Liesoa in Johannesburg

Jonas Gerberding

March 2011

Jonas Gerberding aka liesoa, born 1980 in Hamburg, took his chance to come to South Africa and get a glimpse of what's going on in the art scene in Johannesburg. The painter is mainly influenced by Street Art, Comics, music and movies, as you can see in his pieces of art. "I'm painting on canvas and wood. Therefore I use spraypaints, stencils and acrylic markers."

There are different reasons why he choosed to come to South Africa. "Well, on the one hand to shorten the german winter and on the other hand to learn about  and get in touch with the south african art scene... and to paint, of course." There is no doubt for him, that it was worthwhile so far. "I've met many interesting artists, get inspired by their work and had the possibility to fulfill different projects."

So he had the opportunity to paint a wall in Melville, Johannesburg. The neighborhood is known for his lively art-, student- and gay scene. It took him 2 ˝ days to finish the app. 3 by 3 metres wall. "What I really liked, were the reactions of the people passing by. Cars stopped or hooted, gave me thumbs up, walkers came to me, discussed the painting and told me, they like it and can't wait to see it finish. I really enjoyed that. This kind of reaction is rarely seen in Hamburg."

Beside this painting he also worked with young people in Kliptown in Soweto, organizing the Graffiti-workshop "Make your mark", where the 10 to 16 years old youngsters from the Soweto Kliptown Youth (SKY) could learn how to use spraypaint and stencils on a wall. "I had a plan, what to do in this workshop. But in the minute they got a hand on the spraycans and the stencils – you couldn't stop them. As they were obviously having fun, I cancelled my plans and sticked on helping them and giving advices, while we were spraying the wall. Since they usually don't have any money to buy paint, they were happy to try it out."

The last couple of weeks he's got in South Africa, he hopes to collaborate with some of the interesting artists, he met so far and to empty a couple of more spaycans.... 
                                             Rayka Kobiella

read more about the Graffiti workshop "Make your mark" at the Soweto Kliptown Youth (SKY)