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Young, creative and free!

Picture: Robyn Pretorius
Picture: Robyn Pretorius

Artists help us to reflect and make sense of the world as it continues to shift. Here, two artists share snapshots of their reality and let us into their creative process.

Robyn Pretorius

Painter

Glamour: What's your approach to art?

RP: I have a deep appreciation for classical and photorealistic methods of painting. However my upbringing has always been visually stimulated with street art which often carries through into my art today. An aesthetic that I use with realistic portrait painting.

Glamour: What's your main source of inspiration?

RP: I am mostly inspired by my encounters with people, especially personalities that have multicultural identities. I am inspired by their stories and the environments that have influenced them. But a walk in nature, an art community and a good playlist of deep house tunes does the trick as well.

Glamour: Please share your creative process with us?

RP: Well, after a deep mental process of planning and how I’d start painting what I envision, I do a quick sketch to prepare the concept. My background is always loosely created and often with mixed mediums such as spray paints or collage. The unpredictability of using other mediums makes the process fun. Lastly, the canvas is completed with a realistically painted subject.

Glamour: What kind of themes do you tackle through your work?

RP: I like to create artworks that celebrate multicultural identities. They are often personalities that are visually inspired by their diverse cultures or subcultures which hold some really interesting stories. I find pleasure in trying to interpret their likeness and vibrancy. Some portraits I create are from random encounters, family, friends and sometimes fictional characters. I absolutely love portrait art and the realistic methodology around form, body and tone which is complimented with an array of colour to celebrate human aesthetic.

Glamour: What is the role of art in a time of COVID-19 and beyond?

RP: Art has many roles and can be used in many creative ways. I think the experiences of most artisans within any pandemic would change and evolve because the art is connected to the experiences of its creator. Its diversity in perspectives and visual stimuli is what will create a moment of pause for others to enjoy or critique. To look and observe something new apart from the stress of COVID. As a painter, I hope that my artwork will continue to create a sense of wonder, relief and vibrancy in these difficult times.

Glamour: Would you also say that art is a form of therapy as we navigate uncertain times?

RP: I can only speak on my own experience working through this crazy time, but one thing I do know and believe is that art making can be a very healing experience. It allows you to explore multiple perspectives through practice and maybe learn something new about yourself within that moment. My art has definitely played its part as a positive focus during lockdown and allowed me to reflect and refine my craft. I can’t express enough how grateful I am to know that my years of hard work and passion for art is what would keep me sane and motivated during a pandemic.

Glamour: In your opinion, what's the future of art?

RP: I think as humans develop, artistic thought and practice will continue to surprise and evolve with us. Art is not a separate entity, it's cerebral, it’s a language and it’s a human experience. So who knows where we all will be in the future and what new experiences will influence our artistry. I mean, look at how we have evolved creatively. Every creative invention, media and art practice today started with a single carved bead and a handprint against a rock. I can’t say which direction art will go in the future, but I do hope my art sticks around long enough to show the beauty we embody today.

Lauren Mitchell

Designer and illustrator

Picture: Lauren Mitchell

I like to approach all my work with the intention of using it for good. All the greatest creative work has a real-world impact and I try to apply that to each and every project I work on. My main source of inspiration is the incredible ever-growing talent in this country, the people I work and collaborate with, the problems our country faces, as well as how creativity can be used to make a difference in these spaces and communities that really need them, especially after covid-19. My work is all about community and working towards a common goal, much like the main idea behind Sisonke Mzansi, we need to band together to really make a monumental difference. This can be seen in my work 'Side by Side' as I bring people standing together and standing for something. I generally tend to tackle things like equality, inclusivity, GBV and female empowerment. I like to use my platform as a safe space for opening up a dialogue about something that might be difficult to talk about while using conversation and engagement as a way to drive education and hope for people to feel seen and heard. The role of art in Covid-19 has been such a surprising one, at a time where everything fell to pieces, creativity and art was able to bring people together, keep them busy, create jobs, feed communities and help keep people and businesses afloat. Art connects people and will continue to do that long after the effects of Covid-19. Art as a means of self-expression and a way for me to engage with my audience online has been a very necessary and rewarding experience during 2020. There are many different ways to connect with people remotely, I like to do it with my work. The future of art, hopefully, will become more accessible. It will be favoured as a device for education and sustainability and it will move us into spaces that we never thought were possible. Creativity for good is only just making its first steps and I can't wait to see how we can use it to make the world a better place for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!

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