Pastel Heart

You may have seen Pastel Heart’s trippy large scale murals around the streets of Durban or seen his flashy fashion pieces on one of your friends. Nonetheless, this man believes in creating beauty, passion and art from his soul.


DIY: Who is Pastel Heart? Is it just a play on your surname? How do you identify with the words and their respective connotations?

Pastel: Pastel heart is a visual South African Artist, exploring working in the mediums of graffiti, tattooing, fashion, fine art, chalk art, digital illustration, and pastel heART as a clothing label in collaboration with Bianca Sweetman.

 No matter the scale, I make sure I create everyday.

DIY: Do you think working under a moniker/pseudonym gives you more freedom to express yourself as opposed to being confined to the person people know you to be or remember you were? When out and about in public, are you always ‘Pastel Heart’, or are there occasions when you are simply Matthew? When are those occasions?

Pastel: Pastel HeART is not a play on my surname, it is who I am. I do not use a surname these days. Pastel Heart’s description is self-explanatory. Pastel representing soft colour and heART meaning art from your heart. Working under this alias definitely gives me freedom to express as well as confidence in the person I have created, and not the name I have been born with. Who’s Matthew? Every occasion is an opportunity and is a blessed opportunity to be creative as the Artist pastel heART.



DIY: Looking back on your journey so far, what key moments influence the work you create now?

Pastel: My nostalgic key moments in my life are leaving school early to study art, the birth of graffiti began for me at the age of 17 and the first tattoo I did at 21. Of course Durban and South Africa are the biggest influences in my life. I really respect the city from where we have come and where we are going, especially in this short period of time. I think that is something really to be proud of.



DIY: What are you striving for with each mural you create?  Impact? Scale? Detail?

Pastel: I am striving to create more positivity and unity, especially in the art scene of Durban. I would also love to create unity between the older generation and the young generation of our motherland. I find that there is so much power struggle, conflict and too many people trying to be the alpha males. When Art is there to enjoy, not to get competitive over. So through doing my art, especially on walls, I feel that there will be unity by showing that graffiti is a form of art and it is positive. It is not just ‘tagging’ and hopefully the older generation will realize that graffiti is not just about vandalizing. To me, and I’m sure to many others, it is about creating beauty, passion and creating art from your soul. It is very spiritual, the moment when you step back to look at what your hands and mind have created is so rewarding.

We have the power to make an impact on our environment. Besides art, it begins verbally. Once the verbal constraints have been broken, it could lead to a more colourful, cleaner, and positive atmosphere. That is my motive as a graffiti artist. I thank God for my gift and I use it everyday and make it flourish through large scale street art or small pencil drawings. No matter the scale, I make sure I create everyday.



DIY: What do you find are the benefits of working on large scale paintings? Is the fact that you don’t have to constrain your ideas to a specific area (like a canvas, a3 page, etc) something that appeals to you? After working on such big areas do you find it difficult, in any way, to work in more specified parameters?

Pastel: As I said earlier, no matter the size, as long as I am creating I am content. I actually find it helpful to change mediums and size parameters, as I am always seeking new inspiration. It is good for my mind to keep changing medium and size, it keeps me creative and never bored. Whether it is doing a photoshoot or fashion with Bi, or painting a wall or a canvas, as long as my creativity is being used, I am happy.



DIY: Do some of the more surreal images in your paintings reflect any specific ideas, or are they chosen purely for their visual aspects? Do you use certain images as a sort of symbolic language which can give the viewer a deeper insight into your personal beliefs and views?

Pastel: I do find that my art represents specific thoughts and ideas although it does fluctuate. Sometimes there are hidden meanings in my art, and other times I do just create purely for visual aspects. There is always one thing that remains constant to me, and that is to remain positive.

Although I am not always aware of the symbolism in the art I am creating at the time, when I take a look at it through another eye, I am able to ‘unpack’ it and realize that there is always symbolism and hidden connotations in my art. Semiotics is a major role in my art as well as in the media. I focus on creating awareness, respect and positivity.



DIY: Why the transition into fashion? Have you always had the interest or have you just grown into it of late?

Pastel: I have always been inspired by fashion. I used to draw out of magazines all the time, and spend so much time reading them, and I have finally been given the opportunity to collaborate with Bianca. We work so well as a team, we both know what we want to achieve and especially when it comes to fashion we work so well together. She has a love for fashion and so do I, so finding someone to work with and to constantly be creative with has been so much fun and such a great opportunity for both of us. I have found it advantageous to branch out by creating pastel heart clothing, as well as doing a lot more fashion shoots and digital fashion work.



