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Saturday, October 20, 2012


(Dane Knudsen: Courtesy DUT website)

Dane Knudsen, a DUT graphic design Master of Technology student, flies to New York City in the United States of America (USA) today (October 20) for a one-week mentorship with an international hip hop artist.

Knudsen, who is the champion of the 2012 Sprite Uncontainable Hip Hop Talent Search in the graffiti category, has earned himself a rare opportunity to be mentored by hip hop great, Talib Kweli. Accompanying him on his trip will be the winners of the emcee and dance categories.

“Stops”, as the graffiti artist’s moniker goes, is eager to head to the Big Apple: “Winning this competition counts as further affirmation for what I do (graffiti). More importantly, it is the opportunity to visit New York which is widely acclaimed as the birthplace of graffiti, the mecca of hip hop and to me, the place that most of the musicians I listen to come from”, said Knudsen, adding that he hopes to gain more inspiration and influence from this trip.

Knudsen did not know what to expect when his friend suggested that they audition for a “graffiti battle” held at the Bat Centre in Durban. At the time, neither of them had a clear idea of what the competition entailed nor its magnitude. But learning more about the competition and the prizes enticed Knudsen, as well as emerging triumphant in the challenge.

The overall theme for the graffiti category, Uncontainable, coincided with the name of the challenge. The first round of the competition was flexible and allowed artists to express their creative flair. However, the last two rounds more challenging as artists were expected to follow specific competition rules and execute particular tasks.

The competition was an enjoyable experience that came with its pressures simultaneously. “I had the most stress before the finals,” Knudsen said. “This was because my competition was a friend of mine from Durban who goes by the name Dokter. We have painted against and with each other on various occasions and I knew his capabilities. He has beaten me before in other battles

Asked what he attributes his victory to, Knudsen counted his “experiences and influences gained through studying”; an ironic response for someone who initially had not considered studying Graphic Design. He feels at home when spray-painting and is determined to take his craft to new frontiers. “I hope to paint big walls around the world,” he said.

After completing his Master’s degree, he intends to continue his part-time lecturing career, imparting his knowledge to the first year drawing class.