Mo is a freehand digital illustrationist who creates digital figurative artwork that can be described as minimal and semi-abstract. With this style, she conveys individuality and personality by using organic shapes and vibrant, complimenting colours.

From a young age, Mo has been eager to explore, experiment and create. She felt herself draw towards the creative field and surrounded herself with inspiring individuals who shared her passion for art. “I usually tell people that I’m a full-time explorer and that in itself is how I got into illustration and made it into a career.”

Art of Print had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Mo and get “into” her head:

The beauty of blackness by South African artist Mo
The beauty of blackness by South African artist Mo

What is your process from concept to result?

It all starts in my sketchbook, where all my ideas are noted and sketched, from the colours to the composition. That is followed by hours of researching references and inspiration that supports the sketched idea.

When I am happy with what I have done, I start translating it digitally. This allows me to create anything that I can dream up simply because there are no restrictions and I have access to unlimited colours, shapes and forms – whatever I need to realise the idea I had in mind.

I use both Photoshop and Procreate to create the final piece simply because these powerful creative tools allow me to create and achieve unique techniques and styles (which I cannot achieve using traditional art mediums) that are essential in assisting with the message I want to visually carry over to the audience.

The beauty of blackness by South African artist Mo
The beauty of blackness by South African artist Mo

Is there a specific message you want to convey with your illustrations and how do you get that message across?

The ‘beauty of blackness’ remains the main theme and message in my artwork. Ultimately, I want to reach out to young black girls and remind them of their magic, beauty, and power in society because this is a message that never reaches many of us. 

My experiences as a black, darker-skinned woman plays a huge role in my work and I often push myself to explore my identity and where I find myself in society in the hopes to encourage the community of black people, especially black women and remind them that black is beautiful, bold, and powerful.  

My experiences as a black, darker-skinned woman play a huge role in my work and I often push myself to explore my identity and where I find myself in society in the hopes to encourage the community of black people, especially black women and remind them that black is beautiful, bold and powerful.

What motivates you to continue being creative economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?

I would say I am politically motivated to an extent where I use my art to challenge how black people are viewed and accommodated in society. If any one of my artworks creates a slight shift in someone’s perception towards the black community, or rather the black female community, I have succeeded. On an emotional level, my art is not only healing for me, but for a lot of individuals who can identify with it. I create because it is an outlet of joy, embrace and self-appreciation.

The beauty of blackness by South African artist Mo

Who are the artists that you draw inspiration from?

I am greatly inspired by Nick Daves who explores the digital space and creates work that puts a strong emphasis on the iridescent skin tones that black people possess, embracing the bold and vibrant colours to support his admiration and embrace for black people. Photographers like Morna Otagburuagu are a main source of inspiration for me, and I am so grateful for his beautiful and inspiring work that celebrates African women.

What paper do you prefer to print on and why?

Felix Schoeller True Fibre because I absolutely love the matte finish.

Want to see more? Follow Mo on Instagram: