Yogi Sip Announces Young Creators’ Network Top 15

In June, Yogi Sip’s Young Creators’ Network called on creatives across the country to submit their best work to stand a chance to design the brand’s limited edition packaging for Youth Month in 2021, as well as a cash prize of R20 000.

We received a total of 603 submissions, from which a shortlist of 50 applicants were selected. 15 emerging illustrators and digital designers from across the country were then selected by a curatorial panel made up of a representative from Yogi Sip, our editor Thabang Buthelezi, last year’s winner Masonwabe Ntloko and original Yogi Sip designer, David Tshabalala.

Meet the 15 talented artists:

Carolyn Taylor

Keen for the possibilities on offer for the year ahead, 23-year-old fine artist and designer, Carolyn Taylor shares that being selected validates the work that she has been doing, and that she can finally call herself an ‘artist’.

The Red and Yellow graduate started creating after her mom encouraged her to express herself through various art forms. Her family saw potential in her work and supported her passion for the arts, which resulted in her studying a BA in Visual Communication at the prestigious Creative School of Business.

Taylor’s work explores mental health and aims to break the silence around the illness. This topic is especially important to her after having struggled with mental illness from when she was 16.

Read more about her here.

Nhlanhla Kumalo

At age six, Nhlanhla Kumalo began drawing and before entering his teens he got involved in gaming – he says video games fuelled his interest in animation. Today, the 22-year-old artist works as a freelance visual development storyboard artist, animator, and dabbles in film.

Inspired by Karabo Poppy and Terence Ntsako Maluleke, Kumalo wants to preserve the African aesthetic through his work – uncoincidentally like the aforementioned artists.

Read about Kumalo here.

Zico Mthethwa

As an animation fan, illustrator Zico Mthethwa’s interest in art grew after he had realised his desire to recreate the cartoon characters from some of the shows he would watch growing up. In grade three, he began tracing out these characters, paying much focus on Dragon Ball Z’s lead character, Goku. Eager to explore his talents and childhood interest further, he went on to study Graphic Design in university.

Mthethwa’s illustrations draw inspiration from the work of African American artist, Ernie Barnes, whose work uniquely captures the energy and lives of fellow African Americans. He also includes Cape Town-based illustrator, Russell ‘Yay Abe’ Abrahams as an artist who influences his style of design.

Check out his interview with us here.

Lethabo Huma

Art, as a medium of communication, is used differently by many; multiple artists use their artistic skills to paint a narrative of the world around them, while others use the medium to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Artist, Lethabo Huma, leans towards the second mode; using her creations to communicate her thoughts and emotions as this is something she struggled with growing up.

The Pretoria-based digital artist recognised her passion for art in grade 9 after her Arts & Culture teacher offered her and her classmates the opportunity to exhibit their drawings in her classroom whenever they had artwork to share.

Read about her here.

Millandrie Molotsi

Self-taught, Soweto-born multidimensional fine artist, Millandrie Molotsi first picked up drawing when she was ten years old, but only started taking it seriously after she was selected to showcase her work at her former high school’s art exhibition, alongside students who were a few grades ahead of her. This then resulted in her taking visual art as a subject in her senior years.

Notwithstanding that her primary focus in style is abstract minimalism and line art, her work explores the representation of human beings, self-acceptance and demonstrates soft meditation textures, tones, and color.

Read the full interview.

Sanele Matsolo

Born and raised in Soweto, Sanele Matsolo’s childhood and upbringing played a major role in his decision to take the creative route. In grade 4, he developed a love for drawing cartoon characters; a love inspired by cartoon artist, Zapiro. He exercised his talent throughout his schooling years and was afforded the opportunity to showcase his artwork at an art and craft event held at the Soweto Theatre. The event exposed Matsolo to various mediums, but he was, however, drawn to photography.

Matsolo, a storyteller at heart, creates soulful work with a nostalgic feel, work that allows the viewer to relive moments shared with friends, family and their community. His work focuses heavily on societal issues and is inspired by his surroundings as well as his observations from the community he was raised in.

While speaking of his artistic influences, he includes South African creative Justice Mukheli, Seth Pimentel and David Tshabalala. 

Read more here.

Larissa Mwanyama

For Pietermaritzburg-based visual artist Larissa Mwanyama, entering this year’s Young Creators’ Network competition meant associating herself with a popular South African brand. Mwanyama recognises the Young Creators’ Network as a platform as one that uplifts young creators as well as their abilities to visually contribute to social progress and change and is hopeful that it may offer a new creative lens for her to see herself through.

Mwanyama’s creative journey was highly influenced by the matriarchal lineage that raised her and their teachings through African traditional storytelling; using imaginative parables along with visual theatrics to invoke a physical understanding of a life lesson. These teachings and her upbringing shaped her use of imagination, sense of identity, and visual creative journey.

Drawing inspiration from childhood cartoons, books, and her family archive of oral teachings, Mwanyama’s work explores themes that stem from concepts of motherhood and mothering, imaginative ethereal landscapes, intersectional identity, and memory, and social knowledge distribution.

Check out the full interview here.

Sinomonde Ngwane

Sinomonde Ngwane is a 24-year-old graphic designer and illustrator based in Durban who intends to positively represent black women and visually narrating their stories. Her work often explores and responds to issues of vulnerability as well as the lack of representation of black women within the media.

