Faith XLVII x Erin Yoshi: Unbound by Formality
Today, guest host Erin Yoshi speaks with South African multidisciplinary artist, Faith XLVII. Faith’s journey into art began on the streets of South Africa in 1997 as a young graffiti writer.
“I didn’t go to art school. I didn’t get that formal art training, which has been both a good thing and also a bad thing. I wish I could speak a little bit more within that formal art language but, at the same time, it has allowed me to be quite free in my explorations.” — @_faith47 [0:06:19]
In 2006, she began on a nomadic journey that led her to create work in 42 countries. Her evolution from street artist to multidisciplinary artist has created a fluid yet solid bridge into the contemporary art world, and her explorative approach has led her to develop a broad range of artwork, ranging from immersive new media installations and hand-sewn wall tapestries to sculptural bronze works investigating hierarchies of power, as well as paintings and various explorations into printmaking.
“I got to a point where I got my letters down, I had my own style, but I was always more into the character side of things. I found [graffiti] a bit claustrophobic – a lot of rules. I evolved from that, although I still appreciate it and it’s part of my history and my journey. I didn’t go to art school, so I didn’t get that formal art training, which has been both a good thing and also a bad thing. I wish I could speak a little bit more within that formal art language but, at the same time, it has allowed me to be quite free in my explorations; unhinged and unbound by some of the formalities and thought structure you learn in some of those schools.” — Faith XLVII [0:05:56]
The thread of Faith's practice can be traced from abandoned structures and landmark 20-story buildings to museums, galleries, and intimate site-specific installations. In this episode, she reflects on the freedom that not going to art school afforded her and how she has gone on to create art unbound by formality. We also touch on the intersection between art and experience and how she drew inspiration from the internet, and Faith shares how she prioritizes her wellbeing by saying no, how she adopted a scrappy, DIY ethos in advancing her own career, and the universal language that she believes is present in her work.
“It feels amazing when you’ve achieved a really big mural but I’m interested in doing series of works that have a relationship to the magic of walking past something in a small corner of a city or abandoned spaces. That kind of thing excites me more.” — @_faith47 [0:36:43]
You’ll also learn more about the evolution of her career and practice, from graffiti to gallery shows, and the thought process behind some of her most famous murals. All this and so much more in today’s conversation with Faith XLVII!
Key Points From This Faith XVLII Episode:
- Faith walks us through her initial explorations in art-making, starting with graffiti.
- Some of her earliest memories of creating art and the positive influence of Steiner schooling.
- The freedom that not going to art school afforded Faith; creating art unbound by formality.
- How art and experience are connected in her practice.
- Early projects that were transformative for Faith, including ‘The Freedom Charter’ series.
- Ways in which her work responds to antisocial city planning in South Africa.
- Faith reflects on her shift from graffiti to global public art and how the internet inspired her.
- Reeducating the people that follow her work on the evolution of her practice as a commercial artist; how Faith has allowed for reinvention.
- Learn about some of her immersive new media installations and performance pieces.
- Intentionally choosing which projects to engage in by prioritizing her own wellbeing.
- The power and privilege of saying ‘no’ and claiming time to be still, incubate, and meditate.
- Faith shares some of her interests, including ceremony, dream interpretation, and Jungian psychology, as well as deep ecology.
- Hear about Faith’s DIY, self-motivated ethos in advancing her own career.
- What success looks like for Faith now and what she is aspiring toward.
- What it was like being a mother and a working artist and where Faith draws inspiration from.
- Some of her favorite artists, including Blu, Axel Void, and Sebastián Velasco.
- How Faith’s large-scale murals inform her paintings, installation work, and sculptures.
- The universal language of art that she uses to communicate her ideas and emotions.
- Discover the thought process behind ‘Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto’ on Skid Row, LA.
- Faith shares her very simple advice for young artists: read books!
- Coming up as a woman artist in a male-populated industry and how Faith seeks to reclaim female power and intuition through her work.
- The importance of seeking out mentors and taking on mentees as established artists.
“The creative realm has this space in society that can help transform and bring in new ideas and inspiration and remind us that life is magical and that there is mystery and that not everything has to be defined or calculated.” — @_faith47 [0:41:22]
“I would like my art to have an actual impact on people.” — @_faith47 [0:10:46]
“I see art as a form of healing for humanity. Creativity in general is something that gives us, as a society, a depth. It makes things a bit less transactional.” — @_faith47 [0:25:26]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
- Faith XLVII — https://faith47.com/
- Faith XLVII on Twitter — https://twitter.com/_faith47
- Faith XLVII on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/faith47/
- ‘The Freedom Charter’ Series — https://faith47.com/the-freedom-charter-street-art/
- ‘A Study of Warwick Triangle at Rush Hour’ — https://faith47.com/a-study-of-warwick-triangle-at-rush-hour/
- ‘Astronomia Nova’ — https://faith47.com/astronomia-nova-2/
- CHANT — https://faith47.com/chant-cape-town-south-africa-2021/
- ‘Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto’ — https://faith47.com/salus-populi-suprema-lex-esto-skid-row-los-angeles-2018/
- Hilma af Klint — https://www.hilmaafklint.se/en/
- Blu — https://www.instagram.com/bluwalls/
- Axel Void — http://axelvoid.com/
- Sebastián Velasco — https://www.sebasvelasco.com/
- SpY — http://spy-urbanart.com/work/
- Not Real Art — https://www.notrealart.com/
- Scott “Sourdough” Power — https://www.notarealartist.com/
“I like this idea of art being able to open people’s hearts or open the way they think or the way that they see things. That has happened to me so many times with music and theatre. I really think the creative realm has this space in society that can help transform and bring in new ideas and inspiration and remind us that life is magical and that there is mystery and that not everything has to be defined or calculated.” — Faith XLVII [0:41:08]