Johannesburg - Artist Lorenzo Plaatjies is a creative to watch. His recent collaboration with MRP for its Project Tees Collab collection, released last month, grabbed #Trending’s attention as it showcased his unique aesthetic.
Currently in the top 10 in the digital art category on Behance, Plaatjies explores themes of longing and sadness through his work.
“I started drawing mixtape covers for myself on my phone. They were terrible, but that’s when I realised that there’s a community of people who are doing some pretty cool work on their phones. Ever since then, I’ve been sketching in my free time, like whenever I’m alone and not studying,” he told Between 10 and 5 last year.
His illustrations are emotive and cloaked in softness, making it clear that he creates art for the pure purpose of expression.
“I can’t make happy art,” he told livemag.co.za during an interview – which is ironic considering that his subjects are all painted against a soft-pink background, a colour largely associated with lightness, happiness and love.
“The type of pink I use, the blush pink, is very soft and gentle. It has a feeling of being neutral, like close to white.”
The blush-pink background is his signature, an identifying characteristic of his artworks and a part of his visual code.
Plaatjies wants to develop an aesthetic that people can recognise as belonging to him, “the way people know a DJ Khaled beat, an Andy Warhol painting or a Basquiat painting”, he explains.
“I want to create an art movement for us. I want to interpret black beauty and the power of melanin. I want to do it because I genuinely feel like we are beautiful.”
(Photos: Supplied/City Press)
His soft aesthetics challenge toxic masculinity, as he paints black men crying against blush pink backgrounds. “It’s not weak, it’s beautiful. I appreciate that I can challenge norms and when I do this, it makes my peers feel like they can do the same.”
You can follow Lorenzo on Instagram here.