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The link between visual art and music is hard to displace. Johannesburg visual artist and musician Grant Sissons understands this connection like no other and exploits it to its full potential. A multi-instrumentalist and electro-whiz kid and pencil, charcoal and acrylic visual illustrator, Sissons’ work weave a complex narrative. In terms of audio, the troubadour draws his inspiration from well-known bands and performers such as Radiohead, Com Truise, Thundercat, Jon Hopkins, Thelonius Monk, and Depeche Mode as well as numerous soundtracks from composers such as Johnny Greenwood, Nicholas Britell, Lustmord, Jóhann Gunnar Jóhannsson, and Mica Levi.


One of Grant’s biggest accolades was when he scored the music for a well-known commercial for The Nelson Mandela Campaign. The ad was titled ‘Man on the Hill’. The production went onto win the following awards:

Clio Gold Winner, Cannes Lions Nominee, Ciclope Best Original Music Nominee, Creative Cir-cle Winne, Bronze One Show Pencil, D&AD Wood Pencil, D&AD Graphite Pencil, Adage and Vimeo Staff Picks, Loeries Best Original Music and Sound Design Finalist, Loeries Gold Winnerand the Loeries Grand Prix Winner.

Watch the commercial here:

We caught up with the artist over email to get a little more insight into what gets his creative energy flowing.

Freedom’s a curse

Firstly can you give us your full name age and when you first got into art and music?

Its Grant Sissons, I’ve just turned 41. I got into music about 15 years ago. My first serious band was a rock band called Mugshot. Following that, I started my side project, myageisdigital, and have released music under that moniker ever since. I own an award-winning music composition studio called Kidwithamatch, and I score films and commercials through this company.

You seem to really embrace the connection between art and music, what was your first interest, visual art or music and do you think this correlation is important and why?

The Conversation

I’ve loved both mediums since I was a teenager I guess. Music was my main focus for a long time after that and I think I almost forgot how much I loved drawing and painting because I had such a singular focus on music at that time. In the last few years, I’ve realised that the two are not mutually exclusive and that I could do both and even extend that creative field into photography, writing, and filmmaking. It’s been a liberating experience to explore all of the facets of creative art.

You are a Johannesburg based artist, what is the creative landscape like there, and tell us a bit more about all the projects and businesses you are involved in?

Absolut Hands

I think it’s probably one of the richest provinces in South Africa in terms of creative energy. I’m also involved in film and I run a film production company called Infinity Pictures with two former bandmates. We often remind each other that if you can survive a band then you can survive anything.

In your opinion how important do you think it is being business savvy as an artist or do you think this takes away the purity of “art for art’s sake”?

The Curious Case of Fragile Masculinity

I think it is important but sadly I am not terribly business savvy. I really should have done that BCom instead of my arts degree 🙂 I do get bored quite quickly, and although I do believe in exploring multi-facets of your creativity, it seems to make sense to do one thing really well and to market that thing really well too. You just realise as you get older that it often takes so long for something to breakthrough.

It seems you are someone who embraces numerous mediums and platforms for expressing yourself, do you have a favorite artistic outlet? Are you equally passionate about all the mediums you embrace or is this purely out of necessity or survival?

The Organ

I’m equally passionate about all artistic endeavors. I’m most comfortable (and probably most proficient) in the musical space though because I’ve been in it for longer than any of the other mediums. At this stage, I’m really excited about writing and film-making, and film-making is what I really want to concentrate on. I found film late, but rather late than never.

Who are some of your favorite South African artists in any medium and why?

In music, I would say I am a big of Spoek Mathambo and Nakhane Toure. My favourite visual artists are William Kentridge, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky, and Andrew Kayser. And finally, my favourite film-makers and directors are Mark Middlewick, Oliver Hermanus, and Kim Geldenhuys.

The Wanderer

Listen to myageisdigital on Spotify:


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