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Courtesy of Chad Hanning

Chad Hanning is the Street Artist Fusing Graffiti with Cartoons

The South African street artist says that his diverse country is the rainbow nation with dull walls.

Think of cartoon-like doodles turned into entire murals in ebullient colors, fluid lines and quite humorous shapes. That is exactly what young street artist Chad Hanning (whose graffiti name is "Bushy") is bringing to the world of graffiti. For the longest time graffiti has been associated with vandalism, rebellion and gangsterism. Over the years, that narrative has changed and the artform has evolved and metamorphosed not only into a visually captivating artform but one that is, in Hanning's case, bringing the youth in communities together.

We caught up with him to learn a little more about his particular brand of street art.

How did you get into street art? What was the inspiration and the muse(s)?

A lot of my work is inspired by music, relationships with people and daily life.I was about 14 years old when I got into mural art, that's when I painted my first wall. At the time, the area I lived in was the Mecca of graffiti in Cape Town—Mitchells Plain Westridge. The scene died out after the graffiti bylaw was passed in Cape Town in 2010. Unfortunately, about 90 percent of the murals were painted over with dull paint. This seems funny. We're meant to be a rainbow nation but we have dull walls.

What is the greatest challenge when it comes to creating street art?

The most difficult thing when it comes to painting murals would be the Cape Town graffiti by law. As an artist, to paint in a public space, we have to apply for a public art permit, which could be a long and demotivating process. I've had permit applications declined in the past. Before the bylaw, it was as easy as just asking the owner of the wall for permission, which now seems like a dream.

What distinguishes you from other street artists here and across the continent?

My illustrative style comes through in my mural art, which is easily recognizable if you know my work. Simple illustration style is not always easy to execute.

I've always loved cartoons and vector style illustrations. Life can be depressing and hard at times and so I bring in a lot of vibrant colors and mostly keep my themes light and fun to break away from the harsh realities, even if it's just for a while.

Follow Chad Hanning on Instagram and Facebook.


"Your friendly neighborhood vandal"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"A friend's birthday, he's old"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"Best way to travel"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"Gameboi Vandal"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"To hold onto yourself, let yourself slip"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"More Air"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"Dan the Vandal Spray Can"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"Bad Apple"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"Same baggage, different day"Courtesy of Chad Hanning


"Hip Hop Andy"Courtesy of Chad Hanning

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

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This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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