Thando Mabena is a South African self-taught hyper-realism artist using graphite and charcoal as mediums. She aspires to capturing her subjects as vividly as she sees them, aiming for a photo-like finish. As a young, rather shy girl, she found her escape in art. She would flip through books and magazines and sketch whatever would catch her eye. Art for her was merely a hobby or pastime and she therefore studied towards a career in marketing and sales. After obtaining her marketing degree and spending a decade in the corporate world, her past time passion demanded more attention from her. It was at that time that she heeded the call to honor her natural abilities and talents. Today, Thando is a full time professional artist, doing mostly commissions and selling her artwork.