If you find yourself passing through the streets of Newtown, Braam, Maboneng, and Troyeville you're most likely to see the mark of Lauren Opia and her haunting eye illustrations.
The 19-year-old graffiti artist was born in Johannesburg and has lived in the city her entire life.
From a young age, she has used art as a form of self-expression, despite the fact that there aren’t creative people in her family.
Different facets such as cinematography and interesting set designs in films inspire her work. From living in a city that has an abundance of murals and graffiti art that regularly shifts the display of the inners city, Opia has been exposed to a large amount of graffiti art.
The artist, who has taken time to develop her style, constantly works on improving and perfecting it.
The word ‘Opia’ is a fabricated word created by a psychologist signifying the abstruse intensity of looking into someone’s eyes - a feeling that can be experienced as invasive and vulnerable in chorus.
She told bubblegumclub.co.za that she chose this pseudonym, as it is how she feels when creating her work for the public to see. It also ties in with the use of eyes in her graffiti pieces that are her signature.
Just like most artists, I put a lot of myself into my art so sharing it with others is quite terrifying. However, I hope that there are some people that feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable when viewing my graffiti instead of it just being a background for a teenager’s selfie— Lauren Opia, graffiti artist
This article first appeared on 702 : Lauren Opia's haunting eye illustrations across Jozi