DIY: What are some of the challenges you are facing incorporating your art into clothes? How are you overcoming them?

Pastel: Although most of the challenges are not visual or a digital perspective, they are rather about not communicating the brand clearly enough that pastel heART clothing label is a collaboration and a sub brand of pastel heART, which is Art and fashion in one.



DIY: As someone who doesn’t spend most of his time behind a computer screen, in what ways do you think the internet will affect the future generation’s ability to make art?

Pastel: I think the tools of art do not matter, as digital art is just as respected compared to traditional art forms such as oil painting on a canvas.. This new generation will still create Art but the standard could slowly be diluting, as anyone could call themselves an Artist, as the access to art mediums are increasing rapidly. It is easier than ever before to download online tutorials, applications, books and programmes, whereas when I was younger and growing up in school, Visual Artists were seen as people who could draw or paint from talent and practice and not by going on to the internet to learn something. Although I am happy that it is ‘easier’ to become an Artist, as art is an expression of one’s self and I see that as highly positive.



DIY: What have you got in store for 2012?

Pastel: At the moment I am working on numerous mural concepts for the city. We (Bianca and I) are also working hard on our own clothing label. So watch this space.


You can follow what he gets up to over here.

34 Responses to “Pastel Heart”
  1. No. says:

    This dude royally fucked up a friend’s chest with one of the worst tattoos ever made. He uselss, dont give an idiot a tattoo gun.

  2. Jolling! says:

    I swear this dude is borderline retarded.

  3. Al says:

    His mural stuff is cool though – sorry about your friend.

  4. 2012 says:

    *Tattoo machine. They don’t fire bullets. And yes, bummer for your friend. Pastel Heart should stay the fuck away from anything involving electricity and needles piercing skin. Shit like that happens when everyone around you lauds your skills as ‘an artist’ (“You draw so well! You should tattoo!”) and you can buy sweet ass chinese shit off ebay.

  5. awe says:

    this o rocks it. one of the few durbanites still painting and burning.

  6. Love E says:

    Why do kids in Durban have nothing cool to say about anything?

    Let’s rather have a blog about how much we hate everything about everyone, Bob.

    Then let’s get smashed at Jackie Horner’s and pretend we dig each other.

    Pastel did more creative, cool shit last week than anyone on this comment strand will ever do.

  7. pastel heART says:

    !!!!!!!! AWEH !!!!!!!!!
    Thanks for the crit,- “no” why don’t you give me your real name,
    Just for the record, I have never tattooed any bodies chest,
    Surely if you are calling me a border line idiot u should find
    Out exactly who did that piece, before u make false accusations online.

    Whaaaa la la
    You must say it to my face,
    Rather keep it positive,durban is to connected to slander like that; cause it will just come to you!

    Here’s my official website:
    thanks for the support durban is yours

  8. Suck it up! says:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, its not just a Hipster-wank-fest hating on ur mate…and realistically you cannot imply a news feed represents anyone skillset in life-or ‘creative achievements’…people just get over freeloading assholes who live with their parents at 35…DBN can be as pretentious as Jozie…but you reap what you sew! Same story with the Life, Death and Chai…peeps want to be seen and eat free bunny chow~ lets not call it a ‘creative revolution’…Kevin was the only good thing there~ but DBN hipsters wanted to drink on a Thursday! Its simple…everyone disses the hipsters…but they are all hipsters themselves…On a side note…Pastel should cut his bloody dread…that thing is a health violation…not an anti-establishment commentary!

  9. Russell says:

    Hi Love E, welcome to the comments section. Notice that it’s different from the actual interview. In the interview we ask questions to artists and they tell us about their shit and we don’t pass judgement. Then OTHER people comment in the comments section. Not us. These are OTHER people’s opinions. Not DIY’s.

    Also, if you’ve read any of our more recent articles, we say a lot of cool shit about some other cool shit. Which is pretty cool, if you ask me.

    See you at Jackie Horner’s. I’ll buy you a pretend beer.

  10. pastel heART says:

    U say I can’t handle electricity,ok so called “2012” here’s an image of the second shaded tattoo I ever did,
    I’m self taught I, -I AM A DURBANITE, I use the best tatto equipment and Eternal Inks, GOOGLE IT. .


