Q: The theme of passion and love plays a supreme role in your work. Where does your inspiration come from? Who is your muse? Do childhood memories play a role?
A: I’m inspired by my personal experiences in life. I remember when I was still a kid, I would always paint “mother and child” theme. I guess it’s because at that time, I can really feel the love from my parents and that inspired me to paint that kind of topic. Now, at my age, I’ve been inspired by love, passion and things I’ve learned in a relationship. I can say that all my artworks revolve around love and passion as the main theme. Love has influenced my life in so many ways that’s why I have the eagerness to capture that feeling through my artworks. As I mature, I also gain some wisdom and these things I’ve learned in life are what give me the inspiration to paint. I feel like it’s been easier for me to paint the emotion that is needed for the painting if I paint something from my personal experience. I am hopeful that somehow I can pass these life lessons that are close to my heart through my artworks so that people can also learn from them or be inspired by them.
Q: What does a work of art need to have to express desire, sensuality, or passion?
A: It is important that before I start creating a work of art, I already know the message that I want the artwork to deliver. If there’s a need for an artwork to express desire, sensuality, or passion, then the artist should have that intention from the start of creating the piece so every step that follows (the correct choice of color, movement of brush strokes and lines, expression of the subject) will be moving towards achieving that goal.
Q: In your work, can any subject matter express Passion or do you need the human element?
A: Being a figurative painter, the form of the human body, specifically the naked body, has always fascinated me. I find it elegant, classic and very relatable. There is also a feeling of “sincerity” that I love seeing on a naked form. These qualities inspire me to use the nude figure as my subject matter and as a perfect element to express passion.
I also believe passion can also be represented through painting even without the use of the human figure. For me, the correct combination of intention, color, composition, and line will make any art piece convey passion successfully.
Q: Do you need to have the right environment or setting to create art? If so what preparations do you make to prepare the surroundings you work in?
A: I am not that choosy on where I should work. My canvas doesn’t need to be on the easel and I don’t require a comfortable chair for me to sit when painting. As long as there’s a stable wall or even a bed where I can lean my canvas, a dry, clean floor where I can sit, enough light from the window or fluorescent light, then I can work with that.
I’m thankful that I have a very good permanent studio in my place in Cape Town, South Africa.
Q: Do you make your own set designs, and work with live models? Or do you work from photographs? Or perhaps pull everything from your experience and imagination? Tell us a little about your process.
A: Even if I consider myself more of a painter than a photographer, I still love taking a lot of photos of anything I find interesting. This habit has helped me collect a wide range of my own original references that I can use for my future painting ideas.
I often use my imagination and my available original photo references whenever I conceptualize for a new painting. I spend a long time at this stage because somehow this will dictate whether I’m going to have an easy or hard time working on the painting. This is the time wherein I plan on the concept that I will paint and decide whether it is worth my time to paint the concept or if it’s not going to work and better drop off the concept and just think of something new.
Q: How much time would you say you spend on the average to get a painting or body of work ready for a gallery exhibition? Can you share your experience with this process?
A: I take pride in my work. I always make sure that the artwork speaks to me and deliver the message that it’s supposed to deliver clearly, before I proceed with the next art piece. As I gain experience, I realized that it is not the quantity that is important but the quality, the heart, emotion, and passion that you put into an artwork; those are the things that make people remember your art and leave a mark through their hearts. I’m aware that sales are important but I’m proud to say that I create art for love and not for money. My priority is to connect with people and touch people’s hearts. It takes me at least three months of careful planning and passionate painting to finish a piece of art.
I always make sure that I have a good quality series of artworks before I accept any offers from any galleries.
Q: Do you have any advice for our readers about working with galleries?
A: I would like to share my story about galleries. By the time that I’ve decided that I will be a full-time painter, I thought everything is going to be easy. What I did first was, every gallery that I would pass by, without doing any research about them, I would ask on how can I apply to exhibit with them, without having any portfolio of works with me. Most of them would say that they don’t accept foreign artist and somehow that discouraged me. So I thought to myself, even if I don’t have any offer yet from any gallery, I will just focus on creating a good solid body of work; something that will show my strength as an artist. So I planned to create a series of work. This is the advice that I would like to give to all the readers, especially those who are just starting their art careers, work on your portfolio and just keep on trying to create good quality artworks. This will be your ticket to exhibiting to galleries. And before you approach any galleries, make sure that you do a research about them first, like if the artworks that they display are somehow the same style as yours.
Q: How do people usually respond to your art?
A: Having exhibited my artworks in different parts of the world, I often cannot be present at the gallery during the exhibitions. It always touches my heart whenever I would hear from the gallery the great feedback from the viewers. Several times, gallery owners told me that the viewers cried while looking at my artwork. There is also an instance when a husband bought my painting as a surprise gift and a sign of his love for his wife as he have seen her eyes sparkle while staring at my artwork. I have also received numerous emails from teenagers telling me how my artworks influenced them. The recent email I received was from a guy named John from San Francisco California. He told me that my art made a big impact in his life that’s why he has decided to tattoo my painting on his skin (he also attached a photo); that is very flattering.
Q: What are you working on at the moment? What are your plans for the future?
A: I’m currently working on a new series of artworks. My plan is to keep on creating artworks of exceptional quality.