Meet Jariiid: A Spirited Artist From The Cape Flats

Jared Rudolph (Jariiid) is an artist born in Bridgetown, an area in Cape Town infamous for having adverse effects on its people because of the negatives polluting it. Rudolph continuously uses that as fuel to bring about positive change; freedom to be yourself, to love and be the voice of the voiceless through his art and community engagement programmes.

“My mission is to bridge the gap through my art and collaborate with like-minded individuals to create a better South Africa,” he says.

What is your artistic style?

My style is an amalgamation of freedom and precision. I always believed art should evoke something out of the viewer or listener and make them question or ponder what they perceive. I love being able to educate through my pieces and tend to touch on socio-economic issues by merging my background in street art with contemporary fine art.

Who have been your biggest influences?

I don’t have any formal training, so my technique is derived from trial and error and overdue library books; mainly surrealism and abstract. I have closely studied the works of Salvador Dali, who had an amazing eye for detail. Jean-Michel Basquiat, who too came from a street art background and had a certain childlike finesse, and Frida Kahlo who I believe mastered the art of portraiture while being completely unapologetic about her beliefs and political prowess. Similarly, I draw inspiration from my surroundings, dreams, and music.

Tell us about any notable accomplishments you’ve had.

In 2016, I started an initiative with a few fellow creatives. We went to various underprivileged communities and painted murals at their local park while handing out school supplies, clothing, toiletries, non-perishable food as well as park clean-ups. In 2018, I started hosting group exhibitions and giving local artists a platform to showcase their work. I have exhibited at various galleries and events in Cape Town from AVA Gallery to doing live murals at Rocking the Daisies. 

What are you working on currently on?

I am currently busy with a portrait of a young lady I met in the Company Gardens, whose story I was enthralled by. I love painting people and am excitedly working on a series for an upcoming exhibition highlighting the plight of inequality in South Africa. I am blessed to say I have recently become a father to a beautiful two-week-old daughter, and she’s already inspired me to start venturing out of my comfort zone. I’ve started working on a book about a recent pilgrimage I embarked on, as well as designing a clothing range which I’ll release later this year.

Were there any turning points that contributed to your artistic journey?

There have been two major catalysts that have contributed to my artistic journey. The first one being, looking after my grandmother for two years after she had a major back operation. During that time, I was completely recluse and devoted my time solely to her well being and finding my calling. She taught me patience and love, encouraged my passions and in the little back room next to her bedroom I created 4 of my favourite paintings which I still have today. Once she was healed, I decided to go on a pilgrimage through Africa – starting in Cape Town and finishing in Ethiopia (I only made it to Zimbabwe due to Cyclone Kenneth) but that journey opened my eyes to the beauty of our country and the spirit of Ubuntu. I was also acutely aware of the vast disparity between the rich and poor, especially because I took no money on the trip, I relied on God and humanity and for 44 days of walking and hitchhiking, there wasn’t a single day when I did not have a meal or place to sleep. These experiences have shaped my creative thinking and application when it comes to my content and narrative.

Who are your favourite South African artists?

Blessing Ngobeni, Karabo “Poppy” Moletsane, Robyn Pretorius, Mthobisi Maphumulo and Faith 47.

Take us through your creative process.

Firstly, I give thanks to the Creator for blessing my hands with the ability to create. Next, I lay out my paints, brushes, snacks and a cup of tea in front of my Canvas (which I usually make from scratch.) I then put on some music depending on my mood. I always begin by sketching the picture as a guideline, then I start adding detail. I’m pedantic, so I usually spend a couple of hours focusing on one area of the piece and then I’ll start forming ideas of what to add and what to remove to make the picture look a bit more aesthetic while being true to the underlying premise of the piece. I think I am my biggest critic and I’m pretty hard on myself, but I know the results I am capable of and always try to be completely veracious with others and myself.

Check out for more of Jariiid.

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