Lucas Namuramba Interview
by Matthew J ( @IamJamesMatthew )
Tell me a bit about your background. Who is Lucas Namuramba? Tell us where you are from, what you do, and any other piece of info that you feel is a good intro.
I’m a born and trained multidisciplinary visual communicator who Speaks, Thinks and Prays in Pictures born in Johannesburg and raised in Olievenhoutbosch, Pretoria. I love the craft and the possibilities it gives to one when it comes to shaping perspectives of how we view ourselves and the world around us. You can get me on my Behance Portfolio: behance.net/lucasnamuramba and Facebook Page: facebook.com/LucasNamuramba
Who (or what) would you say inspired you to pursuit a career in graphic design? Was there a particular person or event that sparked your interest in design?
My passion for graphic design began when my brother introduced me to the world of advertising. He would collect magazines and books on the subject and I would go through them and then I found my niche, which was being a graphic designer. By then I couldn’t even draw a stick figure but one of homies then in primary school was sick in drawing, so I went through his drawing wondering if I could do some for myself. After school I would to go to ta local library in my hood to read design art books and apply some the techniques when sketching my stuff. Then I was in the 9th grade process we went to some career guidance exhibition then I met some guys who were from a design school and I was asking mad questions about the craft to a point where they gave me cool posters which I treasured with my life. From there I got exposed to Flyer, Poster and Album Art to a point where I was just a collector of sick CD cover, flyers and posters.
By then I knew studying design was expensive but I just told myself I was going to study even though my mother had no funds for it and kept on believing that I will go to one of the best schools in the country for the craft. I think by having that mentality I ended up attracting the relevant people in my life as one of my homies Archie came to my school and told me that he did an internship from The Imagination Lab which is an initiative by Vega School to give young people from disadvantaged communities a chance in the creative sphere. I got the opportunity to be part of the internship, which led me to get a full scholarship with Vega School in a BA Degree Specializing Visual Communications and I must say it was an experience being at the school. I got exposed to different cultures and some dope lecturers who molded me, and helped me find my own style as a designer. My perspective on my surroundings got challenged and I also expanded my viewpoint as a designer and person.
Who are some artists or collectives in South Africa, that feels people should be paying attention to?
I believe designers and illustrators like Anthony Dart “Ontwerp”, Louis Minnaar, JAY GORDON, Sindiso Nyoni, Am I Collective, Gert Schoema, Graeme Gauld, Daniel Ting Chong and many more the list is just endless on the amount of talent South Africa possesses. I believe a lot these guys are cutting their teeth when it comes to the craft in South Africa and they are already up there with the world’s best.
What does graphic design and art (in itself) mean to you?
Visual Communications (Graphic Design, Photography, Digital Art, and Illustration, Apparel Design) to me is craft in which I’ve been the best at in my entire life and I have been able to voice my opinions, my fears, joys and never be stale as I’m learning every day to be better and great in doing what I love.
Do you have any big events or shows planned for the New Year? If so, what is in the works?
This year my main focus is to take my work to the streets. I have been working with three of my homies to establish a high street fashion line and a boutique design studio called Currency He+st which is four self-starters coming together and forming a brand which represents what they stand from their ambitions and most importantly to make their dreams a reality. This has been a blissful journey as we’ve been able to create something tangible for our community and a learning curve for us as creative individuals from design, production, manufacturing our products. God willing get to collaborate with musicians and other designers in design related projects.
South Africa seems to have a booming art scene – music, film, writers, graffiti, etc. In your opinion, what fuels that “boom of art” and how does the art scene differ from other countries?
I can say since we’ve been able to access the Internet easier via our computers and smart phones in the past six years things dramatically transformed in the creative industry in South Africa. We’ve been able to access anything creative at a fast pace and with emergence of blogs and local creative websites which give South African people a creative platform to curate their unique creative voices and this has led to do domino effect of creativity sprouting across the country.
What’s a typical day in the life of Lucas Namuramba all about? Apart from working on design, what are you normally up to each day?
Ok where do I start! I wake up do the basics which are getting down on the floor doing body weight exercises, shower, breakfast, greet the family in the house and head to work while browsing the internet and seeing what peeps are up to in social networks and maybe add my sense. Get to work go through my to-do list go through my e-mails, check out design trends on the Internet and cut my teeth in my work. Get home work on personal and freelance which have 100% reign when it comes to my creative expression, but when the is no work I indulge my brain looking at inspirational videos and read books and go to dream land!
List five of your favorite websites?
African Digital Art: www.africandigitalart.com – For everything creative in Africa or African influenced.
Complex Magazine: www.complex.com – For everything cool and the latest trends hitting subcultures globally.
2dopeboyz: www.2dopeboyz.com – For everything Hip Hop music related and for discovering new talent which I can bump in my iPod and share with friends.
Tumblr: www.tumblr.com – For looking at dope pictures of sports cars, mansions, clothes, sneakers and of course, Kanye West.
Kanye West? Really? What is it about him that warrants so such ’search time’ online?
(For the record: I’m a huge Kanye fan, myself. I’m just curious to know why he registers with you)
Answer: I would say Mr Westis one creative person who defied the conventional path of creativity as he’s been able to defy the status quo of hip hop and pop culture must be done in general by creating his own template on how things must be done in music, design and fashion. He’s been able to confess his vices and shortcomings in music like nobody else and that on its own can be seen on how he’s influenced a whole generation by telling the human truth through his creative outlets. I would say he’s one influential Renaissance Man of our time.
Let’s get back to business. I’m interested to hearing more about Currency He+st. Are there any particular projects you care to discuss, at this moment, or is too early to speak on them?
Currently we’ve released the 2013 Hustle Collection which is being received well by the our first time customers and we’ve created crafted garment pieces which are inspired by the term “Hustle” for viewing you can visit the Currency He+st Facebook Fan Page for more info on the collection.
Obviously, Currency He+st is a creative outlet, but what is your ultimate goal/ultimate vision for the venture? What do you hope to accomplish (big picture)?
For me, personally, I use Currency He+st as my way of pushing and challenging myself as a visual artist because I’m not limited by a brief or client when crafting each design piece for the brand and I get to explore other disciplines when working on the pieces. I get explore art, tattoo art, photography, graphic design, fashion and more. In terms of long term I want to turn into a creative boutique which will deal with various outlets of creativity such as fashion, graphic design, art, music, photography and be able to create work which will reflect my truth and drive in this world.
As get ready to go, do you have any shouts-out you’d like to share? Is there anybody whom you’d like to acknowledge or thank?
I would like to say Mom, Big bro and Lil sis thank you guys for supporting me and being my pillars of strength and support. You guys rule!
Currency He+st Goons: Wilson “Prime” Mamabolo and Katlego Mogale , Kagisho Mothibi from Beyond Control PR, Akani Malobola and Obakeng Sathekge from Empire Royale, Brian Lelope and Thabo Kekana from Media and LTB Entertainment. Gents let’s Keep the “Master Mind” growing and fruitful.