INTERVIEWED BY Palesa Kgasane IMAGES courtesy of Maxime Manga
Cameroonian graphic artist Maxime Manga’s striking artworks fuse colour, shapes and contrast to bring to life bold Afro-futuristic collages.
One can’t help but immediately be drawn in by Maxime Manga’s Instagram feed. Combining photography and typography, Maxime has developed a unique style, which the artist attributes to an encounter with the work of Magdiel Lopez.
Here, VISI learns more about Maxime’s role as a contemporary artist today.
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How would you describe your style?
I would say it is a mix of contemporary art and photography – it’s two mediums that I particularly like, so mixing the two is just wonderful.
What was the first encounter you had with art that made you realise you wanted to be an artist?
I would say I have always been a lover of art. I still remember that in kindergarten I was drawing all over the place in my notebooks and my mother thought it was great, but my teachers were not as impressed.
Who/what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to your style?
When I was starting out two years ago, it was definitely Magdiel Lopez, but since then I think my style has evolved and now there are lots of artists in different fields who inspire me and that changes everything. In photography, for example, I love what Joshua Kissi is doing and another person I recently discovered, Joseph Adamu. In graphics right now, I would say Karabo Poppy, Baugasm (Vasjen Katro) and African Ginger (Seth Pimental).
Your subjects are predominantly black, contrasted by bright colours. What made you decide to work this way?
I love it when things are striking, when they “stand out” – I love the differences, the spicy dishes, the bright colours. When I was starting, I used a lot of colours in my artworks, but I thought it went all over the place, so to offset that, I use contrast – it’s just awesome!
What is your favourite thing about the medium you work with?
Without a doubt, the freedom to create. Technically, I can create whatever I want – the only limit is my imagination, and that is amazing.
In what way does your home and where you come from affect what you create?
I live in Cameroon and it is a great cultural country with more than 200 dialects and as many tribes, influences, colours – the famous contrast is present. It is magical to live here. The artists here use traditional tools and techniques. I love anything related directly or indirectly to new technologies that allows me to differentiate myself, to test something else.
What do you feel the role of the artist is in 2020?
For me, the role of an artist is to open up the field of possibilities, to inspire even beyond the creation. Having the power to create, for me, is the best superpower. It is magical because it’s something that we all have within each of us.
See more of Maxime’s work on Instagram.