Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

Creative SA: Miche Watkins

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Rose McClement

In the spirit of moving forward with this series, I would like to introduce you to another South African artist, Miche Watkins.  Miche and I met online – how that came about I just simply can’t remember.  But you know the story, if you knock around a few online portals long and often enough, you find one another.

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

Since that first time a few years ago we have kept pace with each other via Facebook largely, until Miche visited Cape Town last year, when we had the opportunity of catching up eyeball to eyeball. Although Miche relocated to the UK a few years ago to be close to her family, she lived in Cape Town for a long time. That I think was the glue that formed the bond early in our friendship, the fact that I used to post images of beautiful Mother City and she would respond with great yearning.

I’m not much of an art “knower” or a “knower of art”, but this I do know about myself… I know what art appeals to me. Over the past few years I have exposed myself to more and more artists and in doing so I have come to understand that which appeals to me and that which just goes over my head.

The question then is what is it that appeals to me about the body of work that Miche brings to the world?  It is her particular style of Pop Art-ish line drawings – she only introduces a hint of red or colour that I am simply taken with.  They are funky, contemporary, youthful and more often than not, faceless images.

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

As a decorator finding something that is appealing yet not specific in terms of its image, is a very big draw. Her art can be installed into offices, hotels and residences alike – any space that can indulge a bit of contemporary funk. I see Miche’s art hanging on the walls of some trendy millennial’s apartment or in the room of an edgy teen.

She has recently introduced another element into these clean lined paintings – that of Street Art.  It’s the combination of the street art and line drawings that work for me. Take a look for yourself and you decide if this art appeals to you or not.

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

In closing let me add that I have great admiration for artists who put out their work for the public to scrutinise – possibly appreciate, or possibly criticise.  They are such a brave crowd of creatives. Plus having to market their work in an already overcrowded arena and run it like a business – that takes extra commitment to the cause.

Futher, I know that Miche puts her heart and soul into her paintings as well as her business.  Hats off to her!

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

Her work can be seen and purchased on the online art portal, State of the Art, as well as the bricks and mortar State of The Art Gallery in Bree Street, Cape Town – the heart of our buzzing city.

You can also follow Miche on FacebookInstagramTwitter.

Plascon Trend Talk – Part Two

So let’s continue on from where we left off in our last post while covering the recent Plascon Trend Talk “Reflections on the Future” event.

Lianne Burton   – past editor of Elle Decoration.

Plascon Trend Talk - Lianne BurtonOMG – she has the most soothing tone of voice – what a pleasure she was to listen to. Clearly she is a methodical story telling person, who is able to paint a picture with her words.  She supported her content (words) with the most compelling and appropriate images.  Not getting the picture of her topic, Urban Millennium, was out of the question.  She made it so easy to follow.

In short, in her presentation she identified that the major shift we are facing is a move from the idea of “human nature” towards the concept of “urban nature” now that the majority of the human population lives & grows up in cities versus rural areas.  The stats apparently support this by revealing that the numbers for city living is overtaking that of rural country areas. Oh dear me! But thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. People have been flocking to the cities for decades now. At least we know that the country towns will still be there for us to do our getaway thing!

Interestingly, she suggests that trends start on the streets and spread virally, coming largely from cities. This is because cities offer diversity, proximity, possibility, and pace of change, identity and creativity. Social media is naturally the perfect platform to encourage and accelerate the spread of trends – and again Pinterest has been acknowledged as being a prime avenue.  Yet, the way I see it going, these urban culture trendsetters are the very people who are taking what rural / country life has to offer to mix into their trendy designs.

But I definitely think she has a strong point here.  You just have to look at Japan as a good example of Urban Nature –such a huge number of people living and growing up in a dense urban environment.  I did not know this, but in an effort to retain a sense of individual identity we ‘urbanites’ often run the maverick route.  Enter Japan – this is seemingly where the trend to pop streaks of pink, purple or whatever colour into your hair originated… well, I’ll be damned.

Therefore, by default as we adapt to this way of life, we will seek creative ways of expressing ourselves and making our urban environment a happy space to inhabit. Particularly in a concrete jungle that a city can be. I am tempted to think that the transformation that Woodstock is undergoing could be a product of the Urban Nature culture.  A run-down suburb in the City of Cape Town that is slowly regaining its faded sheen as designers begin to infiltrate its spaces – bringing with them a renewed, uplifting energy.  There seems to be a new appreciation for street art, old buildings with vintage walls that enjoy a glorious patina of their own (the new wood so to speak) revival of buildings, creative hubs and market spaces.  It is almost as if we have accepted our fate that we are urbanites now. That’s it – we have to make it work right here, right now.

Thinking about all of this Urban Culture shift stuff, brought to mind the presentation of Dan Pearson a Landscape Artist/Designer whom I heard speak at Design Indaba 2012. He conceptualised, designed and installed the most impressive Urban Garden Park in Japan. The idea was to make a creative green space available to the urbanites – a space full of natural surprises. A space where they could totally immerse themselves into nature, with the intention of re-engaging with the natural elements of life.  This is an essential ingredient in the growing Urban Culture. Visiting this Garden is on my bucket list…

So, there you have it – Yes it seems Urban Nature is entrenching itself while we speak.

Chappies Edible Street Art

Rose and I just stumbled across these amazingly creative clips uploaded by Chappies, South Africa’s most iconic bubblegum! In January of this year Chappies, with the help of some talented creatives, created six edible street art installations all around South Africa – starting at Woodstock train station, Cape Town on the 15th and ending in Greenside, Joburg on the 21st. Each of the six installations depicted a winning fact submitted by South Africans. Rose and I could not help recollecting some fond childhood memories of many sunny days spent with mouthfuls of Chappies and filling our brains with tons of “Did You Know?” facts.

Do yourself a favour and go watch the other four installations clips: here. I absolutely LOVE these clips!