To bring these creations to life, she draws inspiration from various artistic avenues, places, conversations, and her personal experience of being a black woman in South Africa. With this in mind, the graphic designer admires the works of Delmaine Donson, who celebrates all women of colour through her art.

Throughout her career, Ngwane has worked with a number of well-known local and international brands such as Netflix, Standard Bank, Mobicel, Superbalist, Champion Sweets to name a few. She wishes to add Yogi Sip to her growing list by winning the Young Creators’ Network competition and believes being part of the top 15 brings her a step closer to achieving this as well as various goals.

Read more about the illustrator.

Amy-Leigh Braaf

Amy-Leigh Braaf’s distinctive style has earned her a spot in this year’s Young Creators’ Network. The Johannesburg born creative recently moved back home after living in South Korea for two years, she is currently kicking ass and taking names under the sobriquet ‘Hakopike’.

Braaf enjoys working on a gold leaf and acrylic series called ‘Ancient Deities’ focusing on her coloured heritage – studying the culture and fashion from her family’s ancestry in Java, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Currently, her artworks focus on surrealism as she is incredibly inspired by magical realism and the novels written by Haruki Murakami, the costume designs by Eiko Ishioka, films by Park Chan Wook, Wong Kar-Wai and Ana Lily Amirpour, and she draws influences from musical artists such as FKA Twigs and Mitski. Womxn are often the centre of her creations – where they are depicted in distorted words often alluding to current events.

Read more here.

Keamogetswe Sediane

Amongst the list of talented creators selected to take part in Yogi Sip’s Young Creators’ Network is Johannesburg-based illustrator, Keamogetswe Sediane – a U.J graduate with a degree in Multimedia and an Honours Degree in Design specializing in UX Design.

Sediane’s love for art and creativity ages back to her younger years, where she would draw pictures for her mother or create clothing for her Barbie dolls. With this love growing stronger over the years, she chose visual arts as one of her subjects in high school and decided to continue with it in university.

After years of illustrating and exploring various artistic styles, Sediane recently grew into her own style – she takes pride in representing and empowering black women through her art. By focusing on issues of colourism, she aims to create work that empowers the everyday woman – embracing their beauty, pain and strength. She shares that her work is not the conventional beauty that is seen as popular in society, she distorts and places exaggerated features on the illustrations, with the aim of depicting the realities that women face.

Check out her interview with us here.

Prince Nhlapo

Prince Nhlapo is a promising creative from Vanderbijlpark, an industrial city located in the south of Gauteng. He fell in love with words when he was in grade one and thus began his creative journey as a poet. However, poetry was soon replaced by music after he started experimenting with music. His counterpart, Manthe Ribane’s ability to incorporate visual arts into her music inspired him to start exploring visual arts as well.

For Prince, being a part of the Young Creators’ Network means that the fruits of his labour are finally paying off. After having spent over a decade working on his craft – and sharpening his artistic skills – he feels that this is confirmation that he is headed in the right direction.

Beyond visual arts, Nhlapo wants to pursue creative directing. He enjoys coming up with different concepts and wants to broaden his photography skills.

Read more here.

Nompumelo Mdluli

Nompumelelo Mdluli, also known as Mpume, is a Digital Designer by profession, a children’s book illustrator by passion, and an author by chance.

She started making art during her pre-school days – her mother started teaching her how to draw and sew. She then went on to sell her artwork in grade two, which she believes inspired and enabled an entrepreneurial spirit that she still fosters today.

Most of her drawings had poems or a short story pencilled somewhere in them. She explores spirituality and features females figures in her work.

Read more about her here.

Lorenzo Plaatjies

One cannot list young and talented creatives without mentioning Lorenzo Plaatjies – he is synonymous with greatness. His IG serves a feast of spectacular and emotive artworks proving why he could possibly be one of the best graphic designers in Johannesburg.

Having first come across the artist’s work through his spell billing digital works in 2016 – a project exploring longing and sadness – we instantly put him on our radar of artists to watch.

Read his Young Creators’ Network interview here.

Phila Hillie

Joburg-based digital artist Phila Hillie is a notable creative on the rise – her striking creations landed her a spot on this year’s Young Creators’ Network top 15 list – a platform that aims to upskill the youth and offer them a chance to grow their creative practice.

Using her Instagram page as her canvas, the 23-year-old architecture graduate lets us into her creative mind by showcasing her women-focused artworks; through which she creates a safe space for women to explore themselves without the pressure that society projects on them.

Hillie is inspired by heritage/culture and how women navigate their cultures in general. Having grown up in Johannesburg in a traditional household, she found herself trying to balance being a free and independent spirit whilst also having to follow a patriarchal structure of tradition.

Check out her interview here.

Leo Rheeders

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Leo Rheeders is a 23-year-old graphic designer from Potchefstroom whose idiosyncratic art has garnered him national acclaim and a spot on this year’s Young Creators’ Network top 15 list.

Currently, Rheeders is a Graphic Design student completing his degree in Graphic, Multimedia, and Illustration Design. His love for art can be seen as a spectrum – he enjoys working in different mediums from painting, drawing, digital design, illustrations, animation, and graphic design.

His interests lie in the stories that the motherland, Mzansi has to offer, and is highly passionate about exploring themes that are in relation to South Africa as he feels creatives in the local industry have a big voice that needs to be heard. Themes such as Ubuntu, which place focus on the essence of human virtues, compassion and humanity are the artist’s driving force.

Read about him here.

Stay tuned to find out which one of the talented artists will win the Young Creators’ Network competition.

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