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Art, Graf


by Samora Chapman / 26.03.2015

Pastelheart could click his tongue like a Zulu and sometimes dressed like a queen… even when it wasn’t a dress-up party. He was the most unique human I have ever met. And a true artist in every sense of the word. I never knew him best, but I could say we were friends…

“I am an artist, not by choice, but by instinct.” – Pastelheart
 (Graffiti South Africa, Cale Waddacore, 2015).

He loved God but he never preached. He adored the feminine form. He was ALWAYS the best dressed mofo in town.


Once he joined me on a mission down the South Coast for the weekend. We were gonna be making fires, painting, trudging through the bush and swimming in the sea. He rocked up at my flat wearing white jeans, a white T-shirt and platform shoes. His hair was freshly peroxided and a gold chain gleamed beneath his clean-shaven chin. He brought one tiny bag and a packet full of paint.

I wondered what he was going to eat. But I ended up trading him food for paint… so it was a win win.


When I first met Pastel, he was a fine artist, but he gradually moved onto painting walls with graffiti writers. Because graffiti is a movement and perhaps he found a home within the culture. A crew is like a fam; a brotherhood with a common purpose.

Shout out to ALT Crew… stay strong homies.


When Pastel started using spray paint he came under heavy fire from the most important figure in Durban graffiti, who claimed that Pastel was not a graffiti writer… and never would be. Because he didn’t do letters and he used mixed mediums.

He proved that motherf#$* wrong.

Over the next six odd years, he got up all over the city AND the country… piecing and bombing. When he passed away, he was probably Durban’s most well known graffiti writer/street artist. He had his style locked down and he was developing it further with every piece.

He was the king of graffiti pop. Twelve-year-old girls from Umhlanga knew his name.

He will be remembered as one of the founders of Durban street art. He was a brother. A friend. A son. A lover. And there is a big gaping hole in everyone’s hearts where he used to be… ‘cos damn, that cat had a HUGE personality. Good bye homey. Travel like the wind.

“I will continue to paint graffiti until I cannot see. It heals me and fulfills me as a human. It will be the way I give back to our earth.” – Pastelheart (Graffiti South Africa, Cale Waddacore, 2015).

many lips

*tribute wall

*Tribute wall


*Artwork © Pastelheart

*Images © Samora Chapman

*Snapshot of tribute wall by Samora, Stops and Nate.

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  1. Gina says:

    Didn’t know the guy, only saw him a few times out and about. What a loss to everyone who knew him as well as the 031

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  2. Undisclosed homdog says:

    Aweh, didn’t know Pastel. But all love and blessings to him, may his creative soul ‘jol above the clouds’ in the best way possible!

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  3. Mick says:

    What a beautiful human. Such heart ache. Shine your colours, brother! x

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  4. Savage says:

    He was a gentle and humble human.
    We will miss you Pasti.

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  5. Niky Clemmans (nee' Pastellides) says:

    Farewell our dearest loving and talented Matthew –we were so proud of you.

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  6. Jolling! says:

    Way to cash in on someone’s death with insincere click bait.

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  7. gbob says:

    Met him at Smoking Dragon a few years ago. He always made a point to greet me when he saw me out. A good man.

    I’m feeling Durban’s pain

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  8. Mymsta says:

    I remember Pastels giving me rides to some of the harder to access freeway spots and then picking me up again afterwards on his scooter…and that was while he was studying fine art, before he even got involved in graffiti! It was pretty obvious to anyone that knew him that the graffiti world was where he was destined, and he sure as hell didn’t disappoint!

    I once left my sketch book at his place after spending the night. It was a quarter full when I last saw it, but when I got it back two days later it was filled cover to cover!

    He was an incredible person, and I’m just sorry I didn’t hang out and paint with him as much this last year as I now wish I had.

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  9. Bruce says:

    I met Pastel under very unusual circumstances when deciding to go to Joburg by train. He sat next to my wife and I in the dining carriage and his scruffy appearance soon eclipsed by his charisma and gift of the gab. We ended up chatting for about 3.5 hours, his reasoning for visiting a girl in Krugersdorp he liked and the harsh conditions of traveling sitting class with a gospel choir singing behind him for 7 hours. He ended up sleeping on the floor outside the toilet stall roughing it in every sense of the word and in his optimism considered this a romantic gesture for the lady he was going to visit. The entire way he was marveled at graffiti murals done by other artists through joburg cbd and pointed out opportunity areas. He made an impression on myself and my wife with his extraordinary personality, optimism and attitude towards life. Amazing how crossing paths with someone so briefly could effect you so much. Speaks volumes to the man he was. RIP Pastelheart

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  10. Pia Pierdica (Pastellides) says:

    Matthew – Pastelheart. This worlds loss is heaven’s gain. Stay in peace and paint the sky with your beautiful art. Your smiling face and loving nature will be sorely missed by your family and friends.

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  11. Jose says:

    WOW and the scariest part of all is how raelly soft spoken and easy going he appears to be with the public. Isn’t that what everyone says about the neighbor with the bodies in the basement? He was such a quiet man . This is so revealing and downright frightening!

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