Artist r1’s edgy and graphic aesthetic energises urban landscapes
100% Design South Africa has always been at the forefront of promoting and uplifting talent across the spectrum of design disciplines. As a leader they’re also always driving ways to innovate and push creativity via collaboration or out of the box thinking. This year’s newness takes the form of a Featured Artist for the first time.
Celebrated street artist r1 is known for his large-scale public artworks in urban centres around the world. The Joburg-based visionary’s striking and vibrant style is most often showcased in and around a city’s built environment and he refers to his pieces as ‘urban interventions’ that generate dialogue and serve as a means of engagement with the general public.
r1 uses a combination of found materials and repurposed objects to create interactive art pieces that change the city’s streets. His work embraces a dynamic sense of geometry and the unexpected use of reclaimed wood, street signs, barrier tape and other unusual materials can be found adorning surfaces and objects ranging from walls and abandoned buildings to fences and street signs – the city is his canvas.
He honed his signature style on the streets of London and Brighton, first catching the attention of the public around 2011 and then, having left his mark on the UK landscape, returned to Johannesburg to pave a new pathway of opportunity.
Since his return to SA he has built up a repertoire of temporary works and third party-funded permanent projects such as Hidden Trophy, an installation made of reflective chevron street signs, a 20-metre piece on the façade of August House in Doornfontein, and Brothers in Benches – a series of mobile seats upcycled from used wooden pallets that was part of a residency programme in Maboneng.