Art history meets street art in Kilmany-Jo Liversage’s large-scale portraits of women rendered in layers of acrylic paint, spray paint and marker inspired by Renaissance portraiture and the urban graffiti that can be viewed from the windows of her studio in Woodstock, Cape Town.
Past a gold-painted door, up a flight of stairs, you’ll find Kilmany-Jo’s studio with its neon spray cans and paints in every colour imaginable. It’s here where she works along to music, painting or spraying her large canvases with the freedom to leave behind incidental rainbow frames on the walls once the works have been taken down to be sold, shown or stored.
Kilmany-Jo is one of the artists whose work will be sold as an NFT (non-fungible token) in Invictus NFT Lab’s Out of Africa collection. Her layers of paint aren’t what you’d first consider when thinking of an NFT but projects like the Invictus NFT Lab are going beyond the realm of digital art. The NFT acts as a transferable certificate of ownership that allows the owner to have the physical artwork delivered to them if they wish.
We’ll be visiting a few of the Out of Africa collection artists in their studios to see their art-making firsthand and find out how their studios inform their practice.
Can you describe the energy of the space you work in?
My studio space is situated right in the heart of an artist community in Woodstock, Cape Town. Not only do I draw inspiration from the urban energy around me but also have colleagues and friends in close proximity from my studio.
What does the space and its location mean to you?
Being surrounded by studios with working artists certainly allows one to be involved in projects other than my personal work. Feeling the energy of the city definitely influences my process which shows my interest in street art and graffiti.
How do you get into a flow to start working on a blank canvas?
I put some good music on my earphones, grab a spray can and fill the canvas with layers of tag marks and colour, then I paint the subject matter over these layers.
How do you choose colour and colour combinations?
Through social media and magazines or screen grabs of any colour options which work together.
Who are the women in your portraits?
Most of my subject matter is sourced from social media, self portraits or requests I make to take photographs of women I want to paint.
How do you title your paintings?
I title my work usually with a 4-5 syllable name similar to tag names associated with street writing. Every title is dated for example ORDA121, would have been created in January 2021.
Further Reading In Articles
African Artist Directory