It was a passion for art. He quit his job after being influenced by international street art. He started small then grew to spraying walls in the city of Johannesburg. Now he travels the world spraying more walls for nature and conservation.
It’s a sunny midweek afternoon and FORBES AFRICA is off to meet Sonny in Rosebank, Johannesburg. He is a self-taught artist, painting murals big enough to challenge the animal poachers in Africa.
“I decided to teach myself how to paint; had to start from scratch. Had to learn to mix colors, learn to airbrush with a gun; my main passion was just to make things bigger and better,” says Sonny.
Sonny never went to art school. It all began when he started losing interest and slacking at his sales job. He started digital art and mixing PVA paint at the age of 23. That’s when he started getting commissions for indoor murals. It led to his first street mural, using a spray can for the first time, three years ago in Maboneng, the art heart of Johannesburg.
Sonny never looked back to his desk days in sales; he has become an international artist.
What gives him a kick is seeing passers-by – who might have never stepped into an art gallery – stopping to stare at his work.
A few years after his first painting, it’s now his living. He charges between R1,000 ($75) and R2,000 ($150) per square meter and some of the murals can be as large as 400 meters squared.
The long-haired, short and soft-toned 30-year-old’s work is influenced by Africa, where he was born and bred. His work focuses on nature and animals, combining realism with fantasy.
“At the moment, I’m busy bringing more abstract elements in my work which hasn’t been seen in my paintings yet, but all my new murals will slowly have abstract elements and incorporate people,” he says.
Sonny recently completed a body of work for a solo exhibition titled To The Bone.
This work combines wildlife imagery with a social message about the importance of animal conservation; a passion he truly has. He hopes to create international awareness of the fragile state of wildlife in the world.
“I aim to inspire people through the pure beauty of these animals, while reinforcing their importance in shaping our cultural identity.”
Sonny has partnered with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) to raise awareness through the murals and artworks and has a campaign to sell artwork online where a portion of the proceeds will be given to this fund.
“Anybody that sees the murals and follows the link will see what it’s about, and can give R10 or R20 ($1.50),” he says.
He also has a sponsorship drive, where companies or people can sponsor a wall or part of it. The money will be used to spread graffiti to more parts of the world. The sponsorship will enable him to fly over and paint a wall.
He has recently painted in New York and other parts America. He will be moving on to Canada, London and then Amsterdam. He also has a series of murals to sort out for the rest of the world.
“I paint in third world countries where they have the animals but struggle to see the importance, but I also paint in first world countries where they have power over the rest of the world to try change legislations to help protect the animals,” he says.
African art is been noticed around the world thanks to the likes of Sonny. Not only is he making an income, he is making a difference in society by conserving nature with a spray can and walls.
(Featured photo by Motlabana Monnakgotla)
HUGO BOSS Partners With Porsche To Bring Action-Packed Racing Experience Through Formula E
Brought to you by Hugo Boss
HUGO BOSS and Porsche have partnered to bring an action-packed racing experience to the streets of the world’s major cities through Formula E.
Formula E is known for its fascinating races globally. The partnership will have a strong focus on the future of motorsport. In doing so the races will host a unique series for the development of electric vehicle technology, refining the design, functionality and sustainability of electric cars while creating an exciting global entertainment brand.
HUGO BOSS which boasts a long tradition of motorsports sponsorship – has been successfully engaged in the electric-powered racing series since the end of 2017.
In this collaboration, HUGO BOSS brings its 35 years of experience and expertise in the motorsport arena to Formula E, as well as the dynamic style the fashion brand is renowned for.
Mark Langer HUGO BOSS, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) says that though they have been working successfully with motorsports over the years, he is exceptionally pleased that as a fashion brand they are taking the cooperation to new heights.
“As a fashion brand, we are always looking at innovative approaches to design and sustainability. When we first encountered Formula E, we immediately saw its potential and we are pleased to be the first apparel partner to support this exciting new motorsport series,” he says.
The fashion group is also the official outfitter to the entire Porsche motorsports team worldwide.
The fascination with perfect design and innovation, along with the Porshe and Hugo Boss shared passion for racing, inspired Hugo Boss to produce the Porsche x Boss capsule collection.
Its standout features include premium leather and wool materials presented in the Porsche and HUGO BOSS colors of silver, black and red.
Since March, a range of menswear styles from the debut capsule collection is available online and at selected BOSS stores. In South Africa the first pieces of the capsule will come as a part of the FW 19 collection.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E says he is confident that the racers will put their best foot forward on the racecourse.
“This new partnership will see the team on the ground at each race dressed with a winning mindset and ready to deliver a spectacular event in cities across the world. As the first Official Apparel Partner of the series, we look forward to seeing the dynamic style and innovation on show that BOSS is renowned for,” says Agag.
Oliver Blume CEO of Porsche AG says Formula E is an exceptionally attractive racing series for motorsport vehicles to develop.
“It offers us the perfect environment to strategically evolve our vehicles in terms of efficiency and sustainability. We’re looking forward to being on board in the 2019/2020 season. In this context, the renowned fashion group HUGO BOSS represents the perfect partner to outfit our team.”
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