Meet Lakwena, the super-talented artist behind our Alternative Spring Break project at the Wynwood Walls in Miami, #HEARTTHISCITY. We spoke with Lakwena about how she got her start, what it was like to work with the AEO cast and crew and where she finds her inspiration.
When did you first discover your love for art?
I’ve always loved art. My earliest memory of art is learning to write in school when I was about 4. It was my first introduction to typography.
Did you attend university for art or are you self-trained?
I studied at the University of the Arts London.
Tell us a little bit about your style and work.
I like to play with typography, colour, and pattern. I love working on a large scale.
Who has been a mentor or inspiration to your career in art?
My mother. She always knew I was an artist and encouraged me and believed in me.
What piece of your work has the most meaning to you? Why?
Hard question. Maybe my recent piece in Wynwood, ‘I remember Paradise’. Being given the opportunity to paint on such a large scale is an actual dream come true. Regardless of what happens from here onwards, that’s something that I’m really proud to have accomplished.
Lakwena’s “I remember Paradise”. Photo from Lakwena.com.
What is the most challenging part of being an artist?
At least with commercial work, having to be creative on demand, often with very little time.
How did you get involved with the installation art at Wynwood Walls?
A friend who has a gallery in Los Angeles put my name forward to be involved, the curators liked my work, so I was invited out.
What was your inspiration for #HEARTTHISCITY?
The designs came from sketches that I’d been experimenting with, playing around with quite intricate patterns inspired by memphis patterns amongst other things. A friend described the original sketch works as ‘afro-futuristic circuit boards’, which I liked a lot.
What is your favorite memory of working with American Eagle Outfitters and Project Live Your Life?
Seeing lots of people working together on my designs.
What do you heart about your hometown, Bromley in the United Kingdom?
I love the trees there. What I love most about East London is the creative energy there.
What do you heart about Miami?
The creative community.
Tell us a fun fact about you.
I’m a wrestling champion!