1.Who is Katlego Phatlane and what do you do?
Katlego Phatlane graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Visual Communication from Vega School of Design, Brand & Business in 2014-15 and is currently wielding his craft at Promise Agency as Head of Promise Luxe.
Katt specializes in typography, hand lettering, digital art, retouching, 3D & Illustration. Katt’s ability to create vibrant, intricate and hyper-realistic visuals have seen him represent South Africa at the Art Directors Club in New York as one of the brightest talents in Johannesburg and has had him featured across many online platforms like HowDesign, ADC Global, Little Black Book Online, From Up North, Abduzeedo and much more.
At the age of 25, his high standard of work was recognised in 2016 when the Loeries made him one of the youngest judges to ever judge the prestigious event. Katt’s talent has attracted international Clients like Adobe Studio, Oprah, UBS, Puma and Arsenal Football Club to name but a few. He has the most appreciated Behance Creative Portfolio of all time in Johannesburg and at this early stage of his career, it is only the beginning.
2.How would you define your style or art?
My style is ever changing as I always challenge myself on all fronts. I love to create hand-made work with typography and lettering at the core, but the same applies to my 3D work, introducing this same typographic direction into the digital space. One thing can be said about my style is the focus on attention to details but the words intricate and hyper-realism are the most common words used to describe my style.
3.What inspires your work?
All my work is inspired by the fictional steampunk genre as I love dramatising typography, adding gears and machinery to most of my work. It almost takes the shape of a static Rube Goldberg machine. A device that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion. Mostly this would be to illuminate some messaging in lights using some mechanical contraption. The idea is simple, but the execution is meant to make you look and discover more the more you look.
4.What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on an exciting project for Neon Cowboys, a brand which marries my style perfectly. I also practice my hand lettering on a daily basis, trying to sharpen my skills for some proactive ideas I have. Apart from that I’m also currently doing a lot of photographic work but more on the retouching side.
5.What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
Something somewhat overlooked within the college space is the focus on skills. Most students focus on ideation more than execution, which can work against you in the short term. I’ve always done it the other way around, worked on my ability to create the work more than thinking about the work. This method has paved the way to exciting opportunities for me, so my advice would be to never neglect the tools at your disposal, especially given the abundance of time when still in a learning environment.
6.What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Becoming one of the youngest Judges at the Leories this year was definitely very rewarding. I was on the Communication Design Panel and the experience is definitely one that has inspired me and will stay a cherished memory throughout my career.
7.Where can our readers follow your work?
I’m available on twitter & Instagram as @kattphatt where I post work on a regular basis, however, my body of work can be found on www.behance.net/kattphatt & on kattphatt.com