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I love big, hard cock

by Mahala High Five Brigade / Images by Martha Cooper / 08.10.2012

The I Art series is a community mural project funded by Adidas that aims to celebrate local and international artists, mural art and the communities whose walls get painted. The project kicked off in Woodstock iKapa last year and followed up in Soweto a bit later. Finally, in 2012, the I Art crew took to the Maboneng District in downtown Johannesburg for I Art JHB. We caught up with South African artist Cameron Platter, with his keen interest in mixed messages, morality and low brow commercialism, to talk about his mural on the corner of Market and Commissioner Street.

From fine art and sculpture to big scale street art…. how does the medium change the message?

The scale doesn’t change the message.

Freud would have a field day about your obsessions with cocks, what’s your own analysis of it? Or do you just love willies?

I love big, hard, cock.

Good vs evil in South African society seems to be an ongoing theme in your work…

Pretty hard to have your eyes wide shut to the good and the bad in SA.

I love how you appear to document rather than judge… an influence from your parents perhaps? Do you aspire to some sort of ‘objectivity’ in your art?

I try to be as non-judgemental as possible. I’m a consumer, and as bad as the bad shit I document. You’re right, it’s all about documenting what’s around me.

Do you ever ignore your political consciousness and just do art for art’s sake? No social commentary, just pretty pictures… or is that just way too shallow?

Never

Would you describe your outlook as optimism or a pessimism?

I’m a “the glass is very empty” or the “the glass is overflowing” type of person.

Your I Art JHB mural mirrors the trashy sangoma and penis enlargement flyers you find on the streets everyday. People walking by may simply assume that it’s a bonafide commercial… does that undermine or justify your artistic statement?

Then it works. I want it to be as hidden and as camouflaged as possible.

Have you ever produced an artwork this big before (with the aid of a crane)?

No, but all works should have scale regardless of actual scale.

How do you feel producing art for a streetwear brand like Adidas?

If they pay on time and well, then I’m fine. Part of the contract was that they had no input on what was produced. All good…

Is this art or marketing, or both. And does the brand involvement diminish the import of your work?

I didn’t think about the brand in conceptualizing or executing the piece.

*All images © Martha Cooper.

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