BLACK SNOW | MODJADJI | 2016
This is one of the most challenging paintings I have ever done. I met Inferno Williams while we were both working at an animation company a few years back, he introduced me to his and Revivolution’s music and it was fantastic, we spoke about having a collaboration a couple of times and when the opportunity came in the form of cover art for a song of his, Modjadji was the result.
I had sent a few ideas to him but they weren’t what he was looking for, he wanted something more “trippy”. The name of the song in question was Madiba, which can translate into money, a popular phrase in hip hop culture is “Make it rain”, and who can make it rain harder than the African Queen Modjadji? And that was the foundation for the rough sketch. But how do you translate that into an illustration?
I remember watching an episode of Naruto and a character named Konan, could disintegrate into paper planes, the concept of her abilities was so creative, the way she would peel apart ,the way the paper was layered and animated. I used that as a reference and had paper/ money flowing into a face, which I later extended into a bust with two hands, this was still the early sketching phase. I wanted to include a seamless African aesthetic into the design, So I included loose beadwork designs from various African cultures, but kept it very minimal, then I designed the hair to look more like a crown.
The painting process was extremely challenging, I had no direction in terms of the vision I was going for. While I was sketching I thought I would use traditional colours like I had done for my previous paintings because that’s what I was comfortable with, and it just didn’t come together so I just risked it and started picking colours from actual bank notes. The purple from a R100 bill, the orange from R20 bill and green from a R10 etc, the application was muddy at first but it all came together. After a few revisions and clean ups it was ready, Inferno loved it and the rest was history. You can view my painting process in the Hyperlapse tab.
listen to the song on Infernos Sound Cloud
Inferno williams ft James Caviar: Madiba