Jozi-Deep had the privilege of speaking with one of Jozi’s most talented local artists whose been blessing our streets with his creations for years now, Mr Dbongz Mahlathi and here’s what we got to talking about:
1.With such personnel unique portraits and illustrations of characters where do you find inspiration for your creations?

My creations are inspired by my background and  the volatility of the journey I’ve walked. The years of pursuit, and trials and errors, the lil breakthroughs. The characters I paint typically portray a sense of hope over doubt, strength over fear, assurance over anxiety. They are saying that yes, life’s seasons will never be the same, so when it starts freezing, accept it and know that there is a lesson in every cold moment. A hard test to see if you’ll endure those cold master classes till the sun comes out.


2. Having collaborated with some of incredible artists, who would you say you enjoyed working with the most? and why?

I enjoy collaborations. I’ve gotten a chance to work with amazingly talented artists. I enjoyed working with Senzart911 cos he has a bold,distinct style and a crazy humor and outspoken, he challenged my comfort zone and as an artist I cherished that cos it progressed me. Recently got a chance to work on a wall curated by Mzok(Ozmic Menoe) and I collabed with the MHC crew’s Riot and Drake, that was also amazing cos they got epic styles and they also paint insanely quick, the energy was on point.

– I also collabed with my good friend Jakes on the pillar for The Back to the City Hip Hop Festival which is always a lit experience.
3.With portraits, commissions and art collaborations all over the city, What were some of your most memorable projects you’ve worked on?

I’ve done a number of great commissions and corporate collabs. Some that really stand out for me would be doing the pre-events for Global Citizen and painting live at the Belgium Embassy. The collab with Miller Genuine Draft was epic cos the timeline was so tight and the feedback outstanding. Painting at Afropunk for Yfm was lit. Early this year I was invited to paint at the International Public Art Festival (IPAF) that took place in CPT among a top class international lineup, that’s a memorable one!


4.After winning Best Graffiti artist at the South African Hip-Hop awards, how did that achievement effect your career?

The result of winning the SAHHAward has been amazing for my career. It was really a great boost for me. It got me a lot of attention, jobs and commissions and real, credible exposure which means the world for an artist on the come-up like myself. I also managed to get a spot on the list of 25 Graffiti/Street Artists to look out for in South Africa.


5.How has Jozi defined your style as an artist in any way?

Joburg is the mecca for graffiti in Africa. The freedom artists have here to express themselves is an inspiration on its own. Jozi has broken the shell I was in, I’ve opened up to everything happening around me and that has opened my imagination to a world of eternal possibilities. My style grows on a daily because of being surrounded by this here reality. 


6.What’s next for Dbongz?

There’s quite a bit of projects that I’m working on currently, personally I’m excited about doing a series of murals in Mohlakeng which is a township in the west of Joburg, where I’m from. Were formerly being a full time creative/artist was somewhat of a taboo in the society, so it’ll be great to give the current and next generation of kids courage that their gifts are not unrealistic. I’m also looking forward to the TGRC finals for the Graffiti for Glass competition, the lineup is crazy. As for the other stuff that I’m working on just lookout for them on my social media accounts, mostly on Insta @dbongz_one.

We would like to thank Dbongz for giving us the opportunity to share his story and get to know more about his artistic journey in Jozi our city, To see more of his work follow any of the links below:

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About the Author Jozi-Deep

A platform where expression, creativity and passion is king !!

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