Category Archives: Graphic Design

“Afri-Love is a feeling”: Lulu Kitololo Discusses Her Vision, Art and Life Unchained

Imagine all who are inspirited by Africa – all whose lives and hearts have been touched by the spirit of the continent – sharing their passion through collaboration, in the name of mutual empowerment. –Lulu Kitololo

Illustration by Lulu Kitololo

Lulu Kitololo is a self-defined “ideamonger,” using painting, graphic design, illustration, writing and workshops, to tell stories that honor the beauty in women, Africa, life and nature. Lulu is creator of the Afri-love blog, which explores the connections between creativity, self-love and growth for Africans and those inspired by the continent. The blog features commentary, interviews, resources and reviews on art and culture.

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Lulu moved to New York to earn a BFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute. After working there as an advertising Art Director, she moved to the UK to pursue a Master’s in African Studies at the University of London.

Can you tell us about Afri-love?

Afri-love is a feeling. I remember being this really opinionated, patriotic kid, before I even really knew anything … about anything! When I left Kenya to pursue higher education in the US, I gained an even greater interest in where I came from. I was constantly meeting Africans, from all over the continent, and I observed that, diverse as our homelands were, there was so much we had in common. Especially, a love for the lands that were so much a part of us, no matter where we happened to be.

Design by Lulu Kitololo


Last year, I finally gave a name to that strong feeling and created an online space to express it, to share it with others and to collect all the expressions of it that I could find. I like to think of the website as a community for creativity and passion for Africans and all those who identify with or have an affinity for the continent.

Essentially, it’s a blog where you can find African and African-inspired art, design, literature and more. One of my favorite aspects is the interviews. I’ve had the opportunity to profile some amazing people who are living their passions and who are inspired by and devoted to Africa.

The vision of love you describe on Afri-Love is beautiful.  You say:

Imagine Africans who love who they are, as they are, and so love each other and the environment that nurtures them. Confident and assertive, they are engaged in charting their growth and celebrating success as defined on their own terms.

Imagine all who are inspirited by Africa – all whose lives and hearts have been touched by the spirit of the continent – sharing their passion through collaboration, in the name of mutual empowerment.

What compelled you to write this as you did?

Continue reading

Advertisements

She Dreams in Digital: Interview with Artist and Creator of African Digital Art, Jepchumba

Given the lack of African representation in the digital media industry, Jepchumba, the creator of African Digital Art, thought it was important to showcase and connect various artists across Africa that are making their mark on visual culture. The quality of innovative, professional and thought-provoking works we see on African Digital Art is amazing. Jepchumba is a visual artist, herself, specializing in web design, digital art and audio and video production. She tells us why she started African Digital Art, how she keeps up with the trends and how you can get connected with the network of artists she represents.

"Attack of Jepchumba" by artist Jepchumba

How did you become interested in digital art?

My journey into digital art was a reluctant one. Since I could remember I was always interested in graphic art, I think I get it from my Mom, she is the creative one in my family. However, I never considered myself an artist mainly because I didn’t recognize that I had any talent in it. When I went to college for my undergrad, I majored in Criticial Social Thought and we were always required to write long long papers, I found that I always ended up doing some sort of creative project to express my ideas rather than just using words. I soon found out that I had successfully completed a large amount of digital projects from films, animations, web design projects, games and more. I recognized that I actually loved combining technology and art and pursuing digital art would only be a natural progression.

You’ve linked your appreciation for digital art with your love of Africa on African Digital Art. Can you tell us about the African Digital Art website? Why do you think it is so important to curate this space online and bring together African artists?

Continue reading

About The Editresses

In light of all the interviews that we have done, some folks were surprised that Kathryn and I had not shared more about ourselves. So, we finally decided to interview each other. Here, Kathryn and I discuss our backgrounds, current work, and of course, what living unchained means to us.

KATHRYN BUFORD

You are studying sociology. Why did this subject matter interest you?
Sociology, simply put, is the study of society and the local and global communities and forces that shape it. Also, as a social science, many sociologists conduct experiments and develop theories to better understand social issues. So, I think everyone is a sociologist really—everyone has tried to make sense of the world and how they fit in it and why.

I became interested in sociology because I had a strong understanding of social injustice and inequality at an early age. I thought sociology might help me understand the social processes and problems I was seeing better…I think it has.

You are studying sociology. Why did this subject matter interest you?

Professor Delores Aldrige

I have SOOOO many opinions about this. If there were and audio button that I could insert here, you would hear me screaming: YESSSSSS!!!! Many black female sociologists are concerned with issues of race, class, gender and sexuality.

They have been strong advocates of the feminist “personal as political” concept, which explains that the discrimination that individuals experience in private spaces cannot be separated from their public interactions. Black female sociologists were also important in popularizing the concept of intersectionality—the idea that our race, class and gender identities, for example, cannot be separated.

Two important women in this regard are professors Delores Aldrige and

Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins

Patricia Hill Collins. Let me say that what I admire about both of them is that they have acknowledged the black women who have come before them and are creating spaces for more black female voices. Delores Aldrige’s, Imagine a World: Pioneering Black Women Sociologists discusses the important contributions of black women to the field of sociology and academia, in general.

As for Patricia Hill Collins, I’ll try not to say too much about what she means to me because there simply aren’t enough words (maybe a million would get me halfway there…). Perhaps, her most recognized work is Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment —I read this book and it became a part of me. I am so grateful and honored to have her as an advisor. I see so much consistency between her words in Black Feminist Thought and how she approaches the discipline of sociology and interacts with her students—she doesn’t want to be idolized, she wants her work to stand for something and liberate minds. She makes me proud to be a part of this profession. (By the way, her nickname for me is “Miss Thing”).

