Artist Anwar Davids is on a mission: to help free minds and allow humanity to think for themselves. With talent as diverse as his personal and professional background and a fierce passion for expression, Davids is achieving his goal with participation in live art, exhibits and featured art for Supremebeing™ clothing. Growing up on the Cape Flats, Davids was drawn to art and found solace and inspiration through his creations and the influences around him. one small seed talked with Davids about his vocation, growing up years, and how an artistic reawakening can change everything.

Ranging from graffiti, graphic design, image manipulating, live art and more, your creativity has taken on many forms. What was your beginning media though and how did you get started in it?

I started drawing since the age of six. I loved tracing images and usually used a pencil. My teenage years saw me just drawing with a black pen on any surface I could find, the reason for this was because I couldn’t afford proper art supplies. During my high school career I developed a taste for drawing characters but more like cartoons, fun stuff — this is what I was exposed to. I became a member of the SRC and was given the opportunity to do the cover of our first SRC magazine as well as a few illustrations. In college I fell in love with charcoal and did all the traditional still life, portraits and landscapes which were lots of fun but not enough. I wanted to do something different. When I completed my History of Art course, I was hooked on surrealism, pop art and cubism but never pursued a career as an artist. I majored in graphic design and after college the hustle started. The next 10 years I found myself sitting in front of a computer screen and never touching a pencil or black pen. I developed some skills in Photoshop and exhibited some digital art for A Happy Place Creation’s group exhibition. A few years later I started hanging out with more creative people and went to art exhibitions. I was truly inspired by Cape Town artist Lindsey Levendal’s work and after meeting him I picked up a pencil and started to express myself. In 2010 I met up with Cape Town artists Leigh Cupido, Rayaan Casiem and Nardstar, who inspired me so much that I nervously agreed to be part of group exhibition with them. The CORE Exhibition was a huge success and this was the rebirth of me as an artist.

Growing up on the Cape Flats, what were some of the people, places, and events and such that inspired you to be an artist in general and produce the type of work you create specifically?

I grew up surrounded by colour and beautiful people continually expressing themselves. My creative side comes from my late father Abdul Aziz Davids; even though he was into construction he always thought creatively and also sketched as a teenager. On the Cape Flats I was inspired by Cape Town graffiti artist Falco Star. As a youngster I use to be amazed at his ability to create images and letters on a wall just by using a spray can. He beautified our neighbourhood and this gave a lot of kids hope. There were other influential graffiti writers that also inspired me, guys like Muff2, Ice and Mak1 whose work could be seen all over the Cape Flats.

It wasn’t their graffiti styles that inspired me, it was the fact that they were artists expressing themselves and doing what they love. I wanted that same feeling, so I use to walk around our area with my little sketchbook and drew anything that caught my eye.

My current style of work has changed immensely thanks to inspiring artists such as the CORE crew.

Your style is very abstract and could be interpreted many ways. Do you have a particular message your trying to convey?

The message is to help free minds and allow humanity to think for themselves. The message is to question everything. The message is peace, love, enlightenment and consciousness. The message is truth, freedom and revolution. The message is to do for yourself and inspire others. The message is hope, salvation and oneness. The message is fear, solitude and anger but with that said, I prefer the viewer to create their own message; in this way they have taken the time to explore my work and give me their thoughts instead of me explaining my process.

If you could describe your style in three words what would they be?

Experimental, abstract, surreal.

Your work has been featured in galleries, art walks and has been showcased on customized clothing for Supremebeing™. Is there a theme that stays consistent regardless of where your work is showcased?

I never have a theme I just go with my mood and my surroundings, almost chameleon-like, I just adapt. I usually have an idea in my head, but when I get to the task at hand things change.

Tell us a little about your idea of ‘live art’. What was a project that allowed you to freely express yourself the most effortlessly?

‘Live art’ for me, is like a live performance where the artist gets to showcase their process and interact with the public. I was introduced to live art painting for the first time in 2012 at the annual Art Walk. I enjoyed the idea of creating an art piece in front of people, sometimes I get lost in my work and forget that there is a crowd watching.

Are there any other portals of creativity you would like to explore? Different art forms you’re looking into for the future?

I would like to do installations and work more with spray cans and do HUGE murals on buildings across the world… with permission of course.

Interview by Heather Worthing
Images: Anwar Davids Gary Van Wyk
For more of Davids work check out
His blog CLONE ART
CORE ARTISTS Facebook page
Twitter: @gurugaste
Davids is currently part of a group exhibition at the Mødestedet – Collaboration space Gallery in Denmark