In a year that saw the arts undergo radical levels of change, many arts practitioners are still busy making sense of their creative disciplines in the context of the ongoing pandemic, not least those performing artists and musicians who require a physical stage or rehearsal venue in order to practice their craft.
Then there are those artists who were, for the most part, able to continue with their work from their homes throughout South Africa’s national lockdown. The Johannesburg-based visual artist Tshepiso Moropa is one such artist whose work embraced the digital realm pre-pandemic. Through the medium of digital collage, Moropa’s work explores themes around interiority, femininity, and the freedom to define the nature of the self.
In this short Q&A with Moropa, we discuss the artist’s early engagements with artmaking, the nature of digital art and collage, and how much a medium like digital art has been impacted by the global pandemic.
Creative Feel: Tell us a bit about your history with visual art. What are some of your earliest memories of art or artmaking?
Tshepiso Moropa: I have always had a keen interest in art and artmaking from a young age. It was when I got to high school and I took Visual Art as a subject, my interest in that matter grew intensely. My medium at that time was primarily acrylic painting and sketching but for some reason, I felt as though my work was not coming across as how I would have loved it to. So, from high school up until a year ago, I was searching for ways or different mediums rather that I could use to create art.
CF: How and why did you begin creating digital art? What drew you to the medium?
TM: I wanted to create work that was unusual, work that most people have not seen before. I was inspired to find a medium that was uncommon or a medium that was rarely used. I remember researching Frida Orupabo, a contemporary artist who uses digital art as a medium to create her work and I was fascinated at her use of graphic, sinister and in some ways, violent archival photography and composing them into a beautiful art piece. She was the first collage artist, in my opinion, to ever do that and that brought my attention to collage making. I wanted to create work that was dark and unsettling, but that you could find beauty in. The juxtaposition of both themes is something that I have always been drawn to. The dark and the light.