Loyiso Mkize is a South African visual artist and was born in Butterworth, 19th March 1987. He studied at CPUT in Cape Town where he achieved is diploma qualification in graphic design in 2009. In 2015 he founded his own visual arts and communication company Loyiso Mkize Art (Pty) Ltd which publishes the energetic South African superhero comic book, KWEZI. This follows his long standing and consistently growing career in the fine arts.
Before devoting himself to his own company and fine art full time, Loyiso worked as head illustrator of the popular soccer comic book Supa Strikas Srika entertainment, a character based entertainment company whose clients include, KFC, ADT, African Bank, Nation Roads Agency, Caltex, Anglo American, Umbra to name a few.
In late 2013 however, Loyiso registered his visual arts, Loyiso Mkize Art (Pty) Ltd company which he aimed to create proudly South African entertainment products and communications solutions. A few months later, in 2014, Loyiso developed and published the first South African superhero comic book series, KWEZI, which is now the company’s flagship product.
The comic book quickly rose to popularity with new episodes being published in steady succession. The obvious remedy to meet with the demand as well as extend availability nationwide would be to partner with David Phillip publishers. From June 2016 KWEZI then went on to be published at all Exclusive Books stores and Bargain Books stores nationwide. The partnership has published two KWEZI collector’s editions thus far enjoying regularly enjoying best seller status in some prominent stores.
Loyiso Mkize Art subsequently developed projects such as the Earth day campaign commissioned by 702 radio and Cape Talk FM in 2014. The company would later develop an Entrepreneurship awareness comic book titled Young Hustla for and entrepreneurial training and facilitating company. Most notable was the anti-bullying comic book commissioned by the American comic book company, Archie comics which was developed and published in the USA in late 2015.
Loyiso’s painting career began officially in 2009. Having discovered late in his life that he had a passion for portrait painting this artistic expression has grown over the years with great success. Painting has become a tool that he uses to document and express views and ideas. He generally paints with oil paint on canvass. His subjects, generally African, explores the complex nature that makes up this modern man, his environment, predisposition, and culture. Mkize focuses on the emotion, emphasising brush strokes on skin texture and the eyes. Finding the subject’s spirit and communicating that through the medium is an effort that he has found his voice in.
Loyiso’s first solo exhibition, Reflections of Inner Truth, opened on the14th of July 2011 at The Framery Art Gallery.
His second Solo exhibition titled, Pulse, opened on the 12th of July 2012 at the Avital Lang Gallery in Moullie Point, Cape Town. His third Solo exhibition titled, Reflections eternal, opened on the 6th of July 2013 at the Yiull Damaso studio and gallery in Craighall, Johannesburg.
His forth Solo exhibition titled, Reflections, opened on the 1st of September 2015 at the Eyethu Gallery in Soweto, Johannesburg.
Alongside these has been a showcase in the FNB ArtFare in Johannesburg, 2015 and “That ArtFare” in Cape Town, 2016. He has also done a group exhibition in New York endorsed by the DTI. He was also part of a group exhibition in the Goree Island of Dakar Senegal late 2016 endorsed by the National Arts Council.
His international participation has enjoyed get highlights such as being commissioned to creating nine artworks for the Hollywood crime thriller, Momentum, directed by Stephen Campanelli, and starring Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman and James Purefoy.
Loyiso has also been involved in different organizations and foundations using his talent. He was the commissioned by the Rotary Club of Sea Point to paint a massive Nelson Mandela portrait which was later successfully auctioned in the Leeuwenhof Premier Residence in Cape Town.
Mkize has also been commissioned by the Out of Africa foundation in 2013, to paint a big portrait of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, the unveiling of which was attended by the Archbishop himself and family. The artwork is regularly hung in numerous locations in Cape Town including the airport as a beacon of cancer awareness.
Loyiso Mkize has also been involved in Knights whisky ad campaign endorsing the Authentic South Africans campaign.
His 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. His life work embodies the message of self-awareness, acknowledgment, strength, and radical presence. It’s in this spirit that he hopes his work can perhaps create a platform in which we can all communicate freely.