GQ exclusive with Courvoisier ambassador Fhatuwani Mukheli
Fhatuwani Mukheli is a man of many talents who began his creative journey well over a decade ago.
Fhatuwani is the co-founder of I See A Different You, a creatives collective platform which stretched open the creative playing field and influenced menswear in South Africa.
He has collaborated with the world’s biggest brands in a decade span career and has inspired up and comers with his signature Afro-modern aesthetic.
Fhatuwani’s ‘joie de vivre’ is echoed in his partnership with the most awarded cognac in the world, Maison Courvoisier, which now boasts a new look and packaging – an irresistible invitation to experience this spirit in a glass.
GQ South Africa caught up with Fhatuwani, to chat about his continued relationship with the award-winning cognac, Courvoisier, and giving back and redefining what it means to be a modern man.
GQ: Your partnership with the award-winning cognac, Courvoisier, is growing in leaps and bounds, please take us through it; how did it all begin and how is it going now?
Fhatuwani Mukheli (FM): It started with a conversation with one of the brand’s agency directors – Luntu Sishuba – he had been chatting with me about it for months before it actuality happened.
Then he called me mid last year saying it’s a go and the client liked me as a person and as a brand.
Right now, I can easily say this one of the best partnerships I have ever been in involved in. The brand only wants to enhance what I do and what I believe in.
They don’t want me to be anything else but myself. This is honestly the best thing any artist can have. They are a supportive structure that requires me to be the best version of myself.
GQ: What do you enjoy most about it?
FM: That I’m free and I don’t have to be nothing I’m not. If I say I have an idea, they are always onboard with it.
GQ: How is it different from other partnerships you are involved in?
FM: Everything about it. I’ve never had a partnership that doesn’t want me to say things their way or tell me not to post unnaturally a thousand times.
All they want for me is to have the best time and share that moment with my friends and family. No set or scheduled posts etc. Just be yourself Fhatuwani – it’s unreal. The best partnership ever.
GQ: What is your intention and how do you use the Courvoisier platform to further enhance others or build other creatives in the same field as you?
FM: Right now, I’m working on a mentorship program with the brand, where I’ll have a few young artists visit my studio and share my knowledge with them. I also have an exhibition coming up in Washington DC.
The brand will be helping with making sure my first solo show is a success by catering refreshments in the space and capturing the whole event on video and photography.
GQ: Over the Easter holidays, you took a short left to Italy, do you mind telling us a little more about this trip?
FM: The trip was my first international group show with The ITSLIQUIDE group in Venice Italy, I was part of the show that went through the Venice Biennale. A very big moment for me as an artist and a dream come true.
GQ: What did you enjoy the most on the trip, and what would you say is the one thing you brought back with you from all the creative A-listers you probably met while you were there?
FM: Hahaha! Damn if you eat Italian pasta, you’ll never enjoy it anywhere else. Also, what I learnt in the arts is that you put your work out there.
Looking at other artist showcasing there I realised being great in art starts with you, you have to believe it before anyone else does.
All art is great, all artists are great, the difference is how each see themselves – great or average.
GQ: In your opinion, what is the relationship between the art world and the business world?
FM: They are the same thing. The greatest thing about art is the business side of it, you need to be able to convert your creativity into an income and that on its own is art.
GQ: How do brands such as Courvoisier continue to build relations with creatives such as yourselves? What would you say are the fundamentals?
FM: The fundamentals are what they are already doing for me, helping me grow as an artist by supporting my ideas and growing my brand through their marketing.
They are basically giving me a platform to showcase myself as an artist and anything I believe in.
GQ: What would be your biggest achievement and how would you like to be remembered?
FM: I would say, it’s exhibiting at the Venice Biennale with the ITSLIQUIDE group.
GQ: Give us three things that you think anyone who aspires to be like you must follow?
FM: Happiness is a choice, being good at anything is a choice, chasing your dreams is a choice regardless of your life circumstances. Be obsessed with what you do and love it.
GQ: Where do you see your relationship with the brand, Courvoisier, in the future?
FM: I see myself growing with the brand to a point where I might even have my own bottle.
For more information visit Courvoisier on Facebook and Instagram. #CourvoisierSA
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