Why Karabo Poppy Moletsane is Mzansi's 'Next Big Thing'

The illustrator, graphic designer and street artist scored big at this year's SA Style awards

28 October 2018 - 00:00 By LEONIE WAGNER
Karabo Poppy Moletsane is working on a mural in Salt Lake City, Utah and will soon head to New York, where she'll be meeting with galleries to discuss prospects for her solo exhibition next year.
Karabo Poppy Moletsane is working on a mural in Salt Lake City, Utah and will soon head to New York, where she'll be meeting with galleries to discuss prospects for her solo exhibition next year.
Image: Google SA

For Karabo Poppy Moletsane, the writing's on the wall - from Soweto, to the US and on to the most recognisable brands.

The illustrator, graphic designer and street artist is the winner of the Next Big Thing award at this year's SA Style awards, crowning what she describes as an "unconventional career path".

The award ceremony will take place next month.

Moletsane is in the US working on a mural in Salt Lake City, Utah, commissioned by the Utah Jazz basketball team.

Next month the Vereeniging-born artist will head to New York, where she'll be meeting with galleries to discuss prospects for her solo exhibition next year.

Her first big break was working with Apple on its RED campaign. Her next break came when Bill Gates tweeted her illustrations.

Moletsane's next break came when Bill Gates tweeted her illustrations

One of her biggest challenges has been learning how to be an effective black female illustrator, graphic designer and street artist with her own business, in a space where there aren't many black female creatives.

Moletsane created a Google Doodle for International Women's Day this year and in 2017 was invited by the University of California to paint a mural in the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

She has also worked with Woolworths and Nike.

She designed the graphics on Soweto's popular cooling towers for Soweto Gold Superior Golden Lager and did the redesign for the Zoo Lake basketball court in Johannesburg. There's a mural in the Facebook Africa office and a wall in Soweto with her signature designs on them.

A screengrab of the Google Doodle Karabo Poppy Moletsane created to celebrate International Women's Day 2018.
A screengrab of the Google Doodle Karabo Poppy Moletsane created to celebrate International Women's Day 2018.
Image: Karabo Poppy Moletsane/Google

Actress Terry Pheto, one of the judges of the SA Style Awards, said Moletsane was doing amazing work and was "someone to be excited about".

"We're celebrating not just who looks good in pictures but those making big moves in their careers," Pheto added.

See more of Moletsane's work at  behance.net/Karabo_Poppy.

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