With a career spanning over a decade, Fhatuwani has solidified his presence in the creative space.
His career began when he and his twin brother Justice Mukheli founded I See A Different You, alongside childhood friend and business partner, Vuyo Mpantsha and former mentor turned close associate, advertising–giant, Neo Mashigo. The collective uses the platform to open up the creative playing field using their talents to enhance storytelling in a mind-blowing way and they have also influenced menswear and culture in South Africa. Best known for his illustrative portraitures, he now sells his works to local and international markets and continues to revolutionise the South African creative space.
Fhatuwani has collaborated with the world’s biggest brands in his impactful career which spans over a decade. He has inspired emerging talent with his signature Afro-modern aesthetic.
Recently, he partnered with the most awarded cognac, Courvoisier to create a space where he gets to appreciate the joys of life through art. He has also added the title of restauranteur to his impressive resume. Launched in the thick of lockdown, Even After All is located at the iconic 44 on Stanley Avenue.
Here, the multi-hyphenate visionary opens up in his own words about his career, mental health, and fitness which includes boxing, running and cycling, and partnership with Courvoisier, his family and friends.
The love I have for art first ignited as a young kid in Soweto when I saw my father painting a portrait of myself and my twin brother. My childhood was filled with memories of art that my parents used to make which they considered just mundane tasks, and to me, those artworks were artistic masterpieces.
I approach my work as a way of telling stories of what I relate to mainly from my childhood, at the moment I am invested in what I’ve always aspired to be as a child. For example doing gymnastics, running or drawing, and my relationship with my family. My work is just a reflection of the stories and I try to relay that in my work. Honestly, I am grateful for life and being able to do things that I love is always my biggest achievement.
Partnership with Courvoisier
It was an honour to be approached and considered as one of the artists they would like to partner with. The partnership was organic, you know most brands come in and make you do things that are not naturally you. With Courvoisier the partnership came from a place of mutual respect and their intent was just to provide me with a supportive structure and platform that will assist me with whatever project/s I am working on or involved in during the duration of our collaboration.
I started painting, again, I think during lockdown when we were on level 5. At first, it was boredom, and frustration because I couldn’t do anything, I See A Different You was on pause because we couldn’t produce anything.
Surrounded by all these nice things around me, there was a feeling of unhappiness inside me, and that is when I started having an intervention and asked myself “Fhatuwani, what makes you happy?” and the response was painting.
I started painting again during level 5 of the lockdown and that felt therapeutic for me. I felt like I was reconnecting with my younger self again and that brought a sense of joy that you can’t buy. The more I did it, the better I felt about myself and the mindset I was in. It was such a therapeutic process for me that when I’m painting, I want that same energy I feel to translate into the work I’m working on. And whoever buys that piece of painting can get that energy transferred to them.
I have also been very open to listening to my body and made a solid plan at the beginning of the year to invest in my body and that includes drinking lots of water, self-care dates with myself, going to my boxing classes, cycling and gym. Life has a lot of pressures but the things that I have mentioned have contributed to me bettering and taking care of myself mentally. I love hosting and having family and friends over and enjoying a good drink and in the same way, I enjoy those things, I need to love taking care of my body because it’s a temple and it needs to be well-taken care of. Overall, staying active has been a huge contributor to my well-being.
I have developed a fitness regimen that includes boxing, running and cycling. Saturday mornings I go to the Westcliff stairs to work out and loosen up my tense muscles.
My dad speaks about boxing quite a lot and I started boxing with my previous trainer, I felt that it can be hard but the benefit is that it gets you fit in a quicker way. I am not a good dancer but during those boxing lessons, I feel like I am doing a tsha–tsha dance move, that in itself feels liberating for me.
Cycling is also a hobby I fell in love with and it allows me to spend time with myself and my thoughts. I cycle to the studio when I get a chance. This isn’t because petrol is expensive (lol) but because my goal is for when I get to the age of 50, I am able to be fit and be able to do backflips because I love doing those.
I am presently active all around with cycling, running and boxing which further allows me to be fit and rejuvenate my body and mind whilst it’s still fun. My goal this year is to be a high-performing athlete, this entails gymnastics, boxing and running. I would like to participate in the two oceans marathon and the comrades as well.
I’m in a place of gratitude right now. I will continue to explore every inch of my soul and every part of my artistry. I want to learn more, teach more, and live in full.
- Greatest Artist of All Time? My Mother
- Workout You Dread? Burpees
- Favourite Place You’ve Visited? Sri-Lanka
- Go To Workout Song? Bare Trap by Stalley
- Best Way to Unwind? Take a Walk in the Park
- What Would You Be Doing If You Weren’t a Visual Artist? I would be Usain Bolt
Images by: Bayden Collopen