#CreativelyIconic: Chat With Buhle Nkalashe

As we are preparing to end the year 2019, here at Iconic Black we have decided to celebrate young creatives through an initiative called Creatively Iconic. The initiative aims to give young creatives a platform to share their story and challenges. Young creatives are encouraged to submit their work therefore making an entry into the Creative Icon Awards of the Year.

Our first young creative for the initiative is Buhle Nkalashe (BN). I had a chat with him about his career. Here is what he had to say.


Who is Buhle Nkalashe?

BN: Buhle Nkalashe is a full-time visual independent artist. Nkalashe is mostly known for his paint and mixed media, which is a combination of charcoal, acrylic paint, oil paint and oil pastels.


When did you realise you have a passion for art?

BN:When I had my debut solo, The New African, at Youngblood Africa Gallery (2018) in Cape Town.

When was your first exhibition?how was the experience?

BN: My first exhibition was at Youngblood Africa Gallery, I was part of a group show titled “NAKED ART” (2017). I was very thrilled to have my artwork displayed for the first time in a gallery and during First Thursday. I got more than I bargained for as I was also offered to do a solo (one man show) the following year (2018).


What type of art do you do?

BN: I do mainly figurative and abstract paintings on canvas. I work with a combination of mediums (charcoal, acrylic paint, oil paint, oil pastels).

What’s the most challenging factor when it comes to artists?

BN: My biggest obstacles have been depriving myself of sleep as I need to keep this passion in my life alive. Another main block is the transportation of artworks as well as studio space since I work with large scale artworks. I appreciate what I have and I know as time goes on it will get better. As an emerging artist, I’ve learned to live below my means as I need enough resources to be able to access materials and services which can help me.


What advice do you give to aspiring artists?

BN: As an emerging/ aspiring artist, I know the biggest challenge is money especially coming from a black family. I urge artists to follow their heart and not to follow money. I have recently learned that it is vital to grow yourself as a brand and find your rhythm/ style. By saying so I mean not allowing the market and people dictate what you create based on statistics of other artists who are selling well. Do not rush creativity, be patient and rather allow the process to guide you instead.

By the way Black Coffee loves your work, are you on the path of being famous?
BN: Black Coffee discovered me before I had my first solo, he has been very supportive by providing me with his blessings and words of encouragement through our Direct Messages on Instagram. It still hasn’t sunk in yet that I have been communicating with Black Coffee. I am proud to say he is one of my collectors. YAY! (laughs). I wish to remain as humble and wise as he is, no matter how well known I will become and also staying proud of our beautiful nation and its people.
What does iconic mean to you?
BN: That’s a difficult question……For me, Black Coffee is a definition of an icon. I regard him as someone who is a representative symbol of South African creativity. Black Coffee is someone who has faith and belief in himself and his talent and devoted most of his time into it. I feel that his music is deeply connected and rooted in my heart and though all the drama we are facing today as a nation, It gives me pride and joy when Black Coffee shares the positive (music) with us and the rest of the world.
Thank you so much Buhle Nkalashe for chatting and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Do make sure you catch up with his work on the upcoming exhibitions.


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