I recently was commissioned to do a mural for a creative agency based in Auckland, New Zealand called TRUE. An amazing agency who do some really cool work for clients such as Air New Zealand (and other fancy pants companies).
TRUE do some pretty cool stuff like this video that they did for Air New Zealand.
Travelling is always cool – you get to make new friends and see a different part of the world, and New Zealand has been on the list of places I wanted to experience and especially for a Durban illustrator that is isolated from contemporary influences. First up on arrival, after settling in, was a walk through the city hunting for unique signage (a little hobby I like to do – I’m a sucker for quirky Graphic Design!). This signage for a grocery store just up the road, got me all gooey like. Yeah!
The biggest thing that I love to do while travelling is NOT to do the touristy site seeing stuff. My idea of an overseas trip is to live as much as a local as possible. For the eight days that I took to do the mural, I caught a bus from the hostel to the True offices located in Ponsonby Road – about twenty minutes commute from the CBD. This was my bus stop from the infamous and kinda sleazy – K’ ROAD.
When I paint a mural in a new place, I like to check out the area before I start. A nice walk around a suburb is a good way to get a vibe. Epic houses – super safe compared to South Africa and lots of murals around in the area. Ponsonby now has some RESOBORG stickers on street poles – BOOM! House prices will now triple I tell ya!
After a few emails and sketches, my final concept was working on the idea of merging two images together to tell a story influenced by hieroglyphics. I named the mural truoglyphics to create a new word using the two words ‘true’ and ‘hieroglyphics’ I looked at creating a new language of signs and symbols that can be interpreted in multiple ways. You’ll see things like an eye and a fish merged together as one icon. This represents the idea that something is fishy, which accentuates the concept of discovering the truth. The whole mural was made up of various icons which followed in the same vein of a concept with double meaning behind them to portray aspects of the company’s ethos.
The total size of the mural was 10m x 4m so hard to capture in one photo but you can see whole artwork in the video below that pans across the length of it!
Late nights at the agency meant quiet streets in Ponsonby. Where is everyone? Perhaps at the Anarchist Interpretive Dance Party?? 10/10 for DIY design for this poster! Great font, great artwork and 10 scene points for black and white printing! Yeah!
After the mural was completed, I actually did do some tourist stuff! (blushes). The sky tower is pretty awesome and I went up there to check out the sunset. You get to see a lot of the little islands around and a good overview of the city.
I can’t go to a city without checking out local bookstores. Mag Nation!! Get your geek on yo.
Stokage levels hit an all time high with the abundance of coffee shops in Auckland, but I was on the hunt to find a unique little spot without the usual hipster steampunk aesthetic going on. Enter Fred’s, located on the corner of Ponsonby and some other road. This little space had a cool vibe going on, down to earth and super, super good coffee and cakes! Great to hang out and be contemplative about the fact that I am basically hanging out at the end of the world!! Dang.
I just loved these little wooden décor items at Fred’s!
Auckland has epic parks all over and in this one you can see the sky tower! You can pretty much see this Star Trek influenced building all over Auckland (beam me up Kiwi!). You can’t escape it! Perhaps Big Brother sits at the top and keeps an eye on any possible criminal behaviour. hmmm. This park is opposite the awesome gallery Endemic World!
There are loads of international bands that come out here, I missed some epic shows due to the mural project, but I got to do some alleyway adventuring and discovered some unique murals – this one I really liked. Alleyways are where it’s at I tell you.
Last on my agenda was to check out the west coast and a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The music room was super cool which showcased Kiwi music from the 60’s up until now. Historical punk bands; lyric notes from Crowded House and Lorde gave me an intimate interaction with a bit of Kiwi music history.
I was also lucky enough to check out Greg Straight’s art studio in Birkenhead! I was pretty excited about this! A quick ferry ride from Auckland central is all it took to meet Greg, Hannah and their awesome kids! His studio is amazing and it looks across the ocean! Greg and his wife also gave me some super cool prints on wood that they sell. Check out Greg’s prints over here and Duett’s prints here. Thanks for the homemade pizza guys!
It’s always rad to get some keepsakes on a trip! Here is what I took back home: Tofutree Tote bag for the wife, prints on wood by Greg, Geometric prints on wood by Duett, Moomin (Finnish Cartoon series) pocket notebook and Smith Journal that came with a fold out New Zealand poster!
Super excited to have been featured on NEWS 24 and their Beautiful News campaign that features South Africans doing positive and inspiring things in our country. The short video discuss my early beginnings and how skateboarding got me into making illustrations and murals. Check out the full video over here.
