Vagus Magazine Spring 2022 Feature Story
Ngima Thogo is a digital artist whose work is rooted in African culture. He places emphasis on translating feelings and emotions through art in place of words.
Prior to digital artmaking, he worked as a photographer for a few years.
When did you discover art?
I’ve always appreciated art but never thought I’d ever be able to make art. I felt I wasn’t creative enough. So, I continued as a passionate observer. Then, in 2018, I discovered old face masks, and I became inspired by the masks’ imaginative heritage. First forward, I seek to continue learning and exploring the important cultural legacy while sharing a new form through my designs.
Do you aim to express a message through your art?
Representation is an essential part of my creative expression. I see my art transcending traditional knowledge, linking the past and future, empowering us to connect, honour, and celebrate the bold African legacy that influences global culture.
What does the representation of the African diaspora mean to you?
I’m influenced by many aspects of the African diaspora, from the intercultural heritage of African face masks to scarification marks on different cultures because of identity. I find fascination in exploring these concepts and approaches through modernization and artistic transformation.
Some of the recurring elements seen in Ngima’s creations are polka-dots, thin & squiggly lines, and flowers. There is also a variety of textures, shapes, and colours used. Another essential feature of Ngima’s work is that all subjects depicted in the photos are from the African diaspora; this is foundational to each piece.
Are collages the only form of artwork you create?
I see myself as an up-and-coming digital artist. So, there is space to explore other art forms, and I’m excited about that. But presently, my primary focus is on design, and it shows that I am on the right track as the patterns seem to shift into a deeper level of meaning.
How does the medium of collage facilitate the expression of your creativity?
For me, artistic language constructs a form that comes from going inside the wisdom of the body and mind. It shows genuine emotion, which holds profound meaning to both the artist and the culture. An artist creates a new sense that the viewers’ active response can be understood by representing innerness. When we see it, we feel the truth of being, and a body knowing our innerness guides that.
You use a variety of elements: lines, florals, dots, grids, shapes, etc. How do you decide on the details to include in a specific piece?
To come up with an approach for abstract design requires patience. The concept of shapes hardly happens automatically. It can be quite a long process of ordering layers, altering them, and changing them. It can take up to a few days to weeks to explore and edit. The process is the same every time but different for each project.
What helped you refine your technique and strengthen your work?
Consistency has played a vital role in building up my “style.” Devoting several hours to creating artwork and being disciplined enough to sit down and make something or learn something isn’t easy. Still, you will get results if you do it every day for a year or two. After that, your results compound, and your dreams will develop into a reality.
How can people best support you and your artistic practice?
Foremost, thank you for the opportunity to be on Vagus Creatives. It’s truly an honour. For art prints and more, visit https://www.ngimathogo.art/links
In creating art, what have you learned about yourself?
[I learned that] it’s possible to complete a project and for it to not perform as visioned. The courage to come back and continue has proved immense value in encouraging me to develop into a better artist. There’s power in repetition, and that, for me, is a game-changer.
Check out more of Ngima's work on his Instagram profile (Instagram: @psd.mvrs) and official website: www.ngimathogo.art/ This interview was originally published in Issue 5 of Vagus Magazine: Fluorescent Blossoms. A longer version of the interview is available in the magazine.