Creating with closed eyes

When writing about artists and people whome I generally find inspiring, I like to focus on an aspect of what they do that sets them apart from the rest. With Thok0 Gumede, the 19-year old visual artist born and bred in Port Elizabeth, her creative process is unlike anyone else’s because she refers to it as a form of “meditation”.  She’s a young lady with big dreams and a quirky opinion on illustrating.

“I created the sketches to allow people to not only see themselves through my own interpretation of them, but to celebrate their features. I never try to make them into who they are not. there’s already a lot of pressure from the outside to look a certain way. Through the process of making the sketches, I get to appreciate the person for who they are and what they look like – hopefully, they see their own beauty, too. That’s the reason why I make them”

dsc_8579Thokozile Gumede photographed by Sibusiso Zamani and Kwesi Klu.

The technique she is uses is ink pen on paper, basically a classic way of “letting the ink spill”. What’s cool about the illustrations is how they portray the subject as a live animation, something quite beautiful.

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I take note of their features and think of ways to portray them. I ‘read’ their personalities from pictures. it’s weird but it works. One thing that I do is leave the eyes closed..  closing their eyes is a thing of leaving them in peace as whole individuals with their own universes – where I am only admiring from the outside.”


Thoko is the embodiment of the modern “earth child” in demeanor and belief and her mood board reflects the dynamic being she is.

“My mood board has the sun, the Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall CD and the types of indoor plants people have in their spaces for “aesthetics”.”


Creative Visual Expressionist.