STREET STYLE

AFRICA IS NOW catches up with multitalented creatives Marvin Dieterich and Seth Pimentel aka African Ginger

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

MARVIN DIETERICH

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

SETH PIMENTEL

MARVIN DIETERICH

Photographer and DJ

Tell us about your background.

Contrary to popular belief I’m not from South Africa at all. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in ’97. To a drug addict and a drug dealer.

My mother was a beautiful woman from Tanzania and my father was allegedly from Albania. I was the second youngest of the 5 children she had, but I ended up in an orphanage before I really got to know my siblings. The oldest two in Tanzania are nowhere to be found and the other two were adopted into different families.

When I was about 2 years old, I was adopted by a lovely Jewish lady and her German husband, who are now my dearly beloved parents. We then moved to South Africa in 2001 and I’ve been here since.

Where did you grow up in Jozi?

I grew up in Westdene, a semi-suburban area, between Melville and Westbury.

How did you and Seth meet? Was it through skating?

We both skated from quite a young age, but we never really met until high school where we eventually crossed paths due to our shared interest in the arts and our mutual friends.

It’s sad about the Parkhurst ramp…

Many people never actually knew about the Green Ramp behind the Parkhurst Library. It was originally donated by Emerica and used mostly by the older skater generation, but it gained popularity among us, youngsters, once we grew brave enough to drop into the 1.8m halfpipe. It was there for about 8 years I think before it was eventually scrapped by the community, who claimed it was a safety hazard for their children… it was a blatant punch in the face to skating. The people of Parkhurst didn’t like us delinquents hanging out there for hours on end, so they chopped it into chunks and scrapped it.

I haven’t skated a ramp that smooth for a long time and others just aren’t the same. I don’t think there’s really a proper halfpipe anywhere anymore. Only smaller and lumpier ramps, like the skate park on Empire or YBF in Bryanston. Today’s youth also seems to be skating in the streets more than ever. Nobody shows much interest in finding halfpipes these days.

How did you end up with an African Ginger design tattooed on your arm?

Seth had an exhibition at the Sneaker Lab space in Braamfontein one evening, while I was taking pictures for the Juta Street Precinct. The space was covered in Seth’s beautiful illustrations, from bags to shoes, everything was African Ginger that night. There was even a tattoo artist who was translating some of Seth’s smaller flash designs onto the skin of those willing (myself and Seth included).

She only got about 5 pieces done before the tattoo set-up was packed up, unfortunately. By the grace of God, I got slotted in at number 3 and now I have this beautiful African Ginger ski mask on my arm. Of all the pieces, the mask just spoke to me on a different level. It stood out. I guess sometimes you just know, you know?

You fixed my Nishiki bike when the cycle shop was open in Melville… it’s a shame it closed down. Do you still offer the service and what else do you dabble in?

I did indeed fix your bike, a beautiful bike at that. The shop Hunter Cycling JHB was also definitely the best in town. Cycling past the now tattoo parlour just isn’t the same.

I don’t work on bikes much anymore, but I will soon be moving up to Europe for a few months, where I will once again be fixing beautiful bicycles in a stuffy, dark room that smells of grease, detergent and socks.

I’m also very passionate about photography and the documentation of my surroundings and their effect on me. This, however, took a bit of a backseat once I began making music which I am also hopelessly in love with. Oh, and much like everyone else these days, I also like to DJ.

What music are you producing?

At the moment I’ve been dabbling in the more hip-hop style side of things. But I guess I could call my music alternative. It’s really a personal exploration of rhythm and expression, to be honest.

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

How would you describe your sound?

There really isn’t one name for it. It’s probably best described as a load of sounds in a row that appeals to me at the time of creation. I enjoy challenging my understanding of arrangement and sound engineering, and my music is just a reflection/product of myself and my life.

I came from a very chaotic background and making music is quite cathartic for me. It has become almost like a part of my daily routine now. Music is something I enjoy too much not to pursue in the future, however, I do not have a concrete plan as to how it will be incorporated into my life. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

And are you on SoundCloud?

Yes, under the alias TOKYOKEV.

We love your Insta page @dailymarvin and your eye for taking portraits. What avenue of photography interests you and how long have you been shooting event photography?

Thank you. First and foremost, I really love fashion photography, but I try to bring an aspect of street photography into my work. The spontaneity of shooting on-the-go intrigues me and challenges my mind more than spending hours in a cold studio chasing one image.

I’ve been wielding a camera and capturing my surroundings since the age of 15 and events are one of my favourite things to shoot. I try more than anything to capture energy and emotions which can be quite tricky in a festival environment, where everyone just wants to party-y-y-y-y. But with patience and focus, you begin to see through the veil of hype.

‘I came from a very chaotic background and making music is quite cathartic for me.’

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE
STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

What would you love to shoot and where? 

I’d love to shoot people of the older generation (65+) engaging with people my age on a constructive level. It’s not something that’s common these days. Nobody has apprentices anymore and true knowledge is being lost. The separation the internet brought has only gotten bigger every year and I feel as though we, the youth, are becoming too dismissive of our elders. We should be focusing less on institutionalised learning and certification, and more on developing our chosen craft to its full potential. This can be learnt from those who walked these paths before us, not from a standardised textbook.

Which Joburg artists do you respect most?

I have mad respect for some people my age, like Seth and Njabulo Hlophe (Dirty Native Chief). But more than anyone, I respect the tattoo and graffiti artists I always looked up to, back when I was just a skinny kid skating with them. From KevLove to Rekso, all of the really illustrative and expressive painters have always had my heart.

