Singers do with words what artists do with ink. One uses their voice, the other uses their hands – both use their imaginations. I can’t help but try to draw the singer’s soul.
I think I drew this for my Grade 11 June art practical exam. It was a 6 hour session in which we just drew, pausing only for a hot chocolate and muffin at lunch time. I had no idea what I wanted to draw for the exam, but I had previously spotted a picture of Jimi Hendrix on Tumblr and he was just so beautiful – I had to draw him. So I did, and I gave it to the boy I was dating.
There was something about this music video that I had to try capture on paper. It was a beauty in the folds of the fabric; the shadows on his face; the light in his hair; the choirboy posture. So I drew it. Twice. The first time I messed up – I lost the light, distorted the charm, twisted the serenity. So I had some fun with the figure; inked an imagination spree. Then I gave it another go, and the result was this.
When I was doing my two-week stint at Grocott’s newspaper, one of the other journalists saw me drawing during a newsroom session. He asked if I would design a cover for the hip-hop album he was producing later in the year. Then he emailed some photos, a few of his songs and asked that the cover say something about hip-hop in Grahamstown (did you spot the Cathedral silhouette?).
I met ‘Viral’ at an ‘Arts, Poetry and Music evening’ during Freedom Month, and his spoken poetry was off-the-wall-and-into-my-heart amazing. The next time I saw him was at the SAfm live discussion about the #RhodesMustFall and Name Change debates, and he had me promise to draw his portrait. So he posed for a photo when I saw him again at the Chronic Launch a few days later. I wish the scratches of my pen had half the power of his poetry.