  11. Stathi says:

    This wasn’t supposed to become a Comment Flame War.

    Online hate is pointless and keyboard gangsters are very 2006.

    Just chill out and appreciate his work.

    That’s why we posted this, not to instigate a fight.

  12. Dustin says:

    Amazing work! I’m digging his street art max. He should definitely keep tattooing because when he peaks, he’s gonna be doing some really gnarly stuff.

  13. luke says:

    woof. well this got really stupid really fast.

  14. Love E says:

    Sorry Russell. I was talking specifically about the comment section.

    Just sucks that so many of the comments are negative on DIY…you don’t see it on other culture blogs in SA. For some reason, shit gets personal here. What’s the point of that?

    Whatever. This comment section should be deleted. All people do is troll each other about grammer and spend their lunch hour coming up with sarcastic comebacks.

    See you at Jackie Horner’s. Maybe have a real conversation.

  15. luke says:

    durban: city of opinions.

  16. Clayton says:

    Durban: city of the keyboard warriors.

  17. Jolling! says:

    Gotta love when people bitch about the comments section in the comments section.

  18. N says:

    Literally dozens of layers of stupid.

  19. N says:

    Oh, yeah, there was other stuff going on here, too. I like your clothing stuff, Pastel. Do that more. Interesting patterns and shit.

  20. Russell says:

    @Love E – We like to give people the platform to engage with our content. A lot of blogs disable comments entirely and I think this makes for an empty, one-way experience. Granted a lot of the comments we get are pushing the boundaries of dumb, we still think people should be able to say them.

    Oh, and in my comment earlier I sounded like an angry 12 year old. Apologies.

  21. luke says:

    wait. you aren’t an angry 12 year old? mind bloooown.

  22. Russell says:


  23. Durbancritic says:

    Pastel is by far one of the most original g’s to come from Durban, There is no denying that we have some of the most creative minds coming from our city. All I can hope is that this amazing mind chooses to stay in Durban and colour our walls with his inspirational pieces. And if anyone is going to crit Pastel on his tattoo’s it should be the people who have received one from him. It would be an honour to be tattoo’d by him. Big ups Pastel and please whatever you do never stop creating. We need more people like you in Durban.

  24. Skullboooooi says:

    Whoah, PastelHeart more controversial than allister! Nice interview, pasties!

  25. Tea Bags says:

    Pastel Heart is a young artist burning bright, and he’s come along way from where he first started. The fact that he’s branching out into different mediums including tattooing should be embraced, and encouraged. As the young passionate Durban creative that he is, his works going to exceed heights way beyond the heights of “no” and “Jollings”
    IQ. I,ll make an appointment for a tattoo tomorrow! Aweh! Keep throwing that positive shit up!

  26. Ozzie says:

    The guy in the cap, I seriously can’t believe it’s a painting – it’s so fucking good!
    Holy shit I’ve stared at that thing in newspapers, on this interview and on pastel heart’s site and daym I’m still so bloody impressed.

  27. Pastel is doing more shit than anyone else and he’s daaaaamn good. Case. Fucking. Closed.

  28. wade says:

    Ive got a piece done by Pastel and it came out beautifully, I couldn’t be happier. This man has talent and he is getting better and better.

  29. tnt says:

    Big ups Pastel! Getting off your ass to give people something to talk about, artists like yourself are few in Durban.
    Amazing work and top interview man

  30. For The Owenz says:

    Pastels my man, you are a machine. Living life to the fullest and creating every day – 99% of people deep down wish they could maintain such a creative lifestyle, it’s not easy and demands sacrifice – muchos respect ekse! Your art rocks & so does your hairdo – meet up!

  31. Azzerotica says:

    Bi-polar recognise bi-polar.

  32. Wesley says:

    Yoh! Aweh! I recently met Pastel and he is a nice guy. He has a lot of talent. All the people who posted such negative comments here are idiots. I’d rather have a friend with a purple dread lock than some kid with vans, black frames and a beanie..

  33. Ozzie says:


    Durban is better for having so much ++++PASTELheart++++ large pieces. Stokes me out on a daily basis

  34. R.I.P Pastel Heart says:

    I still can’t believe you’re gone.
    Thanks for everything, you words and work will love on.

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