Interview with South African Digital Artist Lethabo Huma

Interview with South African Digital Artist Lethabo Huma

 Let us begin by getting to know you Lethabo, can you please tell us more about yourself, where are you from and how did you begin your journey into art.

I was born and raised in Pretoria , South Africa. I am currently pursuing a degree I. visual multimedia at The University of South Africa . 

Growing up, I’ve always loved creating. It began as a hobby but turned it into a professional career after I attended my first exhibition. I’ve been a professional artist for 5 years , the first two years were focused on traditional art until I came across digital art in the 3rd year(2018) of my career. I watched digital art tutorials on YouTube and started creating digital art on my phone. As I got better at it I saved up for a second hand iPad and used more powerful software to create , the name of this software is Proceate. I’ve been using procreate to create ever since. 

Does your art represent something about you, does it represent a message about the world, does it focus on history or look to the future?

My work represents my thoughts and emotions. It is a visual diary of my mental and emotional responses to the world so depending on the message it can represent a message about the world, history or the future. 

Lethabo, Can you tell us about the process of making your work? We want to know a little about the significance and scope of your work. How do you make your work? Are there particular tools/materials/software/technology that you use? Is there a connection between your process and your artwork’s message?

I use a software called procreate to draw. 

I do not have a set process however I have 2 different processes that I usually follow. 

When I already have a general idea of the piece , the next step is to find references and/or inspiration that will work with the idea I have. Sometimes I stumble on an image that trigger an idea or concept I have been thinking of for a while and then I mainly work with that and other references.

  1. I usually begin with a very rough sketch on paper and then I refine it on procreate. Once I am satisfied with the general look I add in final details and indicate main shadows and highlights.

2. The brushes I use change from time to time but here’s a list: 
Sketching : Dynamic Sketching from Igson Art’s brush pack 
Flat colors : Round Brush 
Texture : Nikko Rull (from procreate) or impasto brush (from Marco Bucci set) 
Detail: Technical pen ( from procreate) or Dynamic Sketching from Igson Art’s brush pack 

3. General process: sketch > flat colours > texture and more detail > small details 

The connection between my process and message is my colour choices. The colours I use depends mood of the emotion or idea I want to express.  

What is African art? How would you describe “african art”? What does African art mean to you? Do you think African art is important? Do you think that Africa is reflected in your work? If/so how? why not?

African art to me simply means work created by Africans or work that reflects an aspect of africa.  African art is important because all of us Africans deserve to express ourselves the way we see fit.  Africa is reflected in my work because my work is largely a reflection of my experiences as an African woman. 

 Do you think art should be used to express beauty or the ugly and painful reality of life?

Yes, I think art should express anything and everything about life. I believe that art has a way of expressing an idea on a much deeper level than just speaking about it. 

 Why do you create art? is it for money? for fame? to fulfill an inner calling? change the world? does your art contribute to your society? should it?

I create art for these two reasons:

  • To communicate with the world about my feelings and thoughts
  • To survive off my work financially 

Why don’t you create more art? is it because of money, lack of recognition, lack of resources, time?

My biggest enemy right now is time.

 If you had all the time in the world and unlitmited financial means, would it change the artwork you are working on today? would you create something different?

I wouldn’t change it but there would be more art  ,  I would explore a wide range of creating like dancing , pottery , sculpting etc.

Where do you find inspiration? Can you share some of your favorite artists and why they have had a meaningful impact in your work?

Anything and Everything. What I mean by that is I am inspired by life , my work is a mirror of my mental and emotional responses to life experiences( mine or others). 

Some favourite artists that had a meaningful impact on my art style are

  • Alexis Franklin 
  • Alexis Eke
  • Lesathii

Lastly, Where is your favorite place to work? Please share a photo.

I work on my bed or desk. 

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