Art is unorthodox, beautiful, rebellious, nostalgic, provocative, comforting, realistic, euphoric, represents real life but most of it all it’s a compassionate friend who always captures the feelings of the painter and the observer. I was browsing through various social media platforms the other day and I came across a picture on a friend’s timeline which was a photograph of a painting that was done on a shoe and that blew my mind away so I instantly rushed to his inbox filled with excitement requesting him to get me in contact with the man behind the painting.
A week later I’m in contact with the man himself, well introduced and acquainted. He goes by the name Fruitman Mabanana which is a short term version of saying “A man with fruitful supplying deeds to the human beings and the world on its own” he said. Fruitman resides in a small township called Kanana near Rabie Ridge in the townships of Midrand. After a long interesting conversation I proposed to write an article to him about his brand, when he agreed I didn’t waste any more time instead I quickly drafted a dozen questions and sent them to him right away.
Tell me a little bit more about yourself
- Knowing myself has been the toughest subject given in these life lessons, but anyway I’ll tell you what I now know about myself. I’m a Sagittarius male artist, born in December. I have a strange character which is formed from my fire element, I’m a mutant, compassionate, driven purposefully, talkative, fun to be around, risk taker, impatient, open minded, creative like to do multitasking, good in bed(for the ladies), loving, romantic, naughty, troublesome, active, cumbersome and most of all I Am ART!.”
When and where was your brand established?
- B-FRUITMAN is a sub branch brand under the BGTF (Babel Gum Task Forces). It was established in 07 July 2017 in the ghetto known as Kanana in Rabie Ridge.
Fruitman discovered his talent in the art field through teenage mischievous behaviour back when he was still in high school by drawing on anything, anytime, wherever and whenever he felt the urge to do so.
One of his friends ended naming him ’Bananaz, which is derived from the English slang word “Bananaz” meaning a troublesome kid or something crazy, but as time went by it was altered to Mabanana because it was more relevant and more colloquial in South African Township communities.
Fruitman’s fine arts career fully solidified when he discovered his father was a professional craftsman.
With him being an infamous graffiti artist at school for drawing on school desks, toilet walls and student lockers and frequently getting in trouble with the school’s authority for doing so, he would always justify it by being a natural art enthusiast and made a decision back then, that this was his destiny. I asked him a couple of question I thought were relevant for people to know.
When did you start falling in love with painting on more traditional objects such as paper or sketch books and when did you get the outrageous idea to start painting on shoes and why?
He joyfully answered.
- Dawg, I believe I’m a super naturalist being, a true Israelite, and moreover I consider an open mind perception of the truth and wisdom, in which most people lack to realize and take consideration of… so every artwork I lace I basically, relate a way of saying that “watch out for both the truth and bogusness in the ways of life”
What is the vision and mission behind the theme of the paintings on your shoes and what is the message you are attempting to portray to your audience? I am asking this because I feel like there’s a message that you are trying to get across to the public.
- I’m trying to tell people to stay open-minded so they can realize and learn the sequence of lies and truth through wisdom and power each person carries within themselves
To get an overview of what drives him I asked, “What inspires your work and the unorthodox concepts behind it?”
- “I could simply put it in this way I’m inspired by being free, manifestation and using my powers to fulfilling my earthly given purpose.” Said Fruitman.
Fruitman Mabanana’s work on shoes differs to his work on canvas/ paper. His work on canvases has a lot of abstract feeling and complexity to it, which entails that it requires pure attention to detail, a lot of open-minded analysis, interpretation and meaning behind it in order for one to fully comprehend what the artwork means and the message they project to the public. While his work on paper is more precise, directly candid & visible for anyone to understand the moral of the story behind the painting. Fruitman features and references powerful & well-known historic characters in most of his work while ensuring that it possesses a valuable message to the masses.
He mentioned the fact that the two different ways of painting were not something he had planned to do, or was part of his intentions but instead it is something that happened in an organic manner, which also plays a huge role in his work ethic because he paints what he feels.
The young and fearless artist’s work has earned him a lot of recognition on different platforms that possess a good exposure for upcoming artists and he also got an opportunity to exhibit some his work at Tembisa Colour Festival, Hammanskraal Markets, Endawane Lounge Hip Hop sessions, Endaweni Lounge Glow Party, The ANC Conference Party in Orlando, Moses Moleleka Art Centre and lastly the Four Room Creative in Tembisa. The future is looking very colourful for this young South African artist, Blakkrenaisaance embraces his dream and struggles and will continue to endorse creatives like Fruiman who represent the real definition of black excellence.