Muralist or street artist…

Do you fancy yourself as a muralist or street artist? A striking mural in your home could turn it from ordinary to extraordinary. Most murals are painted with oil-based or acrylic paint for durability especially outdoors. Use the power of the paint brush to give your home personality.

Did you know that it is a custom of the Ndebele’s to paint the exterior walls of houses with elaborate colours and patterns? The use of rectangles, triangles, chevrons, and diamond shapes all have important meaning about the life events in a household. Women traditionally do the painting of geometric shapes to signify a birth, death, or a wedding. These large wall paintings also denote things like combat and cultural ties and this tradition is passed down through generations from mothers to daughters.

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Esther Mahlangu

This month we celebrate Esther Mahlangu who is a well-known, self taught Ndebele artist (born in 1935). Using a chicken feather rather than a paintbrush, she applies thick black outlines and vivid colours. She creates her murals freehand without sketches or the use of a ruler. In the beginning she worked with natural pigments she made herself with cow dung but colours were limited to yellow, black and red. These days she uses acrylic paint, which has opened up an entirely new colour palette, “Acrylic paints have allowed me to use many more colours than I could have with natural pigments,” she notes. “What many find interesting about my artworks is that although they are based on traditional Ndebele designs, they are still very modern and current.”

In 1991 she was the first African and first female artist to paint a BMW Art Car

Read more about this proudly South African artist. Click here

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Graffiti – Is it Art or Vandalism?

Street art or graffiti is a type of art genre that dates back to ancient times, as evidenced by the Lascaux cave paintings in France and other historic findings across the world. The purpose of modern-day graffiti is visual communication that displays messages about current issues like environmental or political concerns. Graffiti culture is a sign of rebellion as you can anonymously make yourself seen and heard on a large canvas. Communications professor Tracey Bowen sees the act of creating graffiti as both a “celebration of existence” and “a declaration of resistance.”

Historically, the preferred art medium for graffiti artists was outdoor spray paint because it was quick, portable, and permanent. Recently though, there are a wider variety of materials available: marker pens, etching tools, stencils, oil-based chalk and wall paint. (An interesting fact is that spray paint back in the 1940s was originally used for a very practical purpose: coating radiators in aluminium paint.)

Interesting read: article by and Enlightening research from –

Street art was not initially differentiated from tagger vandalism (graffiti). Although outdoor murals are still often referred to as ‘graffiti’, the many serious artists favouring street art as their creative medium has resulted in a recognition of this form of expression as bona fide art. Although both are created in the public space, street art is sanctioned and graffiti illegal. Street art is often seen as improving and uplifting and the artists willingly sign their work, while graffiti artists remain anonymous and hide behind their tags .

We all know the Soweto towers – which were transformed into monumental works of street art. These are now a proud landmark and tourist attraction. Did you know, that every February since 2017, the IPAF ( International Public Art Festival) have invited up to 30 SA and international artists to Cape Town to produce works on the walls and doors of private homes, public spaces, schools, office blocks and factories. To see the artists from this year go to: and also see Timeslive article

Would you be daring enough to do a large bold mural in your home? If you are wanting to create a dramatic design feature then a wall mural is definitely for you.

10 SA street art murals – click here

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