To be honest, this year has not been kind to me. I’ve suffered an onslaught of disappointments, health issues and failures. But I’m still standing, and I still have some fight left in me. It wasn’t an entire fiasco, art-wise at least.
2019 has been a big year for my art career. My website launched, with a design that represents my artistic spirit, and I’ve had success in selling online, albeit a small number of sales. It feels like an absolute success to me because, in the past, I’ve only sold one measly artwork. It took me a few years to build up a substantial body of work and to find my artistic style and creative voice. It’s been a journey filled with so many learning experiences, all culminating in the next step forward: actually, selling my art.
I’ve also taken the step to approach art galleries. (Insert audible gulp) Finding gallery representation in art leaning on the darker side is tricky, but I was fortunate enough to be part of 2 exhibitions this year. The first was the massive group exhibition at the Julie Miller Investment Art Institute: Africa’s Art Collective Autumn Edition. It was a show-stopper of an event showcasing artwork from emerging as well as established artists in South Africa. My second exhibition was at the relaunch of Underculture Contemporary Gallery. The event was intimate, and it was a huge honour to showcase my art alongside fellow artists in a space dedicated to our unconventional aptitude.
Towards the end of the year, I’ve set aside the entire month of October to partake in the annual art challenges: Inktober and Drawlloween. Inktober is a worldwide phenomenon. Thirty-one days of creating artworks in ink with the help of a prompt list to get your creativity flowing. Artists and non-artists alike enjoy the challenge of creating artwork every day. Some of us decided to do a double challenge by joining Mab Graves’ Drawlloween Club. The same rules apply, but with a Halloween and pop culture themes, and instead of using ink exclusively, any medium is welcome. Halfway through, I started burning out and struggled to push through.
Shortly after Inktober / Drawlloween, I dived right into an artwork that’s close to my heart. Long it has been a dream of mine to create a Tarot Deck, but my limitations kept me from taking it further. I’ve been graciously accepted to submit a design for 78 Tarot’s up-coming deck: Tarot Ecological. Myself and 77 other artists from across the globe have been assigned a single card to create an artwork for. It has been the jolt I needed to start planning my deck.
Currently on my desk is a series of illustrations I’ve been working on entitled Delusions of Disintegration. I aim to have the series ready for an exclusive digital exhibition in 2020, which is an exciting project I’ve been planning.
Being an artist from humble beginnings, and knowing what it feels like to live in poverty, I’ve found that innovation plays an essential role in creating your art with limited resources. Mentorship was something I wasn’t privy to, which is why I’ve been forging connections with artists on social media, at various stages of their careers, offering advice and encouragement. Recently I launched a newsletter explicitly aimed at artists, to share the knowledge and resources I’ve gained throughout my life. It may be a drop in the bucket, but I struggled on my own to figure everything out, and I hope it adds value to someone. Seeing others succeed is something I value highly.
Nothing irks me more than pretentious people bragging about their supposed original artwork from someone who died centuries ago. Countless living artists make art that blows my mind, and to see them struggle for survival is unfair. Let’s make 2020 the year where we shove our art into the faces of the high-browed hypocrites. They can’t ignore us if we keep creating.
No matter what 2019 threw at you, or what the next year will bring, keep making your art.