Prior to committing himself as a full time contemporary artist, Loyiso Mkize rose to prominence as one of South Africa’s best known graphic novel and comic book illustrators, being one of the foremost contributors to the Sunday Times supplement SupaStrikers.
Eventually he discovered a passion for portrait painting, a medium he turns to as an avenue to express personal, political and social commentary.
His subjects are mostly Africa and they feature expressive faces, showing a fascination with skin, texture, gaze and the emotion that is conveyed through facial features.
In particular, he is interested in the ways this emotive expression intersects with notions of the soul, the spirit and ultimately a means to illustrate his understanding of the authentic African experience.
Mkize’s use of highly stylized and technically brilliant brushwork creates realistic imagery that leans toward the surreal with his decorative framing and imaginative illustration, adding multiple layers to each portrait with character references and the impression of self-awareness in each of his works. His ability to create Visual art throughout the varied arenas he participates in, carries with it an intention to communicate ideas that he finds most important in his life, the most prominent of which is preserving the African identity.
His life’s work embodies the messages of self-awareness, acknowledgment, strength and radical presence. Its in this spirit that he hope his work can perhaps create a platform in which we can all communicate freely.
Mkize studied at Cape Penisula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town where he achieved his diploma qualification in graphic design in 2009. In 2015 he founded his own visual arts and communication company Loyiso Mkize Art (Pty) Ltd which publishes the energetic South African superhero comic book, KWEZI.
This follows his long standing and consistently growing career in the fine arts. Alongside career in visual art, Mkize has also been involved in many commercial creative endeavours, including commissions, brand campaigns and publishing initiatives.
His international participation has enjoyed highlights such as being commissioned to produce nine artworks for the Hollywood crime thriller, Momentum, directed by Stephen Campanelli, and starring Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman and James Purefoy.
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