Opening the Can of Creativity

Words: Fiona Christensen & Danielle Vorster
Images: Jono Hornby
Durban is awash with arts & culture and Jono Hornby is in the thick of it


A: How old do you feel? 
JH: I think the best way to answer that is to quote something that I read the other day. It said “the creative adult is the child who survived”. I can really relate to that.

A: Tell us something about yourself in one sentence.
JH: I’m more African than my social settings allow me to be, and that bums me out sometimes!

A: When did you decide to take up drawing/ designing?
JH: I suppose graffiti is what really opened the doors for me. I must have been about 11 or 12 when I started painting. We used to sneak out the house in the early hours of the morning and skate around kloof tagging bridges.


A: What do you aim to capture in your work?
JH: Every piece is different. I tend to let the concept drive the creative process. What I plan to do and what I achieve are often two very different animals!

A: Do you have a favourite work or muse?
JH: I try to draw inspiration from anything and everything! Having favourites can sometimes limit what you expose yourself to. We feel the world should have more street art, wouldn’t you agree? Haha, for sure man. I think that people that react negatively toward street art need to be educated. It is quite a difficult one because art is obviously subjective and public spaces are shared so there needs to be a degree of consideration. I think the general public perception toward street art in South Africa is marred by bad graffiti. Street art and graffiti need to work in conjunction with one another in order to
appeal to the broader public. I think the only way to start changing these perceptions is to let creativity roam free. With regards to this I think Banksy said it best: “Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a living, breathing thing which belonged to everybody, not just the state agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.”


A: You use many different mediums, do you have a favourite?
JH: Nothing beats pencil and paper. Most of my work starts out in my sketch pad! I think computers should be used to improve and refine your work, not to create from scratch.

A: We feel South Africa is really moving up in the design world, is this evident to you? Has it affected you?
JH: That is quite a tricky question to answer. There are a lot of world class designers in South Africa and I think that the amount of online platforms out there contribute toward this. Success is generally the result of individual talent and pro-activity rather than an improved national standard of design. Unfortunately, I think the extent of South Africa’s talent is not reflected in our commercial market, which may be impacting our fundamental approach toward design. South Africa is also an extremely diverse country so interest and unity around art forms are harder to generate. As a result I think that designers often look toward the web for inspiration rather than their immediate surroundings. But I believe that we are on the right track and local success almost always has a positive effect on the field as a whole.


A: You have done a fair amount of work for community based projects, any project in particular that means a lot to you?
JH: In my third year of college we had to make a one minute video using street art as a form of community activism. We painted a mural in the heart of Umbilo and made a stop frame animation of the process. The community response was incredibly humbling and in many ways opened my eyes to the power of imagery in public space.

A: Any favourite local musician’s?
JH: There are so many bro… The one band I love to watch is The Meditators. They play outside Wahooz, on the promenade, every Sunday and the vibe at those gigs is always pretty sweet. But Black Math, Fruits and Veggies, The K Bomb and The Trees would all feature on that list.


A: What is your favourite sandwich topping?
JH: Hummus, chili and roasted butternut.

A: Snakes or Spiders?
JH: Snakes give me the chills…

A: Where would we find you on a free afternoon?
JH: Haha, free afternoon? Its been a while…

A: Complete the sentence: I never thought… ?
JH: I would become a vegan!