The Mars Effect

Graffiti Artist Mars

 The Glass Recycling Company hosted their inaugural Art for Glass Graffiti Competition in Johannesburg. The aim was to draw the attention to the city’s numerous glass banks; as many wanting to recycle are unsure of where to do so. The creativity portrayed on the glass banks will ensure future awareness of glass recycling. The competition called on graffiti artists, like Mars to submit their art to stand a chance to paint their art and have it displayed on glass recycling banks. The top three finalists then had to paint various glass banks. Mars tells us more.

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Mars, an alias I chose when I was 15. I was out with a friend of mine; I first drew a little alien character on paper and then sprayed it on the wall. I wanted to write something next to it; so asked him for his opinion and he said I should write Mars.  At 15 it’s the most obvious thing that aliens come from Mars and it’s just stuck with me ever since.

Tell us more about your work.

 I am a Graffiti / street artist, use to be a graphic designer; I got a degree in multimedia design and pursued that after graduating. My company Kudos is the corporate identity of Mars the artist doing a lot of corporate and private work. It often has nothing to do with graffiti as a culture.  No one pays me to write MARS on their wall, but they pay me to make designs, write other words and do decorative work, paint at events, canvasses and offices. These are all kinds of things that relate to their brand or private life. I use spray paint, acrylic or whatever needed.

What is your preferred medium to work with?


What inspires you and do you have a favorite piece?

I just love painting, the actual physical act of doing it. I am constantly striving to learn more. I am inspired by other artists, art, friends, stress, love, life and death. I like to explore a variety styles and different things; diversity is key, so no favorite piece.

Describe your experience of the Art for Glass Graffiti Competition.

It was a good try at painting a 3d object rather than the usual wall format. The glass bank was a real challenge to paint.

The Ubiquity of Plastic; it is produce all over the world, ending up in oceans worldwide. A policy and behavioral change is needed. Where would you suggest starting, in however small way?

Start with discarding straws and plastic bags. Then recycle and keep on recycling. We should all be conscious of what we buy and where we throw it away.  Honestly with little effort, everyone can achieve this.

We can contribute to healthier oceans by making responsible seafood choices. Would you say this growing consumer demand will have an impact?

I firmly believe that the more people go vegan the better the world will be. I am vegetarian, so not quite there yet, but even cutting out animal products by 50% is still better than the current state. Consumer demand is all that matters in a capitalist society, so if no one wants to eat seafood, we won’t be catching it.

Have you seen a significant change in shopping, where bringing your own bags are encouraged, to reduce waste and fight climate change?

 I haven’t seen a significant change; but yes some changes are slowly happening.

Pam Longobardi started the Drifters Project. It is cleaning up ocean plastic pollution around the world and visualizing the problem through fine art. Should more artists around the world consider similar projects to raise awareness?

Sure, there are many ways to bring these issues to light for different audiences. Ideas can always be realized in a creative manner.

Do you agree with the perception that green living is expensive?

I feel that it may be a little more expensive, but once again consumer demand can change that.

Where was your last holiday?

Tel Aviv

You have worked on numerous projects. Do you have a favorite?

I enjoyed going to Mexico for a festival, that was a good experience, but they are all favorites!

You are meeting 3 famous artists (dead or alive) for lunch. Who would it be?

Michelangelo, Bansquiat and Dali.

Who would you still like to collaborate with?

A great deal of artists, but I would definitely like to do some more collaboration in the U.S and Europe.

Tell us about receiving the South African Hip Hop Awards for Best Graffiti Artist, twice?

It was great, totally unexpected as I didn’t realize one could get an award for graffiti. So was cool to get it twice.

What are your future plans?

Work, travel and keep on doing what I`m doing!

Name your favorite quote or mantra to live by

Cease the day.




Hello I'm Bernadette Erasmus from Cape Town South Africa.  I have a blog called Kaleidoscope, please do have a look.

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