Karabo Poppy’s customised Nike sneakers brought BUDX Miami to a standstill

South African illustrator, street artist and graphic designer, Karabo "Poppy" Moletsane, brought BUDX Miami to a standstill with her unique take on hip hop' s rich relationship with sneaker culture.

South African illustrator Karabo Poppy applying paint to a pair of sneakers
South African illustrator and street artist Karabo Poppy at BUDX Miami

The multi-award winning South African street artist, showed exactly what earned her the title “king of creativity” when she brought her A-game to the opening of BUDX Miami Super Bowl Weekend LIV this past weekend.

Her customised sneakers saw her transform some plain white NIKE Airforce 1 into some work of art, and as expected had sneakerheads from all walks of life eating out of their hands. 

Digging deeper into her imagination, not only did she manage to capture the symbiotic relationship between music and fashion, but also made sure that black female illustrators occupy their rightful place on global stages. 

Renowned for her unique design vernacular, Moletsane was fired up and ready to dazzle the minute the exclusive “Mansion Party” exploded into action at the South Beach Hotel with an incredible set by the American hip-hop trio, De La Soul.  

Karabo Poppy brought her A-game to BUDX Miami

Perfectly placed right in front of the highly energised live audience, she knew exactly what the brief required.

Likewise, she visually incorporated Budweiser’s slogan ‘The King of Beers’ iconic colours: black; red and white into her own unique designs, smoothly combining her distinctive Afrocentric and Afro-futuristic visuals into an innovative narrative.

“This was an amazing experience to share and showcase a distinctive African design aesthetic to other equally amazing artists and creatives from all over the world.”

She added: “To combine my love of sneakers and pay homage to hip-hop culture as an important element in my design style, and tell a story from an African perspective at an event like BUDX, which celebrates ‘kings of culture’ is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Who is Karabo “Poppy” Moletsane?

Trading under the name, Karabo Poppy, Moletsane is the first black female artist to paint the Art Wall in the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in California. 

In 2018, she was commissioned by Utah Jazz basketball team to transform a blank wall in Salt Lake City into a dynamic work of basketball art. 

Locally, some of her most celebrated works include the iconic Soweto’s Orlando Towers mural.  She was also entrusted with designing two of the Johannesburg’s Zoo Lake basketball courts – in collaboration with Nike.

Design trailblazer Karabo “Poppy” Moletsane

The young design trailblazer, who’s a member of Forbes Africa’s under 30 class of 2019, has won three Loerie Awards over the course of her career.

Her work has been recognised internationally as part of the Grammy-nominated music video Makeba, by French singer and artist, Jain.

She also has a 2018 Google Doodle tribute under her belt, which honoured female artists as part of the international Women’s Day.

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