Design Indaba Emerging Creative: Rofhiwa Mudau

INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES courtesy of Rofhiwa Mudau

After spotting Johannesburg-based visual artist, graphic designer and illustrator Rofhiwa Mudau’s work at this year’s Design Indaba Festival, where it was showcased as part of the Emerging Creatives programme, we decided to catch up with him to chat about creativity, colours and career-defining moments.

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When did you first realise you wanted to get into visual art?

I think after working as a graphic designer and a layout artist, I realised that I was more into visual art than just graphic design as a medium itself alone. With visual art you can work in different mediums to achieve different executions for a product or a brand.

What do you love most about being creative?

The ability to work in different spaces, from solving a problem or ideating a storyboard for a children’s book to directing a music video with an animator. It’s always great to work as a creative because creativity always finds a way to work around any product or problem.

How would you describe your style?

A way to see pixels or shape that represent brushstrokes in different colours. I always try to mosaic the portraits or any object I am working on to look like the reference I am illustrating. At the end, I must also show the concept of the illustration. My work is made up of geometric shapes with different colours, forming one illustration that represents an idea or artistic statement.

Your work is known for its bold use of colour. What is it about colours that inspires you?

I think colours have a way of representing a mood or time. Colour can also communicate an idea – I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about colours. If I use more green, I can represent nature and I can use red to represent love. It’s easy to work with colours because they complement each other all the time. If you use a lot of colour in one illustration, it creates a beautiful work of art.

What has been a career defining moment for you so far?

I think being chosen as a Design Indaba Emerging Creative and having the opportunity to exhibit my work and be recognised as a unique South African illustrator and visual artist. Being part of the showcase and meeting other creatives in the industry was a great experience.

Also, working on the Castle Light illustration (using what the brand already had) and turning it into a mural. It was wonderful seeing the idea being executed by different illustrators in different townships.

Castle Light Mural

What are your plans for 2019?

I will be working on the last 3D Edition Game Changers series that will contain six 2D artworks and five 3D artworks. The first concept is about albinism and the title is (your Avatar). This project will include collaborations with animators, writers and photographers.

rofhiwa mudau

3D Edition Game Changers

Rofhiwa will also be working with artists to come up with innovative ways to combine technology and craft so that more hand-crafted products can be created. To see more of his work, visit or follow @rofhiwa_kholomo_mdau.