What do you love about Joburg?

I love the rhythm of this city. It runs 24/7 and it waits for no man. It will teach you all the lessons you’ll ever need to survive. It’s the perfect place to hone your skills and meet like-minded people as an urban artist.

‘We should be focusing less on institutionalised learning and certification, and more on the development of your chosen craft to its full potential.’

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

‘I like being comfortable and I enjoy wearing clothes that can survive whatever the city throws at me.’

Do you prefer Joburg or Cape Town culture and what would you say is the difference?

The only difference I noticed between Joburg and Cape Town is an apparent sense of unity in the creative industry. I see more artists helping one another in Cape Town, but that could also be the power of social media. I could be wrong.

What I can say with confidence, is that both places suffer from a serious case of ‘cancel culture’. Young artists are more interested in boycotting one another by trying to steer the crowd using fear and mob mentality when we should really be trying to help one another become the best versions of ourselves.

We’re all here aren’t we? And on top of that, we all need to eat. Why starve each other out of spite and insecurity? I see so many of my peers engulfed by popular culture and Western trends. There is really no need to focus so much on image, appearance and status.

Acceptance and a positive self-image are the foundations for a happy life. We need to be careful not to skip that step and hide our truth behind trends and money.

Who are your favourite local fashion stores/designers and what style are you into?

I dig Young and Lazy and on the higher fashion side of things, I really like Rich Mnisi. If I didn’t miraculously spend all my money by the time my favourite brands dropped, I would probably be kitted out by now, which is unfortunately not the case.

I guess have quite a unique style. I don’t like expensive things and most of my stylistic choices are influenced by early hip-hop and skate culture in Europe – the more rebellious, the better! Above all, I like being comfortable and I enjoy wearing clothes that can survive whatever the city throws at me. So I try to find a balance between expression and practicality.

However, for those of us with underweight wallets, like myself, thrifting clothes is the way to go. I enjoy the personal aspect of it. It takes hours and you have a choice of so many clothes, it’s crazy.

And for those days on which I might need a solid vintage piece to tie up my outfit, I would source my clothes from informal online stores (some young entrepreneurs on Instagram) such as Klippa Vintage.

‘I don’t like expensive things and most of my stylistic choices are influenced by early hip-hop and skate culture in Europe – the more rebellious the better!’

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

SETH PIMENTEL AKA AFRICAN GINGER

Johannesburg-based illustrator and multimedia artist

Where does the name African Ginger come from?

I’m a natural ginger and I’m from a mixed race heritage. And obviously I’m African in every sense.

Where did you grow up in Jozi? 

I grew up in the south of Johannesburg until 2018, but studying in Braamfontein led to spending much of my academic and social time in the city.

Name one of your favourite haunts in Jozi. 

The Royale in Craighall. Go there! It feels like home.

Do you prefer Joburg or Cape Town culture and what would you say is the difference?

Cape Town is refined and focuses on an international narrative, whereas by contrast, Jozi is unapologetically African in all aspects. I love both, but Jozi is home.

What do you love about Joburg?

The creative energy.

Who are your favourite local fashion stores/designers and what style are you into?

Dipstreet, Sol Sol, Young and Lazy. I love streetwear. Very city styled, skater/hood rat streetwear.

Tell us more about your experiences at Basha Uhuru and Afropunk

My experiences have been humbling and educational. I have met so many incredible creatives within the industry. For Afropunk, I collaborated with Hyundai to create a custom design on a car for one of their activations. For Basha Uhuru, I got the opportunity to paint a mural encapsulating the South African youth 25 years post-apartheid.

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE
STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE

‘My work has always had a signature style, I have just grown with it.’

When did you start illustrating and how did you discover your signature style? 

I was in my second year at university and I picked up illustration as a second major and through the courses I discovered my aptitude for portraits and tone. I went from deconstructing silhouettes to creating hyper-real portraits. My work has always had a signature style, I have just grown with it.  

What mediums do you use?

Ink, oils, pencil – these are my original mediums. But I love working with Photoshop because it’s digital and we live in a digital age, so people get to see my work in its truest form. I’m always excited to experiment with mediums outside my comfort zone.

We see you’re part of a new collective in Braams, BKhz, tell us more about it.

It’s a gallery and studio space owned by a great South African artist and illustrator Banele Khoza. He has exhibited art by Lady $kollie and Matthew Hazel and just recently I partook in a group show in the space and hopefully, soon my first solo show!

Have you ever collaborated with a fashion or interior designer? 

Yes, I’m very fortunate to have collaborated with fashion brands Anatomy and DEAD. Other collaborations in fashion include Levi’s, New Balance, Puma, Converse and others. However, I’ve never collaborated with an interior designer, although I have been pondering over it.

Do you still skate? 

Yes, I do, although not as often as I did as a teenager, but I’ve been getting back into it with my bestie Joshua The I Am.

What advice would you like to give young aspiring artists? 

Three words: Be unapologetically you.

Do you have a favourite of your own artworks?

The piece titled Bultungin. I love the line work, colours and shape of the figure. North African folklore, and folklore in general, is not really discussed in Southern Africa. I loved researching this topic because to know ourselves is to know the narratives of the times that have preceded us.

STREET STYLE - AFRICA IS NOW MAGAZINE
2019-07-04T13:23:43+00:00