Good Taste Magazine - March 2013
ow did you first become interested in art? In pre-primary
school we were given a project: follow insects around the
garden and map their movement—as best we could at four years
old—with crayon on recycled
paper. This is a memory that’s
crystal clear to me and I believe
this is when my love for art (and
insects) was born. It was so much
fun, and I’ll do the same with my
kids one day.
You toured Europe with your art class in high school. What did you learn while abroad?
Before the tour to Europe, art was just a subject I was going to pass. But seeing the pieces I studied in my art history class hanging in front of me was the most awe-inspiring experience of my life. Art became a reality to me.
And that meant that after school, you went into art?
I studied Visual Arts at Cape College
||him I was a fast learner and he would not regret hiring me. This was where my journey as a professional artist began.
Did interior design influence the
way you paint?
Art needs to resonate with the
environment in which it’s going
to hang. Once you understand
decorating, you appreciate the
part art has in helping people turn
a house into a home. A painting
is not just a pretty picture you
create but also an object that has
to fit into a home. Interestingly,
you also understand the sales of
your work better. The client must
absolutely love a painting and
have the right place and space on
a wall to hang it.
What do you do when you are not
I help raise awareness about the plight
of our rhinos. I recently wrote a blog
|for two years. Then I heard Ralph
Krall was looking for an artist
to do perspective drawings for
interior design and decorating, and
I approached him. Because I was so
young, he was sceptical, but I assured
|for National Geographic’s Project Noah
about the decline in rhino numbers in
SA. It was published on their website
on World Rhino Day on 22 September
2012. In future I intend to donate
paintings for this cause and combine
my passion for conservation with
my art. I also enjoy photographing
wildlife, from the tiniest insects to
Southern Right whales breaching in
How do you stay inspired?
I draw most of my inspiration from
nature. My husband joins me for long
walks at Cape Point Nature Reserve,
Kirstenbosch Gardens and Table
Mountain. I also photograph our local
fynbos and endemic insects found in
those places. Colour is what inspires |
|me most. By
turning to the
you never run
out of ideas
intrigued by the style and subject
matter of other artists. I visit many
galleries and exhibitions.
| Tell us more about your
body of work?
This is my most personal work to
date. Canvases filled with my deepest
feelings, thoughts and concerns. Each
piece is about humanity’s influence on
the natural world. I constantly ponder
about progress and what effect it is
having on nature.
Will we find the
balance needed to
secure the survival
of all species?
|African women are
very prominent in
this work. What draws you to them?
I’ve been painting African women
since 2001. Their meaning is
forever escaping and evolving. In
the beginning I was drawn to their
mysterious beauty and strong will. To
me, the African woman is a timeless
symbol of courage and perseverance.
In my “From the Ashes” collection, she
has become the symbol of humanity.
All humans originate from Africa. She
is the unedited version of us all.
| You’ve painted quite a few murals. Talk
us through the process.
I approach a mural the same way as
painting on canvas. I do the basic
outlines with a dark paint, followed by
the first undercoat. Then layer upon
layer of paint until I finally reach the
point when I can add highlights and
deep shadows. To keep the mural safe
from the elements, it has to get a strong
What’s the most challenging aspect of
being a South African artist?
South Africa is blessed with so many
brilliantly talented artists. I would say
the biggest challenge is to stand out and
My first solo exhibition will be taking
place at The Studio in Kalk Bay
(thestudiokalkbay.co.za) in April 2013. I
will also have an exhibition with the aim
to raise awareness for our rhinos, later
Deziree lives with
in a cul-de-sac
on Fish Hoek’s
They have four dogs
and five cats, some
of which came by
choice and others by default. They love
to spend time in their garden with their
animals. From grooming to playing, there’s
never a dull moment at—what they call—
the Smiths’ Zoo. To find out more about
Deziree, visit www.dezireefinearts.co.za.