Tuesday, 22 November 2011


A painting I did in Troyeville last month.
Troyeville is situated on the eastern outskirts of Johannesburg, this image is painted on the facade of the Gem Theatre, on the main artery that runs to town- Commissioner/ Roberts Avenue.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Grime, Crime and Mutant Gangs- The illustrated mind of Tumba Kevin Makonga

“If u cannot get hold of me, u can find me on Ses' street eating fat mushrooms and drinking pure liquid-Acid”
-Tumba Kevin Makonga

Somewhere in the depths of all of our minds there lies a personal world fully furnished with characters, animals, colours,and all the tangible elements of something real, that speak of our relationship with reality. It’s that world that you witness in your dream state, and bringing it out into the real world without three daily meals of hallucinogenic narcotics is a task that Mr. Makonga seems to achieve effortlessly.

Meeting Mr. Makonga was an experience in inspiration, although I have no idea what he does with his days, it seems that every time I run into him, he has a pile of pens and a sketchbook fused to his fingers. And when you look at his drawings you begin to understand why. The subconscious world that our brains generally relegate to bouts of insanity or nightmares exists in an uneasy truce of consciousness in Mr Makonga’s mind. It bursts out of him via some channel straight from god that ends at the tip of his pen.

The world he is partially living in- Grime Town.

The godforsaken inhabitants of Grime Town live in a kind of post-apocalyptic space where they must battle for survival against fat arrogant pigeons and rats, some of whom display the mutation so typical of nuclear fallout.

These strange quazi-human scavengers have taken their places at the heads of what appear to be organized and quietly violent gangs of mutant city animals, as protectors, as pimps, or as lords and masters.

The human inhabitants who live in corrugated iron shacks and communicate via fuck-off big eighties cell phones, have mysteriously adopted the fashion sense of Run DMC and flavor flav. The children borne of these human survival-machines, sport gas masks, spray paint, ketties and semi automatic bubble weapons, which they holster in their nappies. Cheeseboys and vandals, these hyper-mature babies of the Grime Town apocalypse must have been raised on an extraordinary diet.

A severely unhinged psycho formerly of the Grime Town human massive, rocking a set of hillbilly dungarees, has declared himself “Pigeon Protector” and crowned himself by duct-taping a brace-toothed mask to his face. This is a truly disturbing image, not only because Mr. Makonga has illustrated this homicidal bastard with the soft, barefooted gentility of a country pumpkin farmer, but also because of what it implies about the state of post-war cease fire in Grime Town. Are these humans feeding on mutant pigeons? The image “Bird Season” implies that they are, and the fur coats and hollowed out carcasses that the Grime town Lords wear as business suits bare testament to this unsavory dietary practice.

But perhaps the greatest character of the Grime Town underground is the Rat Lord, whose alcohol ravaged rodent face peers out from the hood of a dirt encrusted rat-carcass coat that is bursting at the seems with his obese mass. A recurring character in Makonga’s imaginary world, the Rat lord is pictured several times, sitting on his fat ass, drinking “Makonga Cognac” or playing video games. Some might venture to suggest that Makonga himself bears some affinity to the scoundrel rat lord whose soldiers run the streets scavenging, hustling and robbing so that they might return to the nest with enough swag to placate their leader. Although there is certainly no resemblance between the artist and this character, one gets the impression that Makonga is slowly embracing his role as president of Grime Town, Post apocalyptic world leader, and whiskey manufacturer.

For Makonga and his crew, the Grime Town brand has only just begun to gain momentum. At the Mark Ong sneaker workshop this year in Johannesburg central, Makonga took a pair of Nike Up’s to the Grime Town level. And recently there has been talk of Grime Town T-shirts hitting the shelves of some local suppliers. Personally, I am holding thumbs for some animated stories from the streets of Grime Town.

All Images copyright Tumba Kevin Makonga

Words copyright Natalie Propa.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

For Layla

Knysna Paintings

So i was just in Knysna with some montana and a head full of ideas, and managed to paint a mural for Highfields backpackers and do a quick throwie with one of Knysna's two graff writers... check it!

Monday, 3 October 2011

comfort to a fool

We all know what we're doing to the planet, to ourselves and our future generations, but find it difficult to take positive action to improve the situation. Worse still, we constantly create little lies, recall myths and old wives tales to distract us from our guilt and silence our consciences. This image is my little reminder that those lies are useless, they will lead us nowhere but to our own misery.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

BORED: a group show of Skateboards

Grayscale Gallery and shop had an exhibition of Skateboards customized by various Graffiti legends and some young up-and-coming artists like myself on Thursday 8 September 2011. With 18 artists in total, there was a large variety of work and people ranging from 2d to 3d and even relief pieces. The show runs until Wednesday 12 October 2011. If you're around check it out!


