Decor & Design

Atang Tshikare's 'Graphitecture' Transforms The Latest BMW X4

SGX at Southern Guild sees the artist memorialise 10 years of the gallery on BMW's new shape.

Kate McLuckie, courtesy of Southern Guild

First it was the turn of legendary Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu, and now BMW South Africa has passed the batton to genre-defying maker and creative personality Atang Tshikare, who has put his hand to the adornment of the smooth curves of one of their latest models. 

For the SGX group show, design institution Southern Guild’s latest exhibition, BMW invited Tshikare to create a hand-drawn artwork for the body of the latest BMW X4. The exhibition celebrates a decade of Southern Guild, and it was this milestone that the artist chose to interpret on the car, in his signature ‘graphitecture’ style. The project, which the artist explains is the biggest he has ever undertaken, took seven days of drawing to be realised — the final section of it was completed live on the exhibition’s opening night. House and Leisure caught up with the artist to get inside his process, and learn more about how he brought the whole project to life. 


Firstly, for those not familiar, please explain graphitecture? 

Graphitecture is a combination of graphic design and architecture. The aesthetics and the complexity of designing structures. It is a suggestive form of my illustrations where one form can look like another. Some people have likened it to MC Escher. I have stretched the concept in such a manner that on a canvas the work can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Sometimes it confuses the viewer and they are not sure if they are looking at an arcade console, a two plate, or a Jacuzzi. It’s literally happened in front of me. 

What was it like translating your drawings onto a car? 

It was a bit complex, as it was on a new surface with curves and contours that needed careful navigating in multiple positions. I had to hold the marker in various postures to make sure I stayed true to the interpretation of the creations of all the designers’ works. Each of the 38 design pieces, including logos of the art fairs and museums, had to be recognisable but with my interpretation added. Mind you, this work is also on a luxury vehicle for a special 10-year celebratory event where a selection of designers were available to complete the task. And between all these world-class designers, I was the creator invited to highlight this milestone!


Southern Guild turns 10 this year. What’s it like being part of the Guild? 

The Guild has recently been mentioned by Architectural Digest as one of the leading galleries alongside the three most renowned collectible design galleries participating at Design Miami next month. That simply foretells the magnitude of the type of gallery that I am involved with. Looking at my capability and their trust in me on this milestone says enough about our future. 

You’ve done collaborative sneakers and surfboards, and a whole bunch else. What’s next for you? 

The future is full of possibility. Each upcoming show will display a new milestone of my capabilities. 

The car will be on display outside Southern Guild gallery in the Silo District for the remainder of the year, and at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival on 4 & 5 January 2019.