In our latest artist interview, we’re featuring the talented South African artist, Naledi Tshegofatso Modupi.

Naledi is known for her captivating artworks that blend various media and explore themes of identity and cultural heritage. We were thrilled to welcome her in-store recently when she chose The Deckle Edge as one of the locations for a new Birkenstock advert showcasing her artistic journey!

Today, we delve deeper into Modupi’s artistic vision, her experiences as an artist, and the inspiring story behind her collaboration with Birkenstock. Join us as we uncover the creative spirit and passion that fuels this exceptional South African artist.

Q: How did you discover your passion for art?
A: From my earliest memories, art has always played a significant role in shaping who I am today. I have fond recollections of being a creative little child in second grade, assisting my classmates with their drawings and constantly expressing my love for creation. It was later in my life, during my Grade 12 studies, that I came across the work of Zanele Muholi, a ground-breaking South African artist whose impact resonated with me deeply. Muholi’s powerful work inspired my ambitions as a female South African artist and ignited a passion for creating that has persisted through the years. Since then, I have devoted myself to being purposeful and passionate about my craft, and I genuinely cannot envision a life without creating.

Q: When did you find your style and start gaining recognition?
A: When the pandemic first hit, I had so much more free time on my hands. I realized that it was a great opportunity to engage with my craft and explore different styles of art. That’s how I started creating in this particular style, late 2020. It wasn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea but it felt strangely familiar to me and I felt connected to it immediately. So, despite the reviews from friends and family, I continued pursuing it and shared my work on the internet. Little did I know that my efforts would catch the eye of some major brands and individuals who decided to collaborate with me. Needless to say, this kind of recognition pushed me even further to refine my skills, always aiming to exceed all expectations while inspiring others along the way.

Q: We were recently approached by @kamvacollective to film you shopping at your favourite art store. Did you tell them about us and why are we your favourite?
A: Oh, Deckle Edge! I cannot express enough how much I loved that store, and it’s actually quite amusing that both Kamva Collective and I suggested it almost simultaneously.

I remember when I first moved to Cape Town a year ago, finding an all-in-one art store felt like an impossible task. It wasn’t until I discovered Deckle Edge that I felt I had truly found a gem. The store offers incredible variety and affordability that any artist would appreciate, but for me, it was the atmosphere that made it stand out. The welcoming and friendly space! Making it a truly enjoyable and inspiring environment for not only purchasing art supplies but also brainstorming for my next creative masterpiece.

Q: What materials do you mainly use for your artworks and why are those your favourite?
A: As an impatient artist, I love using acrylic paints because they help me stay productive with the results I want. They dry fast, mix well and are very manageable on canvas so that my artwork looks great and can evolve quickly. On top of that, acrylics are also really fun for me – I often get creative and incorporate other materials such as chalk or spray paint into the acrylic pieces I work on. So yes, for painting, I usually just stick to acrylics and charcoal as my go-to media on canvas.

Q: What are your top tips with regards to painting that you have discovered that could help other artists to create better or be more successful in the art field?
A: One of the most crucial pieces of advice I can offer when it comes to painting is to dedicate ample time to practice. Engaging in the art of painting as frequently as possible can truly foster the growth and development of your unique style and techniques, allowing your talent to flourish. Even if this translates to creating a miniature painting on a scrap piece of paper daily, the consistent dedication will surely yield visible improvement. Additionally, I encourage a spirit of experimentation and exploration with colours and blending techniques. By granting yourself the freedom to play and experiment, you can unlock the door to a multitude of possibilities.

Q: Who are your favorite artists and why?
A; My passion for the arts was heavily influenced by two of my favourite artists, Zanele Muholi and Lerato Motau. Zanele’s work resonates deeply with me as it creatively explores race, gender, and sexuality – topics that I am particularly interested in. I remember vividly the moment I discovered her art in my high school textbook; it was truly an eye-opening experience. Seeing a successful and talented artist who looks like me gave me the courage and motivation to pursue a career in the art industry. I genuinely believe that learning about Zanele has profoundly shaped me into the person and visual artist I am today. Similarly, I am captivated by Lerato Motau’s work, particularly her playful and vibrant pieces created using fibre materials. Her art serves as a constant reminder for me to remain open and explorative in my artistic journey, pushing the limits of my creativity by experimenting with dynamic materials and colours.

Thank you for joining us on this journey into the creative spirit and passion of Naledi Tshegofatso Modupi. Be sure to follow her artistic endeavors and witness the beauty she brings to the world through her artworks. Make sure to come and see an original artwork that Naledi created for us, using the Golden Acrylics sample gift bag we provided her after her ad shoot. This unique piece showcases her exceptional talent and creativity, a testament to her artistic vision and dedication and we are proud to have it in the entrance to our Cape town store.

If you would like to learn more about Naledi Modupi you can go to her website or follow her on Instagram

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