I got into bed with Anthony Bila , aka The Expressionist , to chat about The Next Big Thing, South Africa’s answer to Oswald Boateng, and what he has in store for the future.
NSB: Tell me when you first picked up a camera, and what happened from that point onwards?
AB: Well it actually hasn’t been that long, first time I ever ever ever picked up a camera was almost a year ago now. It was actually surreal, I literally picked it up, saw how I wanted the image to look in my head, pointed the camera & started shooting. It really was that simple, I hadn’t picked up a book on photography or anything like that. I believe the word is…instinct. That’s what’s driven me up to now.
NSB: What were you doing a year ago ? Do you think that day made you kind of change course in life?
AB: Well it’s kind of the other way around. I quit my job as an account executive because I really didn’t feel like it was what I was supposed to be doing. After I quit that job, my mind just cleared, I had an epiphany & that’s what changed my course. I discovered photography after that. All I know is that I wanted to create & I needed to work in a field that either gave me room for that or was what I actually did.
NSB: You’ve made a pretty big impression in just a year. Whats your work ethic like?
AB: All I know is that I love what I’m doing and that negates it feeling like work. I think a lot of bloggers/photographers are just doing the whole social media thing cause it’s “cool right now” and it shows in their work. I also have international aspirations so the work needs to be of a calibre where it’s world standard.
NSB:Dope, that’s a high standard to set for yourself! What are your thoughts on South African fashion at the moment?
AB: I’m kind of disappointed in it generally, I think if someone dresses outlandish or ridiculously people hail that as fashion forward, when to me, a lot of the time, it’s fashion foolish. There are pockets of young urban fashion that are exciting though, also there are individuals who just express themselves through clothes and that excites me. I mean, a lot of “hipsters” were once the Ed Hardy wearing generation of yesteryear. You know who you are.
NSB: Who do you think is this country’s next big thing?
AB: Wow, there are quite a few people to look out for I feel. Without being a douchey cliche, BMK is doing great work all round, Max Mogale is working on some really dope projects, the “I see a different you” trio too are doing insane work and hopefully, me. Oh and a good friend of mine, designer Zano Sithetho. He won the Renault new talent search, he is South Africa’s answer to Oswald Boateng.
NSB: Aww you’re too kind! any plans for the future that the people should know about?
AB: I’m working on a few projects that involve a fashion short film, a range of t-shirts, a gallery exhibition of my photographs and paintings as well as some projects with a few national and international brands.I’m looking forward to putting it out there and collaborating with other creators. It’s an exciting time to be in South Africa!
NSB: We’ll be looking out for your work in the future, Anthony Bila! Thanks for stopping my and jumping in bed.