Visual art is one of the oldest forms of self-expression and communication known to mankind. From cave paintings to Egyptian hieroglyphics. It’s something that’s existed for aeons, carried out by the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the form of street art or the more bourgeoisie high-end style of Michelangelo. Visual art has always punctuated our existence as mankind, no matter the form. Nobody expresses this best than Nelson The Aries, a 19-year-old Durban based visual artist. I started noticing Nelson’s work on Instagram. So I decided to meet with him so we could talk more about his craft and what inspires his work.

We met at The Werehouse on a Tuesday afternoon, I walked in and I could barely spot him anywhere, with a few people around, so I gave him a call. He picked up and I asked him where he was, he responded by saying “I’m by the counter man”. I went towards the counter, I could peep Aewon Wolf sitting with his laptop out on the couch, as I kept going, there was a gentleman on a round bar table preparing a hookah while he was crushing some loud. A casual day at The Werehouse, just a few people in sight. I still couldn’t find Nelson until he put up his hand to indicate where he was. There he was, in the very far corner of the bar counter. He had his laptop out and seemed to have been working on a new project on Premiere Pro. We then go to one of the couches on the less busy side. He says, “we can sit anywhere, it’s fine”. We sit down by the “Wolves Only” sign that’s usually lit up bright when there’s an event at The Werehouse.

Nelson The Aries

Nelson is draped in an over sized pinstripe shirt, black cropped jeans and a pair of Vans Old Skool with some white socks. A rather casual and shy figure at first. We waste no time and start talking about how it all started out. “I just grew up watching a lot of TV, playing a lot of video games. Watching movies, series and cartoons or whatever”. He tells me how the story telling factors in all these elements would peak his interest and make him create his own art. “I used to draw a lot, draw a lot of comic books, sold them to my friends and stuff”. “My passion is based around telling stories or evoking certain emotions in people. Through visual art bra, whether it’s illustrations, sketches, videos, graphic design or whatever”.


Nelson The Aries is an all-rounder in the scope of digital visual art. His journey started with sketches on paper and when he was 16, he decided to migrate his art into the digital world. That’s when he started doing Graphic Design, through his creative process he picked up many more art forms. I ask Nelson what does he offer differently to the whole digital art scope. Especially at a time where everybody considers themselves a creative. “with me, I just feel like how you were saying, I’m an all-rounder, if we’re editing pictures, doing graphic design and videos, I’m there and that gives me a certain edge over people. I look at myself and ask myself what am I good at, everything that I’m good at, I like to dig deep and find out more and do my research”. He slowly starts to ease into the conversation and feels more comfortable to express his thoughts. “You know certain people say that they do everything but they don’t dig deep into that craft”.

Artists at times do feel uncomfortable with sharing their work, based on the thoughts of how people might receive it. Nelson is in a position where he has to share different types of art. He only started videography and photography in February 2018 and he feels that he’s far from where he wants to be when he judges his own work. “With my videos, I wanna make movies, stuff that you look at and it deserves to be in Marvel Studios”. With the discomfort of sharing some of his work, he concedes that he has tons of concepts that he hasn’t released. He tries to figure out the best way to roll it out or whether it’s ready for public consumption. At the same time, he understands that not everyone will like his work.

Everything that Nelson knows is self-taught from YouTube tutorials but he concedes that he’s still willing to learn from the people around him. When putting out some of his art, he admits that it’s always been misunderstood, especially when he uses women in his illustrations. He explains how he was raised by women and women inspire his work a lot. “I was raised by women and I feel like my whole perspective is based around women”. He feels that people would often miss that and not value the art for what it genuinely means. Or not even make the effort to find out what is the real inspiration behind it.

When he’s working on new concepts you can find him frequenting The Werehouse, which is based in the centre of Durban. It’s a creative space that was found by Durban Hip Hop artists Aewon Wolf, it is also home to his music and art group the Wolfpack. Nelson was first brought to The Werehouse by Durban Indie artist Garde. “I actually didn’t know The Werehouse before Garde told me about it”. After that Nelson would spend most of his time there working on some new ideas on his laptop. He was already familiar with a few faces there, like Palmtree Paradise since he went to high school with them. From there on Aewon Wolf caught sight of his work and that sparked the big-brother-little-brother relationship that they have. Nelson and Aewon have since then become frequent collaborators, working together to create some brilliant art pieces.

At the moment Nelson is enjoying a gap year and spends time working on his craft. He matriculated in 2018 and felt that if he enrolled in a course this year it would’ve been for the sake of doing it. He believes he wouldn’t have been passionate about it, ironically it was a toss-up between Graphic Design or Architecture. Now with better sight of what he wants to do, he says that next year he’s planning to study film. In an effort to improve his skills in the cinematography field. You can check out more of Nelson’s work on his personal instagram; nelsonthearies_