The Spray Guy
Mars has graced the South African public art scene for more than a decade, and has become one of Johannesburg’s most iconic street art artists. His very distinctive and recognisable works are flaunted all over the city center from the sides of cosmopolitan buildings to alleyways, bridges and train carriages.
It all started like most modern day “bad ideas” with the over persuasive influence of television. Mars and his friends saw some cool kids with skateboards, cigarettes and spray cans on a very popular television show- and as they say, the rest was history.
He started out as yet another rebellious little teenager in an abandoned church next to his house. Drawing all sorts of “bad” things like curse words, penises and aliens. One day after drawing an alien he figured that “graffiti” needed a word next to it, so he asked his friend for any ideas and his friend suggested “mars or some planet” and from that day, “Mars” it was.
At this point, he says, spray painting has evolved into every aspect of his life. His career as a graphic designer, his tattoos, attending design school and his appearance, all a product of the influence spray painting had on his life. “I guess my entire life revolves around an aerosol can. Spray painting is kind of my passion, it’s my job, it’s my hobby, it’s my everything.”
In February, 2017 BAZ-ART was afforded the opportunity to work alongside Mars for the International Public Art Festival (IPAF). His piece was about seedlings and growth. It was intended to initiate growth pertaining to “street art” in South Africa. One of Mars’ missions is to help “street art” get the recognition it deserves as yet another worthy style of art and expression.
“Heritage” [Painted this piece for Heritage day, 24 September 2017. Medium: Spray Paint, Acrylic and Shweshwe material]