For our third collection, we reached out to Cape Town-based artist, Buhle Nkalashe to collaborate with us. Known for his large-scale portraits and abstract paintings, we asked Buhle to create a piece of art that embodies our theme entitled Be The Change. In this interview, we pick his brains on where he draws inspiration from, his creative process and his beliefs around wearable art.
How did the collaboration with FIELDS come about?
Founder of the brand, Mikael sent me an introductory email. He was interested in the work I had done.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
My work is influenced by young, African creatives in South Africa and focuses on how contemporary African culture has evolved over the years. Mikael's vision for this season themed, Be The Change, involves us looking internally to bring positivity to the world through areas of Art, Outdoor and Soul.
How does this collaboration differ from some of the others you've done?
This is my first collaborative project. It really opened my mind to other avenues of creativity and being able to express myself.
Take us through the process of creating this particular piece?
We drew inspiration from three previous pieces I had worked on and created one artwork to resonate with the theme of this collection. We selected a piece of mine titled 'Brewing', as it portrays a face with closed eyes, symbolising the confidence of a man as seen in the beauty and silence of peace.
How did you interpret the fundamental message of the collection Be The Change?
I translated this into the expression of a man on a mission, confident in himself but not boastful. I connected the moment of silence before going on stage and journeying into the unknown as a beautiful reference to a theme of Be The Change.
Is there a part of this process that you enjoyed in particular when working on this creative brief?
I was fascinated by the process of taking the artwork that I had created and translating it onto items of clothing.
What do you hope the wearer feels when putting your work on their body?
I want them to find their purpose and pursue it. I hope that the wearer of these garments will gain a sense of confidence, followed by a sense of fulfilment. Thereafter creating some sort of change in the world we live in.
The idea of fashion being "wearable art" has long been debated, what are your thoughts on it?
I've always believed fashion to be an extension of art itself. Today we have the freedom to place and express art on any surface we choose.
Your piece for FIELDS depicts a central figure that is focused while in thought, lingering on those special moments before leaping onto the stage to be a part of change. What did you hope to communicate with this work of art?
My initial idea or message of this piece was about knowing who you are. Taking more time to yourself in thoughts and discovering your hidden abilities and potential.
When investing in a piece of clothing, what is important to you?
Comfort and how it resonates with me and my purpose.