Prior to committing himself as a full time contemporary artist, Loyiso Mkize rose to prominence as on of South Africa’s best known graphic novel and comic book illustrators, being one of the foremost contributors to the Sunday Times supplement SupaStrikers. Eventually he discovered a passion for portrait painting, a medium he turns to as an avenue to express personal, political and social commentary.
His subjects are mostly Africa and they feature expressive faces, showing a fascination with skin, texture, gaze and the emotion that is conveyed through facial features. In particular, he is interested in the ways this emotive expression intersects with notions of the soul, the spirit and ultimately a means to illustrate his understanding of the authentic African experience. Mkize’s use of highly stylized and technically brilliant brushwork creates realistic imagery that leans toward the surreal with his decorative framing and imaginative illustration, adding multiple layers to each portrait with character references and the impression of self-awareness in each of his works.
Mkize’s ability to create Visual art throughout the varied arenas he participates in, carries with it an intention to communicate ideas that he finds most important in his life, the most prominent of which is preserving the African identity.