Who is Ernest, where are you based and what do you do?
I am an artist by heart who loves all things “beautiful,” as in the eye of the beholder, surrealistic and gore. I live in Pretoria and Work as a Senior Digital Designer at an Interactive design Agency, in Sandton called Firewater Interactive. I work in the fields of Digital design, graphic design and illustration.
I have a mad passion for illustration and corporate branding which involves almost every field in the world of design and communication.
As a “digital creative”, I strive to create to the best of my ever evolving design abilities, a unique experience from visual appeal to actual interaction based upon the final platform to send across a desired tone and message.
I have a burning hunger to be one of the best in the industry and is always working on improving my skills, learning more skills and becoming better at digital media and illustration.
You call yourself a digital creative, what exactly is that?
Well “Creative” has evolved into a multitude of meaning for different disciplines and cannot really give one description of what it is to be a creative. For me creativity is a process where I as a designer strive to create something unique and original which adds value to society and solves a complicated problem or need.
A digital creative is someone that designs a unique user experience based on a vast realm of factors to solve a need or problem that involves human and computer interaction, for example websites and modern smart phone applications.
Where did you learn your craft?
Well firstly I was born with the artistic talent for drawing and have been drawing and rendering portraits and all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
I then studied Graphic Design and Illustration for 4 years at the Vaal University of Technology , which involved classes from design history and theory, to painting and photography. I then started working at a small design Studio in Johannesburg as a junior designer, then moved to a digital agency called Brandsh ( Now merged into Native with Cambrient and Stonewall) designing websites and social application and finally finding myself at Firewater Interactive as senior designer.
I also do a lot of work on freelance experimenting with new techniques and also started to teach myself front end development using WordPress as my content management system of choice. Working on personal project and illustrations is a great platform for me to learn new skills and evolve. I also try to get a lot of inspiration and learn from the best already in the field.
Tell us about the awesome rebel punk T-Shirt design?
Well I love t-shirt design as it takes illustration onto a wearable form of art. With process such as screen printing the possibilities are endless.
“Rebel Punk” is the first in a series of personal projects to discovering myself in illustration and t-shirt apparel. I want to be able to open my own t-shirt store in the future.
With rebel punk I wanted to create something close to my personality that is still fun and expressive but could be worn and connect with a large audience.
Tattoo culture had a big influence in this design as well. I am obsessed with tattoo culture as it is a form of expression and a means to make art live in the skin.
For me the symbolism in rebel culture is the skulls, leather jacket, the knuckleduster, the playing cards and dice representing the gamble of life. The skulls and roses symbolizes life and death and in the end all of these create a portrait of yourself.
To create this piece I made use of photographic references, from the felines face (My own cat, Phinx), human skulls, roses (redrawn on paper), cat skulls, chains, leather jackets etc. These entire references where illustrated in Adobe Illustrator with a lot of detail in every piece. Then the composition was scamped out on paper and transferred into digital.
What advice would you give to young South African creatives looking to do
what you do.?
Well you need to be passionate about your craft because passion drives you to become better. Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice the better and faster you become. Do what you love. Learn new skills and techniques. Improve on your current skills and techniques. Try to learn something at least once a day. Learn about trends, follow trends and use trends as guidelines. Get your personal mantra. Get inspiration and references in books and online. Follow industry leaders, look at what they are doing and ask them questions. Find tutorials online and actually do them. You learn a lot from tutorials. Do freelance and personal projects.
To get educated in the field of expertise you want to become great at is an ongoing process. Learn, develop and grow. Now start again.
Where can our readers find your work?
You can find my work at:
Deviant Art: http://griffongore.deviantart.com/
And follow me on
Or email me at graphanix[@]gmail.com if you would like some positive critique on a project or just advice.