Atang Tshikare and the guilded creatures
Design Miami, the global forum for design is taking place from 30 November to 04 December 2016. The forum will bring together the most influential collectors, gallerists, designers, curators and critics from around the world in celebration of design culture and commerce.
For Design Miami 2016, Southern Guild 'presents a future-primal take on collectible design. This sensory environment offers groundbreaking interpretations of classic forms, dictating a new pulse for limited-edition African design.'
The collection, expertly curated from South Africa's best, is wild at heart and embodies an untamed character that's distinctively Africas. Fantasy creatures appearing as functional accessories, animal-form nesting environments and tables refreshing thorny landscapes - its all about Afrofuturistic identity.
We interviewed one of the participating designers, Atang Tshikare - fondly referred to as South Africa's freshest design voice.
How has your career developed since you were part of the Emerging Creatives program at Design Indaba in 2012?
In 2012, my biggest work for Design Indaba was a character called Harry Bananas and it was essentially an on the spot made up story about a character in Sea Point that was covered in a leaf pattern which I also applied onto a pair of brogues, sneakers and a bicycle. It was my first public output with surface design and I went on to collaborate with many creatives in various fields mostly working on their product surfaces.
My first break with Southern Guild was in 2012 collaborating with Wiid Design and we put up a video that got some attention from Cyril Zammit of Design Days Dubai (DDD). At the DDD show I saw the distinctive nature of SA design as narrated by each designer that was with us from Southern Guild. I went on to do ceramics with Andile Dyalvane and he took my 2D idea into 3D and that's when a new chapter on thinking beyond the paper began.
I've tried and tested multiple techniques and elements since then and now I am well versed in working with an ocean of materials and creating numerous textures onto what I produce. Talking with photographers like Kent Lingevedlt, who is close to the street action, or Porky who makes high-end works has opened a wide lens of vision with ideas in this playing field.
Creating Monna Pele was my first solo 3D experience and Le Bone Lebone was under supervision of celebrated sculptor Otto du Plessis from Bronze Age foundry. Le Bone Lebone is the graduation into a new form of my own creative language that is untainted by any external hard drive that keeps reflecting my past with its shiny self.
Learning the new is infinite, intricate and intimate, isn't it? Therefore I'll keep swimming towards Avalon, so let's see what boat comes after this sculptural adventure. Time to shape and conquer!
What inspired the creation and design of Le bone Lebone and Maotwana Finyela?
The best way to answer this is to say I see things around in my field of view, like looking into the shimmering heat of a fire where colours and shape fuse like Pastor Mboro and his amazing preaching methods using animals, the hidden bar in Maboneng with taxidermy creatures, or the Durban downtown muti and love potion stores. Somehow I add all the info up with a story I've heard as a child and with conversations with my wife and then boom, a single drawing lands in my diary. It's a magnetic storm that calms down in my abode.
Young natural talent is the future so let’s see how big the bubble gets before it pops and we have to chew the chappies gum again.
What are some of your future creative aspirations?
I want ONLY to make things I have in my creative wet dreams, the one's you wish someone could make just for you, elevating the best part of your body and mind to an intense extreme. I have many ideas and they keep bouncing up like a bunch of grasshoppers, seeking my attention. So when I decipher the patterns in the bedlam of this world I'll lift it up for you to see, so just keep up.
Where do you see the local design industry going in the next few years?
Local design is up to the people and I feel that design will reflect the more natural disposition of the people - the issues they hate or aspire to, like the the time when the nation of Austria went through that Baroque stage and everything was bling and the versed artists from Russia, etc, came in and bumped up the style, or like the time the big name artists were highlighting the JZ error(s) in SA.
I also hope people will get more into technology to reach new heights with their work. Like after District 6 came out and I met Waddy Jones and he was amped about the direction of the film, then next thing he was in Chappie with Yolandi and now we are just waiting for movies like Creative Control to get people jumping on augmented reality. Young natural talent is the future so let’s see how big the bubble gets before it pops and we have to chew the chappies gum again.
Do you consider yourself an artist or a designer? Is there a difference?
I consider myself a creative and avoid all the -isms because I've always made things without thinking of titles like surface designer, sculptor, artist or designer. I can be elusive like that so the audience have the freedom to create their own understanding of Atang. Arts worst critic is the artist so I just weave between the names and continue doing what I love.
For more information, visit southernguild.co.za.