Most importantly, both of these women have incorporated their knowledge into their activism; they have fought and risked a lot for their beliefs—they were truly unchained. I think many black women sociologists bring the field back to its roots as a discipline that aimed to not only make sense of society, but to better it. Sociologists in this camp include Harriet Martineau, W.E.B. DuBois (love him!) and Karl Marx who famously stated: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point, is to change it.”

What does living unchained mean to you?
Some women live in societies where it is dangerous, even deadly to speak honestly about the way they see and understand the world. So, for those of us who can share, why would we take our voices and talents for granted? Living unchained means living with an awareness of the world around us and knowing women’s voices in it matter—deserving respect and an audience.

Living unchained also means being true to yourself and not waiting for things to be perfect or having something that someone says you need to have to act or speak your truth. Anna Julia Cooper did not earn her PhD in sociology from the Sorbornne until she was 66. She had gone most of her life sharing her social analysis and critique without having a formal titled that said she was “qualified.” I think that many women are waiting or simply have chosen not to speak because someone discouraged us; we don’t think we’re good at it, we haven’t studied it, we don’t want to be misunderstood. So we kill our potential, we bury our creative voices. Living unchained means coming back to life and squeezing all of the juice out of it. I don’t think I’m there yet, but I’m know I’m getting closer with every blog post, every dance, every tear.

MIRIAM MOORE

What do you do when you’re not working on Live Unchained? Is there anything else you like to do creatively?
When I’m not working on Live Unchained I’m often working on other design projects either for clients or myself. Digital media is my primary tool for creating art, but I also enjoy taking out my camera or paints and pencils and working in those mediums as well. Sometimes I find that I can take elements of those creative experiments and bring them into my graphic design.

What made you interested in graphic design? What do you like about it?
As a teenager I took a graphic design class and was hooked. Back then I hardly knew what graphic design was, but I loved how it merged technology and creativity, and I wanted to learn more about it.

There are many things I like about graphic design. As a designer I love to help my clients realize a vision. Many of my clients need logos or marketing materials for businesses they started or projects they are a part of. It is great to create a sharp logo to show of their business or develop marketing materials that help to more clearly articulate their message.

As society and technology changes, so does graphic design. It is a communication tool that has the ability to bring across important messages when used responsibly. I like responsible and thoughtful graphic design because of its utility and beauty.

Do you have any advice for people interested in graphic design or creating digital media?

Graphic design can be beautiful and it can be seductive as well. It is important for designers to be responsible and conscious of what they produce and put out in the environment. Graphic design can be just as effective in selling cigarettes as it can be in selling the idea of quitting. Make sure you take the opportunities when they arise to create something meaningful.

Can you share some examples of your work?
Sure, I’d Love to! In addition to the pieces seen below, my design work can also be viewed at: www.miriammooredesign.com.

Also, I just started a blog: www.miriammoore.wordpress.com, where I will show work that is not on my website. It is sparse now, as it is just getting started, but stay tuned! I would love to receive feedback from the live unchained family.

BOOK JACKET RE-DESIGN- I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS: In this jacket re-design I experimented with using type as image to create the birdcage imagery, and included paint elements in the piece as well.

PEZ WALL GRAPHIC- PROJECT FOR EBAY CAMPUS: Ebay wanted a fun wall graphic for their toy themed building. To create this wall graphic each PEZ dispenser had to be shot individually with a high resolution camera and photoshopped to fit seemlessly into the auditorium image. This image shows the final wall graphic.

ROCK TIMELINE - PROJECT FOR EBAY CAMPUS: To maintain a varied and fun environment for their employees, E-Bay has several buildings on their campus each with a different theme. This poster was a large wall poster for the music building on that campus.

JAZZ TIMELINE - POSTER FOR EBAY CAMPUS To maintain a varied and fun environment for their employees, E-Bay has several buildings on their campus each with a different theme. This poster was a large wall poster for the music building on that campus.

What does living unchained mean to you?
Living unchained is allowing yourself to create and speak your truth honestly and freely.

mZansi Life

“That is not how we do it in South Africa!” Laverne Wyatt-Skriubakken proudly explained to the audience at a fashion and music party in Oslo, Norway. Instead of striking stiff stone-faced poses, the models at this event danced down the runway smiling and laughing. Their attitudes complemented the bright and bold patterns they wore-it is all part of what Laverne, founder and Art Director, calls the mZansi Life. mZansi comes from “e zantsi” which, is slang for South Africa. mZansi Life includes events planning, fashion sales and graphic design. Laverne, who is originally from Durban, South Africa explains that “mZansi Life represents my personal philosophy and that is to enjoy the ‘Southern Life’. This is a life of sunshine, creativity, optimism, color and design. My goal is to bring these ideals from South Africa to Norway.”

Banner from mZansi Life blog at http://www.mzansilife.wordpress.com

It was a pleasure learning from someone with such a happy and energetic creative spirit. In this interview Laverne explains her artistic style, why she “love migrated” to Norway and brought the sun with her and gives advice to graphic designers who are interested in working for themselves. She also mentions that she is open to collaborations for future projects so we encourage all the budding designers and fashionistas to keep in touch.

You are originally from South Africa and currently living in Oslo, Norway.  What made you want to travel?  Why Norway?

Continue reading