Which artists, books or music have inspired your work?
James Elkins’ book: The Object Stares Back is a book that has informed my practice as a printmaker. His novel explores the blindness in sight which we all possess but are often not aware of.
Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
George Pemba. His paintings represented his community, the people he interacted with on a daily basis and the life he led. He did not try to create elaborate imagery but instead relied on what he knew and loved. His work emphasizes the theme of for the people by the people.
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Any of Monet’s water lilies would be a dream to have. After seeing them in person in 2019 in Paris I immediately fell in love with the use of colour and the scale of the works themselves. The wrap-around effect which they have in the Musée de L’orangerie creates such an immersive experience it feels like a fever dream.
Pick three artists who you would be honored to exhibit with – and why Monet, Banksy and Andy Warhol.
All three of these artists, although they work in very different mediums, all seem to have the ability to capture an audience like no other. Monet’s water lilies have an immersive effect on a room full of strangers who can sit and stare at the paintings without saying a word. Banksy brought art to the streets and created a ‘for the people by the peoples' mentality with their work. Warhol, similarly, took everyday images of the pop culture era and created art out of them, bridging the gap between the working class and the so-called ‘elite’ art world. All three have the power to unite people in various ways and it would be an honor to do the same.
How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
Since I can remember, I have always been a creative person. As a child I spent most of my free time drawing, painting or making something with anything I could get my hands on. Choosing art as a subject in high school was a no-brainer for me and it's been my passion ever since. I didn’t think that I could utilize art as a career but couldn’t see myself pursuing anything else in university so a degree in Fine Arts was a natural choice. I fell in love with printmaking very shortly after entering Michaelis and I’ve loved it ever since.
What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
Besides the obvious CMYK colour separation, I would say the main theme that runs throughout my work is trying to challenge people to see what they're actually looking at. Not just look but truly see, feel and respond to. In doing so I've tried to make people aware of current events and the lives others may lead which are different to their own.
What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?
Every image I have produced through screen printing comes from a real life experience of another person, place or community. The images I selected to create these pieces tell their own stories which every viewer should take the time to learn about and understand. We all have our own lived experiences but our lives can always be enriched by knowing someone else’s story.
What are the most essential items in your studio and why?
I would say the number one thing that by far outweighs the rest is my podcasts. I listen to podcasts every single studio session. As screenprinting can become very repetitive and is a very specific and particular art, it's very important to me to listen to a podcast, no matter what it's about, to get my head out of perfectionist mode. Listening to podcasts distract me from the nitty gritty of printmaking and allows me to just print without thinking too hard about what I'm doing. If I can distract myself with something else I find I can get more done than if I stop every five minutes to check on the editions. I'll spend the next few days after a printing session to look through all the editions but when I print I listen to podcasts. Besides podcasts, probably easy on the go snacks to stuff in my apron pockets. I love snacking while I wait for screens to dry or im waiting for the exposure unit to do its things. Some days in the studio can be up to 12 hours so food is important. Brain food and body food are essential.
Tell us more about your creative process.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depends on how you look at it, a lot of my creative process is based on repetition. Whether that be cleaning, emulsifying or exposing a screen the process remains the same but creates a different outcome every time. One unfortunate thing that I have noticed throughout the creation of these prints is as the repetitive mode of screen printing sets in, so does the numbing effect of what I’m looking at. Every now and then I caught myself forgetting what I was looking at, not realizing I was capturing someone’s hardest moments in their life. I have had to bring myself back to the core of what I was doing and why I was doing it. Image selection is probably the toughest part of my creative process as it involves a lot of sifting through heartbreaking and terrifying images, but its all worth it knowing that my work may raise awareness for another’s hardships.
Do you believe an artist should use their platform to influence society? Why?
Yes I do believe so. Perhaps not necessarily to influence, but I believe artists should use their platform to share meaningful and educational information so that the public has access to said information and can form their own opinions from there. I think everyone should be able to make their own decisions but they should have access to all information in order to do so. As an artist I think sharing what you believe in online is a positive thing and giving your viewer access to your opinion can be very helpful. However, it is imperative that your viewers use what you are sharing as one source of information and understand that doing their own research is just as important. If what an artist shares can be used to educate people and inform society on current issues then it can be a very helpful thing. However, if people take one person's opinion as law, it can become a slippery slope very quickly.
Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
Probably Monet’s water lilies purely because of the feeling it brought me to see something on such a large scale be so powerfully immersive to a room full of people.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I would say my greatest achievement so far has been completing my four-year undergraduate degree in Fine Art. It is one thing to have art as a passion but to try and make something concrete out of it is very difficult. Especially in tertiary education, being graded on something as subjective as art can be extremely challenging and very demoralizing, but having completed my degree, I can say that I am very proud of the journey I have been on in understanding myself as an artist as well as my pushing my limits in exploring my medium.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I am set to start my masters degree in Art Market Management this September (2023). My goal for this future endeavor is to learn as much as I can about the international art market and immerse myself in the process of collecting art. I hope to be able to do justice to the artists who may in the future trust me with the sales or marketing of their work. I aspire to give all artists the credibility they deserve as I myself have been there and know that being an artist is not an easy journey to take.