I am excited to share a podcast interview that I recently did with Los Angeles based Pencil vs Pixel!
I talk about creating key opportunities like scoring artist residencies and my experience of starting my own illustration and design company.
Super proud to be on the podcast show that has featured some of the most influential and prominent creatives in the industry today!
Jessica Hische, Aaron Draplin, Tad Carpenter, Don Clark, Jon Contino have all been on the show before!
You can check out the interview over here
“Love Imvelo” a new mural by Resoborg
Supported by RVCA, The Human Elephant Foundation, Shoppe, Brand Iron, Maza and Counter Culture.
Situated in the heart of Durban’s “design precinct” known as Station Drive, Wesley van Eeden aka Resoborg paints one of his largest and most detailed works to date, on the wall where Brand Iron and Maza are situated.On surface level, this new mural is a pretty image with smooth lines and happy colours, where Wesley attempts to replicate his digital illustration work by hand to add some colour to the creative hub. However, on a deeper level, this attempt at paint ‘control’ is metaphorical to the things that he can’t control or understand in human existence and acts as a spiritual exercise during the production of the mural.
“Imvelo” is the Zulu word for the environment, and this artwork has a subtle message of encouraging a love for the environment, where technology is currently holding the populace’s attention span. The mural includes pattern work that is inspired by local African patterns found in textiles and there are icons such as the Protea and Flamingo, which represent products that can be purchased at Shoppe in Station Drive – one of the funders for the project and situated just up the road from the new mural.
The pattern represents balance and harmony with nature and acts as an encouragement for deeper interaction and respect for the natural world. The Human Elephant Foundation who were also part funders for this mural, are a visionary and collaborative organisation, who initiate and facilitate discussion and innovative problem-solving, to create a better, respectful and sustainable world.
Wesley’s hope for the mural is that the artwork appeals to both kids and adults alike and encourages and inspires a connection with nature. RVCA often use the term “balance of opposites” and a lot of the pattern in this mural visually plays with the idea of balance and mirroring, to further accentuate the message of a balanced environment.
You don’t know my story but I hope this inspires you..I’ll share just a “little” bit.
It was great to return to my old university to do a mural for Digfest recently. Students were friendly and the vibe was awesome.
It was great to walk around the campus and see how much has changed. The tuck shop is truly awesome..the bunny chows are just insane!
No one really knows how I got my artist career started so here goes nothing. I didn’t make it into the first year program because my drawing was not good enough. The secretary at the time at the design campus literally LAUGHED at my drawing “portfolio”. I didn’t go to a school that even had art as a subject and my technical drawing teacher hardly even came to lessons…I could go on. One day after school I was attacked by a fellow student with a screwdriver and for a 17 year old who was not good at anything this was pretty brutal (being laughed at – the screwdriver thing is pretty normal where I grew up) What followed was a year of private art classes (not as high brow as you think..an old granny who lived in the hills bless her soul) and a year long kak (Afrikaans for crap) job working at a screen printing company. The only thing that got me into “art” was Ghost In The Shell (Anime) and skateboarding graphics. I had no mentors, no heroes only my skateboard and friends. No nothing. Inspiration was hard to find.
A year later I then applied again to enter the design program and guess what I was number 41 on the entrance list! Only 40 students were allowed into the class (not 100% sure on the amount here). So I didn’t make it in again! I am a looser baby. Luckily my Dad phoned the professor and they promised they’d let me know if one of the other students would bail and choose a different course. Luckily someone did and I got in. Happiness. Luckily my Dad could then stop panicking about his hopeless son who was pretty useless at pretty much everything. I am still thankful to this day that my Dad picked up the phone to make it happen.
Bottom line here is that it takes a lifetime of struggle to become a successful creative. The general population is not aware of this and they’ll take as much as they can from you. People are going to laugh at you, put you down and yes you’ll be taken advantage of time and time again. Remember this: If you make music, if you make art if you make anything creative – you have value just like the rest of society. Don’t let anyone sweet talk you into compromising which is important in life: Integrity is key. Humbleness is key. Positivity is key. Passion is key. Focus is key. Dedication is key. Doing what you love is key. Keeping at it is key.
At the end of it the BIGGEST key is to give back to your community – I am working on all of this and I to want to make this city a better place. I don’t want to move to New York, London, San Francisco, Hong Kong or some cool city that you pinned on Pinterest.
Thank you to everyone who TRULY supports artists in this city. Thanks to Steve Jones and Digifest for making it happen.