Berjo Mouanga is a young illustrator/graphic designer currently based in the Czech Republic. I work in various fields, but he has a major love for illustration and drawing, which is the essence to all artistic disciplines. We had a quick chat with him
Please tell us about the project ‘AFRICAN & DIASPORA CINEMA’
African & Diaspora Cinema is the title of my bachelor’s project. This is the first theme that popped up in my head when I was searching for a subject for my diploma work. I have always loved and enjoyed motion picture in general, but at the same time, I have always felt like there is not much information about African and Diaspora filmmaking or filmmakers. Therefore, I wanted to touch on this subject and find out more about African and Diaspora filmmaking and movie advertisement (film posters).
As soon as my theme was approved by my school, I contacted Jepchumba, who is the founder of African Digital Art, and asked her if she would be my advisor for this project. She accepted and helped me a lot with the theoretical part. In this part, I lightly touched on history of filmmaking and film advertisement in four different countries (Congo, Nigeria, the US and Ghana).
The second part of this project was the creative part, where I created a series of posters printed on cloth. I wanted to do something natural and give these posters an African feel, which came out well, I think. I have also done T-shirts and wooden badges with the names of filmmakers mentioned in the theoretical part. The wooden badges can be worn as unconventional accessories.
Before I started to work on this project I was in New York, where I wanted to get as much information as I could about this project. I was lucky enough to have a great time with Gregory Jamal Mills, the CEO of the Museum of African American Cinema, John Van Means (an American visual artist) and other amazing people who helped me make this project happen. I also wanted to visit Spike Lee´s 40 Acres and Mules in Brooklyn, but that did not happen, unfortunately.
Since I have published this project online, I have been receiving a lot of positive feedback, which I really appreciate and I am thankful for. I was also blessed to exhibit this project twice in 2011 – first at the AFRICAN AND CARIBBEAN DESIGN DIASPORA FESTIVAL 2011, then at another exhibition titled I AM THENUBLACK AT ORIGINAL GALLERY. Both exhibitions took place in London, the UK.
Your illustration is stunning ,how would you define your style?
Thank you. I am challenging myself and constantly working on new projects, which can naturally open new possibilities. When I say new projects, I do not mean commercial projects by any means. I have done a lot of personal projects, where you can see my style changing and evolving. You can literally do whatever you like in this kind of projects because you have all the creative freedom, personally I like to pay homage to different figures, musicians or sneakers just because I like them. But as far as describing the I work with the most, I would say it is some kind of traditional illustration with a little bit of digital touch. I really enjoy doing detailed pencil drawing or just sketchy illustrations, it really depends on what I am working on.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on different stuff, though I cannot really talk about it. All I can say is that you can expect me to go outside of illustration and drawing. I am planning to work with other visual artists, filmmakers and photographers to create something that people might not expect from me. That is all I can say about it right now. I will tell you more with time, and you will be the first to know, when any of my future projects are done!
What can we expect from you in the future?
You can expect big things and long-term projects. I am trying to find a bridge between art and other stuff I like, so you can expect me doing unusual stuff, like I said before. Other than that, me and my crew Project 33 (myself, Jozef Ondrik and Luke Tomski) are working on our first exhibition. We are putting ideas together, looking for venues and all that stuff. You can definitely check us out on BEHANCE.NET, search for Project 33.
What advice would you give to young creatives looking to do what you do?
I don´t feel like I am in a position to give advice, because I still have a long way to go. Though I would tell anybody who wants to pursue a creative career to believe in himself, in his work. Study your craft, learn inside and outside of the educational system and do what you truly love. The most important thing is to find someone or a group of people who have a similar vision to yours. This helps in different ways and it makes you realise things you would never do on your own.
Where can the readers view more of your work?
I have some technical issues with my official website, so you can check out my work on http://behance.net/berjomouanga and
http://berjo.mouanga.tumblr.com check out my tumbler, if you want to see some of my sketches or concepts, it is also filled with inspiration and random stuff, like photography. You can also follow me on Instagram, I post a lot of photos there @berjo_mouanga).
@Berjo_Mouanga on Twitter
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