Eastern Cape resident Loyiso Mkize is known in South Africa as an illustrator for the Sunday Times Striker comic strip that circulated to millions of readers in over 13 countries.
Fewer people know that he tells African stories with oils and acrylics as a fine artist, and that he’s also the creator of Kwezi, one of South Africa’s first comic book superheroes.
Mkize’s work currently sells for $800 to $5,000.
He talked to Ebony.com about the artists and music that inspire him, how he juggles the duality of fine art and comic book art, and how Hollywood is starting to take notice.
From HuffingtonPost. Story by Ebony.com.
Mkize: I live in Africa and have developed a huge love for the continent and have developed a responsibility for telling our stories in a different way. I find a consistency with other contemporary artists in that regard — artists who tell stories, our African stories.
I have my contemporary favorites. I’m inspired by the work of Kehinde Wiley, Kaya Witbooi, Ayanda Mabulu.
It’s the drive that I’m attracted to in their work, the radical presence in their art and the life that informs their art. I find consistency with artists who have the overarching sentiment I’m seeing with African artists who are taking back our identities, redefining our identities. These are very exciting times as we are currently enjoying a renaissance of sorts in that regard.
The music I listen to is very specific to the artwork I’m painting. My work has soul. I listen to a lot of soul music: afro jazz, Afrobeat. Last night, I was listening to Simphiwe Dana. All of these works will have a soundtrack if you will that colors or puts ambiance or atmosphere added to the artwork. I always listen to music; it is literally a tool for me in creating.
EBONY: Your work has garnered the attention of Hollywood. How did that come about?
Mkize: The Internet is amazing. I was recently commissioned to do nine pieces for an action film featuring Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko, directed by Stephen Campanellie. My work plays a role where blood splatters across the painting and adds symbolism to the film. I’m finalizing doing a CD cover for South African house DJs, Revolution.
EBONY: How do you juggle being a comic book illustrator and a fine artist?
Mkize: As a visual artist I’m juggling two personalities, there’s a duality. I’m a fine artist and at the same time I’m a comic book artist in one package. It’s a fun and creative experience. Both resonate with each other.
Read more at HuffingtonPost.