Graffiti doesn't always mean destruction

Wesley van Eeden was an outsider growing up. And his parents might have worried when he sought self-expression in skating and graffiti. But their son was no delinquent. His interest in the alternative was artistic rather than destructive, as he went after inspiration in what was outdoors and different.

He was seven when he first became intrigued by skateboarding and the culture that surrounds it. The sport showed him the upside of the run-down areas where skate-parks tend to emerge. And while many take graffiti to be the mark of decay, Van Eeden saw its potential to uplift. He applies an equally thoughtful approach to the rest of his art, which includes illustration, graphic design and painting.

“You can be bored, or look at the things around you and be inspired,” says Van Eeden. He paints vibrant murals on decrepit walls as his way of giving a fresh voice to a space that needs it. He hopes that his work gives a lift to the people who pass it. Art is a language through which we can all communicate. And like the aged, worn wall that becomes a messenger of hope, we can all re-sketch our paths with a little more colour and help to make South Africa a happier place.