This month we sat down with Willem to find out what makes him tick and how he manages to create these cool, quirky little characters that have found a home with so many happy collectors since he joined Unsung Art.
What started you in your career of art? What sparked your interest in creating art?
I have always had an interest in art. As a kid, I was always drawing and making something out of clay. When adulthood knocked on the door, I think I just lost my sense of fun and curiosity for a while and stopped making art all together. But everything fired up again when we were hit with the infamous “load shedding” schedules believe it or not! Somehow, drawing by candlelight sparked my sense of adventure and fun again – each time the lights went out, it was time dedicated to drawing and creating something. After a while, I started sharing my little creations on social media and the positive encouragement I received was a wonderful confidence boost to keep on creating. My first #Inktober always had a big impact on me by showing me first hand how how regular drawing impacts your craft and skills so it was a great experience and realisation at the same time.
Where are you based? Why there?
I am based in Table View, Cape Town. It is a strange neighbourhood as it is mostly suburban, but I am close to Blouberg Beach with stunning views of Table Mountain. It’s cheesy, I know, but I do love long walks on the beach. Also I have a circle of support in Cape Town with friends and family all living close by. Cape Town as a whole is an amazing city to live in with so many different places to find inspiration from – from the world class art galleries to all the amazing street art that can be spotted pretty much anywhere.
How would you describe your art?
I think my art is mostly cartoonish, character driven and colourful. I enjoy creating art that contains humour, with quirky little characters.
What inspires you to create art?
Inspiration sometimes comes from song lyrics, being out and about in the city, doodling sessions with my nephew, movie or TV series and sometimes even from dreams. It definitely helps to have a sketchbook where you mess around with rough ideas as sometimes these random ideas blossom into something else while other times it can sit around for a while before you go back to it and resurrect it.
Who are some of your favourite artists (local and/or international)?
Some of my favourite local artists at the moment are Faith47, Mus, Black Koki, Gerhard Human and Keith Vlahakis. Internationally I would say Matt Cunningham, Mister Thoms, Daan Botlek, Andrew Moncrief, Kibooki and Burak Senturk.
What is your favourite medium/art form both to create and view/collect?
My favourite medium to create with is pen and markers. I usually start out by scribbling a few ideas in pencil and then refine that idea with pencil until I feel I am ready to crate the final look with pen and marker.
I would like to expand my own art collection, but at present it is mostly made up of limited edition prints, original drawings and a collection of vinyl toys.
Any plans/changes/exhibitions/projects/anything exciting on the horizon or in the near future?
My plan for the near future is to use my art on more platforms such as Etsy, Threadless and hopefully add an online store to my own site. I also want to try my hand at creating some bigger pieces as at the moment most of my art is small – perfect for not taking up too much space on an empty wall.
What has been your best memory/experience related to your art?
Ooh, that is a tough one to answer. Visiting the Louvre was an amazing art experience because of the location and the vast amount of art you get to experience. Another great experiencing that jumps to mind was my visit to Beco de Batman in Sao Paulo which had some of the most amazing street art I have seen. One of my best art memories was when my first doodle sold on Unsung Art! It was such a wonderful feeling knowing that someone out there likes what you created and wanted to buy it!
Ah that is great! This is exactly why we exist and we love what we are able to do. You also provided us with a stash of new works which have just gone live on the site so we are very excited for these to do well too! 🙂
Do you have any formal training/education relating to art or are you self-taught?
I do have some formal training from my graphic design education, but I think the art that I create at present is mostly self-taught through trial and error, experimenting with different mediums and techniques.
What other interests/hobbies do you have?
I really enjoy upcycling things. I love the process of taking something which someone else threw away or no longer had a need for and giving it a second life – whether it is giving an old chair a facelift or repurposing an old well loved t-shirt as wall art.
What do you do in your spare time to relax and unwind?
As I stated earlier I love long walks on the beach, spending quality time with friends and family, binge watching a favourite TV series or losing track of time with a captivating book. Oh and nothing beats really good ice cream!!!
Admittedly we probably share the same enthusiasm for ice cream…oh, and art of course! Here’s to many more happy years of creating and we look forward to seeing some more of your little characters come to life!
Click here if you wish to browse all of Willem’s work available online with Unsung Art and be sure to check in from time to time as he will definitely be creating for a long time!