Welcome to the first edition of our 7-part series. To celebrate our 7th Birthday in July 2018, we relish all things local. Each month we will shine the spotlight on a local talent that has added to, or inspired the local industry in some way. This month, we are rolling up our sleeves and donning something artistic but also, slightly, rebellious. Redesign Interiors loves the Mavericks, the eccentrics, the gems that are making magic happen! This month we chat with Giffy, a local street artist. 

While graffiti is a subject of much controversy, it is fast gaining momentum in the creative world as a legitimate form of art. With a less-than-shiny reputation, colourful scribbles have marked buildings and streets for decades already. 

There exists a great industry separate from the vandalism and gang-associated tags. An industry in which the style of the art, with its skill and the artist’s understanding of colour, is lifted away from the assumptions and stereotypes, appreciated purely for its true culture and skill. 

Understanding the roots of the industry

Since its conception, graffiti has sparked great interest from the art community, both for the incredible skill required to create some of the works we see and for the powerful messages conveyed. Art was never about creating pretty, pretty already exists all around us. While much of the art we see is absolutely breathtaking, the true purpose of art is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer, whether positive or negative. Graffiti has often made powerful statements about the challenging issues around politics and social injustices as it strives to awaken ordinary civilians to the problems at hand, through art.   

In light of the difficulties experienced by many individuals, graffiti acts as a catharsis, allowing the artist to speak out about these challenges while giving the establishment responsible for the perceived injustices a middle finger. What is better than defacing a neat corporate building? Doing it beautifully. It’s like being insulted with good grammar as opposed to broken English, it’s simply far more effective. 

In the eye of the artist, graffiti serves as a voice of truth amidst the chaos, perpetuated by propaganda and biased media. After all, what is art without a little rebellion, a little bump and grind to stir your emotions?

Growing, evolving and creating wonderful things

In more recent times, graffiti has been praised for its aesthetic value. Many of the works, despite being difficult to decipher, display a remarkable understanding of colour, composition, and light. The planning required to put together such a piece deserves recognition, which is being given as the time start changing, with graffiti being displayed in prestigious galleries, like Sotheby’s in London where it is also available for purchase. 

Not only is graffiti displayed and purchased from galleries, but artists are commissioned to decorate buildings tastefully. Using this unique style, companies are modernizing the outside of buildings and creatively tackling the need for signage without actually using signage. 

Talent and tenacity brought us here

One artist who is actively making his mark in the local industry is Giffy. He is a commissioned artist, with a high demand for his particular style which brings the best side of graffiti to life. 

Examples of his works include a large, hyper-realistic owl at the Kloof and Highway SPCA, which is open for visits from the public. Enjoy scones in their tea garden and support a great cause! Another local beauty is the lizard he painted at the recently renovated pub, The Lazy Lizard, where he was commissioned by Redesign Interiors to add vibrancy to the decor with his neat, crisp lines and fantastic colour composition. The end result of the project is fantastic, he took the brief, interpreted it and created something that was exactly on par with the requirements of the job. The client is ecstatic, as are the designers! 

Don’t just think outside the box, LIVE there

When asked where he finds his inspiration, Giffy mentions his dislike for the mindless humdrum of daily life and the hierarchy that exists in society: “I don’t like ‘boxes’ and I don’t follow crowds or take orders, so I think this was the best way to cultivate my passion for painting.”

This artist lives life on his own terms, avoiding the general directions dictated by society. Despite his hesitancy to blend in with the crowds and achieve suburban bliss, his kindness is tangible, in every correspondence. He steers strongly towards encouraging his fellow man to reconnect and convene with nature: 

“I am inspired by places where there are few people. I am inspired when surrounded by nature and when I’m with my loved ones. I am inspired by looking and observing the beauty in nature that is all around us if we just look for it. I urge you reading this to go outside and observe more often. The way plants grow, the sacred geometry in flowers. The patterns and colour combinations found in nature are just incredible. The ocean is one of my life’s greatest loves. I couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from the ocean. In this crazy world, wave riding is one of the only things that bring total peace to me. There’s something about feeling the ocean’s energy. Finding the rhythm in waves, feeling them, riding them.”

Graffiti and the world of marketing and business

Businesses which target millennials in their marketing will find street art particularly beneficial to the business, as this is what the new generation identifies with. Graffiti artists can be commissioned to follow the guidelines required by the business. Clear text, tasteful images and an artistic flair equal to none can do wonders to attract attention to a business from outside. Incorporating graffiti into the decor of your interiors can be just as effective, especially with the barn/warehouse look gaining popularity both for homes and for businesses like restaurants and pubs. 

Giffy talks about the local industry, inviting new and rising artists to enter the game: “I’d really like to see more young people creating art and uplifting their community. I am 24 and one of the only young public mural artists in Durban. Durban has a few very dedicated artists who make things happen, which is cool and inspiring to see how much work can be done by each artist. Durban’s public art scene is growing, so jump on the train and let’s make some rad stuff in this epic place”

To see his portfolio, or to arrange a mural, find Giffy here: http://www.giffyduminy.com/ 

Alternatively, have your decor orchestrated professionally by Interior Designers to communicate a harmonious space, and include some street art, it’s all about appreciating the simple aspects of life.