This body of work, titled SKIN, revolves around the concept of layers. What is skin? It is the shell, the outside and the inside. It is what is first to be seen and read by others. Peel away the various layers and you will meet the human, the person, the soul. It is this being who like the skin it inhabits, is ever changing, shifting and growing. I touch on the universal concept that like the skin of our bodies we are all unique, beautifully flawed and ever - evolving. Every moment and every experience is a chisel that shapes and hones us while we wander this earth. TECHNIQUE My mixed media technique that I apply here strongly contributes to the idea of the individual as multi layered, not only in a physical sense but in a mental and spiritual capacity as well. These huge portrait studies all have the feel of a collage in which certain areas are left completely barren par from a couple of lightly drawn lines on an unpainted canvas through to pockets that are consists out of many layers of thinly applied oil that is rich in colour and has a transparent feel to it. We are as humans forever unfinished and everchanging till the day we cease to exhist. In their larger than life capacity they are unsettling as they look you directly in the eye. Here the viewer is invited to ponder the saying 'The eyes are the windows to the soul'. Within this technological era that we find ourselves in, we can manipulate our image, our 'first impressions' of ourselves to the world outside. We are losing our personal touch with one another and so find that we no longer look each other in the eye and make real eye contact . Thus we lose our ability to have deep and meaningful relationships. TITLES The titles of the works explores the theme of relationship with self and others further. The often austere, contemplative subjects are off set by light positive one word titles bringing to mind the feeling one often experiences first when thinking or concentrating on a loved one.
Anina Deetlefs was born in 1973. She obtained her Degree in Graphic Design at the University of Stellenbosch in 1995. While working in the fashion and interior design industry, both locally and internationally, Anina pursued her painting career part-time. Since 2006 she has worked as a full time artist, developing her own colour-rich technique of oil painting. In 2011 Anina was chosen as one of the 73 finalists of the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition.
StateoftheART Gallery Award, Finalists Exhibition, Cape Town
Group Exhibition at Young Blood Gallery, Cape Town
Tell us about yourself. Where are you based and where do you get your inspiration for your work?
I am Anina Deetlefs. I am a born and bred Capetonian. I live in a 70's style beauty in the leafy suburb Eversdal in Durbanville with my husband Johannes and my three children, Nicholaas, 12, Christiaan, 10 and Anna-Sophia, 5, together with our three Scottish Terriers: Mungo, Bonnibelle and Fin. I am a lover of all things beautiful and have many passions from beautiful shoes, fashion, flowers to books, but my biggest passion is definitely painting and creating art.
I obtained a Degree in Graphic Design at the University of Stellenbosch. My husband and I then spent a number of years living and working overseas, both in New Zealand and in Holland. We returned to SA 13 years ago.
I worked in the fashion and the interior design industry but have spent the last decade honing my painting skills. I was a finalist in the Sasol New Signature Competition in 2011 and had solo exhibitions at Rust en Vrede Gallery and Youngbloods Gallery. In 2017 I was a finalist in the top 60 Sanlam Portrait Competition. For the Sanlam Portrait Competition I had entered one of the Skin works, titled ‘Beautiful’. This work has since been sold and is currently residing in Germany.
What inspires me?
In reference to my work, I see my style as diverse which is a reflection of the diversity of my inspiration. For my portraits I definitely draw inspiration from loved ones and relatives. Our shared experiences are a constant motivator for deeper thoughts surrounding certain matters. During the creation of the ‘Skin’ works, we were in the process of renovating our home and ended up living in a building site for a couple of months. Hence these works reflect a much deconstructed style.
Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
I do not know if I would call it rituals or habits, but I definitely do have a work process. I usually contemplate and think about a theme for quite some time. Once the theme is established, I tend to plan the finer details, the number of canvases, colour palette, size of the works etc. I take all my own photographs and tend to have some sort of story board. Since life is quite busy, I have to be disciplined as to when I set aside time to paint, this is essential. I wish I could say I paint to soothing classical music in the background, but sadly the BBC Home Channel seems to work best for me. I am fortunate enough to have a studio space at home and have the luxury to paint in front of a large window overlooking a beautiful garden.
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
I am not so up to date with the latest trend but at the moment I am following Artyfisheel, Visualatelier8, Contemporary Paintings and Mirtheferous to name a few on Instagram.These sites offer an amazing selection of the latest in digital art, photography and art in any other form. As for South African artists, I love the work of Bastiaan Van Stenis.
How is your work relevant in a South African context? And globally?
I think my art is relevant both in a SA context and a global context since I try to tell a story within each art work that is not just relevant to my subject that I am portraying but to the person viewing the art work as well. I explore issues that are deeply personal but universal at the same time.
In ‘Skin’, I touched on many of these universal aspects. Here are a few: The skin is the outer shell containing and protecting the fragile spirit within. From the day we are born till the day we die, our unique skin is ever changing, shedding and evolving as we as human beings are forever growing and changing whether in body, mind, emotion or spirit. I touch on first impressions and how that changes as we get to know and love someone. These works are left unfinished as we are at all times, in a state of incompleteness. I explore the notion of living in a digital world where there is no filter as to what you share and where there is no eye contact anymore. We are constantly in contact/ face time, yet it is all “skin- deep". We have lost the ability to look someone in the eye, rather the image we portray we can manipulate into what we want the world to see. We often use a peer group, public figure or celebrity as an indicator of how we should portray ourselves. This whole process is stripping us of our own individuality and ability to think for ourselves.
What do you think South African artists can contribute to the global art market?
I think we can greatly contribute to the global market by providing undervalued SA artists with the right exposure on an international platform. The diversity of our SA culture is reflected in the diversity of the rich, fresh and controversial art the SA artists are producing.
What do you think of the StateoftheART Gallery Award as a platform for emerging artists in South Africa?
I think this award offers an incredible platform for artists. I like the fact that it is open to all artists specializing in all forms of contemporary art.
How do you think selling art online and marketing through social media is valuable?
In this day and age it is extremely important to sell and market on-line. ‘The world is our oyster.' The internet is a great opportunity for emerging and established artists and buyers to enter the visual art market and of course shape its development. I do however believe that working with an established art gallery is still of the utmost importance and that the online selling space should never replace the offline selling space.
Do you have any plans for the coming year?
Oh there are many plans. As always I am actively working on my paintings. My business partner and I started a small boutique design and homeware company a couple of years ago called Tjirpie. We design and supply prints, textiles and ceramics to upmarket gift shops. For this coming year we have a couple of projects that involves custom designed items for some of our clients.