I did this interview in 2018 with my convention and merchandising agents, 4EverOdd.
1. Tell me a little about you. Where did you grow up? Can you tell me a little about your family? Also, what are your other interests? (Things like books, movies, sports, pets etc.) What does your family and friends think of what you do?
I was born and spent the first 25 years of my life in Bloemfontein – a small city in the Free State. I have two brothers – one is a musician and the other works as an editor and also translates texts. None of us followed in our father’s footstep to pursue a career in the medical profession: Guess we saw that it is way too stressful. My dad is a paediatrician and my mom an English teacher, but both are also artistic and musical. My Grandmother was a sculptor and art teacher too. I am lucky to have an extremely supportive family. My parents actually encouraged me to study art and were even fine with my choice to discontinue my Master’s degree to pursue a freelance career when I was 23. I don’t have too many interests apart from drawing and writing. I am an avid reader of all genres and try to squeeze some reading time in at the end of each day’s hard work. I am also a film enthusiast but unfortunately rarely get time to watch all the films I would like to. I also jog and love hiking in the mountains around the city where I currently work and live (Cape Town). I have a Bonsai called Friedrich that I love dearly; he is a beautiful and quite rare Atlantic Cedar.
2. If you weren't an artists, what would you be?
I could see myself being a Psychiatrist. I am fascinated by mental health and am quite an empathetic person. Many of my works are symbolic and metaphoric representations of mental conditions. Some of my biggest collectors are psychiatrists and psychologists.
3. I would like to know about how you got started. Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career in the arts? What was your early career like?
The cliché about drawing since I could hold a crayon definitely applies to me. I have always been drawing and continued doing so throughout my school career – covering my exercise books in doodles and character designs to the consternation of my teachers. When I reached grade 12 I realised that the only thing I could really do above a level of mediocrity is drawing, so that is why I decided to study art. My career options were thus quite limited, but I think limitations are a good thing, since it espouses focus and clear intent.
Early in my career (at the tender age of 23) things were quite tough, but the whole idea of drawing and selling my drawings to generate an income was so exciting it kept me motivated. At the start I set up tables outside restaurants and sold my work directly to the public: Humble beginnings indeed, but it taught me the importance of public relations and putting yourself and your art in the public eye. Soon I started taking on commissions, illustrations and in a few months I was exhibiting in local galleries. After 2 years of doing this, I started to saturate my market in Bloemfontein and moved to Cape Town. Living and working in a large city did wonders for my career and I am thankful to be able to participate in many group and solo exhibitions each year.
4. A tricky but important question - what inspires and motivates you? Where do your ideas come from?
I Find inspiration and motivations from my belief in the transformative nature of art. I do not want to aggrandize what I do, but I do believe that art in its many forms make life worth living (which sounds like a cliché, but that’s what I believe). This pursuit of meaning through art is also what inspires me.
In regards to the origin of my ideas: I won’t be able to give a clear-cut answer since I truly have no idea where they come from. I read a lot (all genres) and listen to A LOT of music and this definitely seeps into my unconsciousness and has an effect on what I create.
5. What is your favourite medium to work in?
Ink in all its forms: Ballpoint pen, technical pen, gel pen, brushpen, dip pen and sable brushes.
6. If you were not allowed to work in black, what colour would you use?
7. How would you describe your own style. What draws you to this style? What about it entices you?
I work in a symbolic and psychological style with a strong esoteric undercurrent. I am not always quite sure what my works symbolize, but there is definitely a sense of some external signifier being alluded to by many of my creations. I guess in a similar way as with the sub consciousness, it is difficult to decipher what I draw and this sense of mystery is what puts my work in an esoteric space. The psychology in my drawings comes through in the pensive, introverted and ‘inward-looking’ nature of my characters. I am a big fan of Jung and there has been a lot of interest in my work from psychiatrists and psychologists. I am not quite sure what draws met to this style, I think there is no other way I would be able to express myself, so this attraction is in a sense instinctive and almost involuntary.
8. Do you have favourite characters among your many creations? If so, why are they your favourites?
I would say my pilgrim series of characters are quite close to me at the moment. Personally I am in an uncertain period of my life, but more than that, the constantly displaced nature of pilgrims (seekers) hold a lot of interest in for me. I am actually a very domestic (work obsessed) person and perhaps therefore the mercurial aspect of pilgrims are alluring to me as an escape from my own mundane and habit regulated reality.
9. What are you working on at the moment?
I am completing one original drawing each day of 2018. On top of that I still have some commissions I have to complete, but I have decided to not take any freelance jobs in the future. I want to focus all my attention to my personal vision this year (and hopefully for the rest of my existence).
10. What are your future plans?
I want to bring an element of mobility into my working life. I would love to start working overseas at artist residencies and to break out of the controlled environment of the studio. Focusing on sketchbook work is one of my tactics to inject some fluidity into my artistic practice. Other than that I will just continue advancing my career one drawing at a time.
11. Do you have a message for your fans?
I am truly thankful for all the positive comments I receive (both online and offline) that keeps met motivated to continue doing my work. I am also deeply touched by the people who spend their hard earned money on my drawings in order that I can live and draw more pictures.
12. Do you have a word of advice for aspiring artists?
Work hard and work smart. But you will only learn how to work smart after years of stumbling around in the dark, making many stupid mistakes. So to start off, just work very, very, very hard. Learn to love the process behind the creation of your art otherwise you will be a very unhappy human being.