Artists, Interview, Online

Interview with Andrew Ntshabele

Who has been your biggest influence?

My biggest influence was my Mother as she encouraged me to become a professional artist, to be patient and have a love for what I do and to pursue becoming a full-time artist. Artistically I would say Gerald Sekoto as he was one of the first major black African artists from South Africa to make a name for himself internationally. And I have always admired the works of the old Dutch masters particularly Caravaggio and Rembrandt.

How did you arrive at the current style that you are becoming well known for?

I first discovered this style of using mixed media in the third year of my visual art course at the University of Johannesburg, I began drawing with mixed mediums of watercolour charcoal and acrylic on newspaper. The subject matter I chose were portraits of waste collectors, street vendors, everyday people, and old buildings in the inner city, that I had photographed. Once I had mastered how to draw and paint with mixed media on to newspaper I stuck to the medium and it has become a medium that I never get bored of as it challenges me to think out of the box every time.

How has your artwork changed over time?

My artwork was at first serious as I was dealing with urbanisation within the inner-city of Johannesburg, which highlighted poverty and decay found in the inner city.

Although, I still express socio-political themes in my artwork, over time I have learned to look at the brighter side of life, as there is a good and joyous side to Johannesburg, from the friendly and sometimes comical ways street vendor go about selling their goods, the humourous interactions people have with each other in taxi ranks and on the streets, and the children playing on the streets and the high-rise flats they call home. So, I would say I balance out my work now with both the positives and the realities of the inner-city of Johannesburg. I would say this balance has bought balance to my work and has increased my passion and love for my work.

How has COVID 19 and Lockdown impacted you, and your artwork?

Covid-19 has been a blessing in disguise as it has pushed me to think outside of the box and has challenged me to get outside of my comfort zone creatively, it has also challenged me to create artworks not just for myself, but works that will bring joy, and that speak life. I believe Covid-19 has taught me to be more positive and even more resilient in my approach to life and the way away I approach my work. As Napoleon Hill states, “You are the sum total of your dominating or most prominent thoughts.”

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There has been more than one highlight in my career, I would say winning the Thami Mnyele merit award in 2012 in my second year of studies at the University of Johannesburg.  I would say finally pursuing art as a full-time career from 2016.

What has been the greatest challenge of your career so far?

I would say the greatest challenge of my career so far, is getting out of my comfort zone, and mental blocks creatively. I am trying to unlearn somethings and at the same time trying to relearn certain things.

In what countries, can we find your artworks?

My artworks can be found in North America, Europe, Middle East, And Asia. It is difficult to name all countries as I have been fortunate to have art buyers and collectors purchasing my work from all over the world. Currently, I am on exhibition with in Johannesburg, as well as I have a Solo exhibition, which forms part of a group pop up exhibition at The Kunst Sommer KPM Quartier in Berlin.

As it is written

Mixed media on  vintage postcards

There is room for hope 1

Mixed media on Vintage Music Score

There is room for hope 2

Mixed Media n Vintage Maps

There is room for hope 3

Mixed Media on Newsprint

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