Sharp as a Smarteez*

Smarteez: “a fashion collective based in Soweto”.

Ed Suter is one of those guys who seems to be good at anything and everything. I know because in the years I’ve been friends with him, I’ve marvelled at his general enthusiasm, his apparently endless fuel tank, his ability to make connections, know things, go places and land himself a variety of fabulous freelance jobs because of the idea machine in his head that happily enslaves him. He is the kind of guy who makes by-the-by mention that he is publishing a book. I asked to have it sent to me, but it took him ages to get around to it, demonstrating a typical Ed-insouciance about the prolific creative blur that is his life.

Ed has allowed me to show some of the pictures from Sharp Sharp, and here’s what I thought of the book:

Sharp Sharp

Ed Suter

Quivertree

This is the closest a book can come to a desirable toy you just want to have so you can have it. Its shocking pink, yellow and gold cover looks like loaded candy.

The problem with things that are lick-me-I’m-lollipop pretty is that they contain zero nourishment, and leave a sticky slick of pointlessness coating your inner cheeks.

But Sharp Sharp is a bling anomaly: both addictive and illustrative; aesthetic and sharply sensible to a culture that is by no means “sub”, but is certainly side-lined by slick commercialism. It celebrates riotous, rebellious individualism, heaving a resounding cheer down South Africa’s urban by-ways.

Interspersed with colourful pictures of sartorial flair, dappled cityscapes and hand-painted signage, are zippy quotes by street artists.

This book is, on every front – from Ed’s bull’s-eye lens, to the aesthetic it celebrates, to the book’s exceptional, tactile and sharp-sharp production – a homage to a gritty, happy, anti-twee South Africanness.

Here’s where you can see more of Ed’s work and here’s where you can check out publisher’s website.

 

Posted under: Indiscriminate Devotion

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