Friday, 2 September 2011

Heroes of the Underground: Malose 4Matt Malahlela

A series of portraits that talk about the underground heroes of Johannesburg's arts and culture society, the latest of which is one of the co-founder's of the Keleketla! Media Arts Project: Malose "4Matt" Malahlela. The other founder Rangoato Hlasane's portrait will be printed on the adjacent double page and will be uploaded in the coming week, so watch this space!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Doodles For Peace

Hi kids,

Today's lesson is all about love, unity and respect and so, at this crucial moment, before we embark on this journey into the future, I hope to leave you with this little chant in challenging times: Burn Walls, Build Bridges.

good luck and may you overcome all obstacles....

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ekasi Graf Museum

It was Craig Stecyk, famed for his role in the promotion of early skateboarding, who once said: “kids took the ruins of the Twentieth Century and turned it into art”. Much like the rotten old peers of the Coney Island amusement park to which Stecyk was referring, is the decaying Industrial infrastructure of the “old South Africa”. These forgotten spaces unpredictably scarring South Africa’s landscape have become far more than the silent ghosts of an era of economic rise and fall, they are both playground and canvas to a generation hooked on guerilla expression.

We stand, scuffed, paint splattered All Stars and Nikes hanging over the edge of a vast dark hole in the concrete floor of Orlando West’s abandoned Power Station. The massive warehouse building lies alone in a field of reeds that fringe the bank of the dam, wind wailing through its empty window frames, like the waning bleached-out skeleton of a beached wale. Approaching the building from the road opposite the dam, there is a mysterious gloom shrouding this old bone yard. Smoky clouds streaked across the sky and mirrored in the dams’ murky waters lend an eerie forlorn air to its looming bulk. And then, as if blinking at you over a jagged mess of broken iron teeth, shine two huge white PVA tags- Marz and Tapz have given the building eyes.

As you get closer you experience a mixture of awe and raw joy. There’s a buzz in the air that originates in the pure silence punctuated by bird’s wings flapping and the echoes of your footsteps. The building is a layer cake of stories of desolate open industrial space, broken by massive holes in each floor lending you an eye into the graves of the machinery that once gave this place a pulse. These holes run along the floor in varying sizes making any rash movements a hazardous mistake. But it is not until you have climbed into the top floor, its walls wrapped with shattered, empty windows, sunlight flooding the huge pigeon-shit encrusted floor, that you truly understand this building’s mourning. You’ll contract six chronic strains of the Ebola virus up in that loft, but it’s worth it just to stand that high in the sky, inside a building, feeling the wind blasting past you.

The old crumbling walls are canvas to the expression of some of South Africa’s graffiti legends. It is not the typically tagged-to-hell scene that characterizes the old infrastructure of gang-land-crack-dens in American drug movies, No, it is a veritable museum of beautifully executed artworks. A friend of mine once described the smell of Montana spray paint as “a nose orgasm”, and standing in this informal gallery of guerilla youth expression one can sense, quite tangibly, the ecstasy involved in the act of painting. Incredibly considered and composed pieces by Faith Forty Seven, Hac one, Mac One and Bias subtly alter the massive concrete and steel structures. Like history’s rock art collectors who removed rock faces from caves in order to “preserve “ the art of our ancestors, graffiti historians, collectors and enthusiasts might be tempted to enter into mad bidding wars for pieces of wall removed from this building.

Closed to the public, (and protected by guards) the majority of the graffiti was done in 2007 as part of Red Bull’s Soweto Sessions, specifically the Red Bull BC One event. Today the power station is used for film and television shoots and various other events, but for the majority of its days, it stands empty with only the screams of tourist’s bungee jumping from the adjacent Orlando Towers echoing through it’s dark spaces. Not only an abandoned fossil of a past regime, the power station is one of very few physical records of the urban youth culture that evolved from confusing identity soup of the rubble of Apartheid, encroaching American cultural colonialism, and the freedom of participating in a non-racial society.

