says her inspiration mostly comes from casually walking through any Central Business District (CBD) and soaking in the culture. She says these places are rich in culture in every way – from the people that make up the city, to the fashion and other elements like sounds and energy. She also enjoys referencing 90s Hiphop culture – something she says was always around her, growing up with four older brothers.   

Karabo, who graduated from the Open Window School of Visual Communication, has big accomplishments under her belt including taking over Google’s home page for international Women’s Day in March this year. In 2017 she was invited by the University of California to paint a mural in the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

She has also worked with big brands such as Woolworths (on a Valentine’s Day campaign) and designed the graphics on Soweto’s popular towers for Soweto Gold Superior Golden Lager.

This year Karabo also collaborated with another designer, Faatimah Mohamed-Luke, to create a custom basketball court design in Zoolake, Johannesburg – a first of its kind in Africa. She says she always looks for unconventional places to showcase her art and share it with people. 

The young creative says when she was studying towards her degree and coming up in the industry, there was no black women she could look up to. She hopes to become someone that younger creatives who grow up wanting to see a successful person that looks like them in the industry, can look up to.

While Karabo has garnered much success, having traveled and gained international recognition, she says creatives shouldn’t expect overnight success. Success, she says, requires a plethora of elements and may take some time to achieve.

Boloyi Studio helped us create this video. 

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