(text: Natalie Propa, Images: Cale Waddacor)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Women's Day flyer

Here's the flyer design for the first installment of the Words From Her pre-launch promotional gigs due to happen on the 10th August 2011. Looking at protest art from the anti-Apartheid campaigns of the 1950's and 60's I tried to get the message of equality and justice through using the very graphic symbol of the fist.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Paste Ups Inna City

These paste ups in Johannesburg's CBD reflect the characters that inhabit the city, each one with their own message, their own emotional issue.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Words From Her

Slang Audio is set to launch their all female mix tape on 23 September 2011, Heritage day in South Africa. The album features some of South Africa's heavyweight underground femme fatale's and is aptly entitled the essential: Words From Her. Leading up to the event is a series of live shows that will give the artists some real time with their audience, and promote gender diversity in the local Hip Hop scene. The first of these shows will take place on Women's day (10th August 2011) in partnership with UNLEARN in Johannesburg CBD's Kitchener's Carvery Bar.

The Launch of the album has at it's core the fundamental process of engaging with South Africa's shady political history, specifically the struggles that women endured to secure equality (both racial and gender-based) in the face of a militantly racist, patriarchal regime. In conjunction with Keleketla! Library, a number of artists will facilitate workshops with inner city school kids to create artworks (audio, visual and tactile) that engage with these histories (or perhaps HERstories). An exhibition of these artworks will accompany the launch of the Album and the live performances.

In addition to designing the album cover, I have also been commissioned the task of creating promotional flyers for the show. I have uploaded the cover, and a flyer design is to follow... Keep your eyes on this post as this project appears to be growing in scope.


Friday, 29 July 2011

Vandal lie izm

On February 24th 2011 we Opened the "Vandal Lie Izm" exhibition, a show inspired by Johannesburg’s underground hip hop culture comprised of graffiti, street and public art as well as photographs that document the culture, in many of its diverse aspects. As I have long been involved in graffiti, I was able to gain access to some of the major figures in the Hip Hop scene, and curate a show that brought together a myriad of rival crews and individual artists. The show was designed as a platform for the exposure of young, emerging artists, whose work in the streets is generally regarded as something of an enigma- who are these people? Why do they create public art, or vandalize government property? The exhibition was held in downtown Johannesburg at the drill hall, opposite the Noord street taxi rank, in order to properly contextualize the work and expose the heart of our movement to people to whom the scene is somewhat alien. The e-zine "Articulate" wrote a feature on the last show in their first issue, download the PDF and get some insight on Jozi's Street culture.


The second installment of the show will take place In mid- October 2011 and this time we hope to raise funds to generate assets and capital that will allow us to set up a printmaking studio at the Drill Hall's Keleketla! Library.

Here's what Kyle Ferguson managed to capture of the event and cut together with some Qwel for Extra Flava.

Vandalizem - DRill Hall - Johannesburg - Art Exhibition

Monday, 4 July 2011

Hillbrow Street Stencils

Keleketla! Library was involved in a Media arts project at the Substation Wits University. The Project was called Nonwane: Passages, Tempo's and Spectacular ways of Dying and was centered around three major texts: Phaswane Mphe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow; Kabelo Sello Duiker's writing generally and the music of the late Moses Taiwa Molelekwa.
Find more information on the project here: http://keleketla.org/
Part of the project involved the creation of replica street signs of some specific streets in Hillbrow, mentioned in Phaswane Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow. I cut a bunch of stencils and took some experimental photo's of them: here are the results. enjoy :)

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Skaftien Tickets

Skaftien is a south african colloquialism for 'lunchbox'. SKAFTIEN is a recurring community-based meal that generates and democratically awards micro-grants for creative, experimental and innovative arts projects in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. At each SKAFTIEN, attendees purchase a ticket for which they receive a meal, a ballot, and entertainment. During the meal, the diners listen to five proposals so as to cast up to two votes for their favourite project/s. We are interested in ideas that, in their experiential form may not attract funding from conventional sources, yet contribute fresh perspectives on the relevance of the arts. The winner of the popular vote is awarded a grant funded by the proceeds of the event, and is asked to present the manifestation of the project at the next event.

I was asked to design the tickets, which change form with each event. This time I took the logo design by Rangoato Hlasane which is Soviet inspired and made a little note book with a ballot card in the front cover and has the event information and line up on the back.

for more information on the event visit http://www.skaftien.org/

stone cold bitch

I'm a woman, and I can be a satanic witch sometimes, so this is for for the horrible shit i put my boyfriend through on a weekly basis.

stop smoking cigarettes

a Sketch for the frustration

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I got out of bed on the wrong side, and the heinous sleep hangover had left these characters lingering in my consciousness- I took some Paper clay and tooth-pics and brought them out into the real world...