Odette Graskie shares emotional experiences and storytelling through drawings and immersive fabric installation artworks.

OM Graskie (8)Odette Graskie is a visual artist whose art aims to explore emotional experiences and storytelling. She aims to create work that celebrates humanity and the essence of being human, while facing everyday dilemmas such as grief and loss. Balancing this loss and making art about it is a process of healing, and focusing on the beauty of something beyond oneself becomes healing in itself. Her drawings and immersive installation artworks made with fabric are a fresh breath of air as you walk into a room. Her latest body of work, The Sorrows, is an exploration of the way that pain can sometimes be the only factor that reminds us that we are alive. We had the opportunity to learn a little more about her and her journey in the contemporary visual art industry.

How do you define yourself as a visual artist  and what inspired you to become one?

I have always loved art. When I was a kid my mom had a book about 2000 visual artworks that changed the world and I always paged through it. Sometimes I think the actual decision to study art came down to the movie Pleasantville. One of the characters introduces painting to the black and white world of Pleasantville and they all are so moved by the painting that they are forever changed into colourful fully-rounded people. As an artist myself I feel like if I can have such an effect on one person’s mind in the slightest, that is a success. I want people to feel things that adulthood sometimes deny us like playfulness, joyfulness, or other times acknowledging our dark side, these are my favourite things to strive towards.

What makes your art unique?

I think I have a very emotional connection to my process, and when you work like that it is almost about transcribing a part of your being, or giving a piece of yourself to viewers. When artists trust their intuition, beautiful things can happen. My work consists of two parts – work on paper and installation. My installations are about making people pay attention. When they enter an installation space, it’s about their visceral reactions, how they actually put down their phone for a second and take part in something that’s beyond their everyday while also focussing on something very everyday – such as the experience of a memory or trauma that they don’t always want to acknowledge, or even just becoming playful and acknowledging their inner child. I’m still pretty new to the medium but I learn more every day. In terms of drawing, I like to focus on the people I interact with, or sometimes just pass in the streets. It’s my turn to pay attention. I capture something, whether it’s their overall impression, or a cute nose, or the way they set their mouths; and pay attention to people in a way that no stranger ever really does for them. It’s quite a learning experience, watching people for the two minutes it might take to jot down something about them. And then I go and put them in situations together, sometimes in a composition a kid from a restaurant will stare at a man from the grocery store, and in all likelihood they will never meet, but they are now linked by my artwork. I like playing with stories and how we tell ourselves things about others and ourselves.

What creative projects are you currently working on?

My fellow artist, Chrisel van der Merwe, and I have just opened a show we curated at the Project Space, in Victoria Yards, called Artybollocks! We were both interested in curatorship and started our own little collaboration called Bland and Boring. This is our first real show. Artybollocks! is a show about the online artist statement generator http://www.artybollocks.com. We asked 27 artists to create work based on a randomly generated artist statement, and this show is a culmination of that. It’s been very eye opening to hear about the artists’ experiences during the  show (we both also made a work). The show runs until 15 May.

Other than that, I have a few group shows coming up and am working on a new body of work which is quite a challenge for me. I’m very excited about where it’s going, but I don’t really know how to talk about it yet.
Group shows coming up: Bag Factory Salon, Jan Celliers Fund Raiser, En-Trance at Ellis House with the Dead Bunny Society. I’m possibly working on a duo show with Olivia Botha soon, which will incorporate a theatrical aspect written by Lara Lourens.

What do you feel the next step should be for the contemporary art industry in South Africa?

South Africa is so vibrant, there is so much excitement going on. I think one of our biggest issues is aligning buyers’ views with our own contemporary vision. At the end of the day, most buyers want something they can live with in their home, preferably on the wall. It limits the lengths that artists can make a lot, especially young artists. I think a lot of people find themselves bowing to the pressures of making something sellable just to survive, which is fine, but limits our goals. There isn’t enough investment for us to grow in that sense yet. I don’t have enough experience on how to change that, though. (I think it often comes down to education and brewing a love for art in all citizens). I’d also love to see Joburg (or South Africa) getting a biennale again. The southern hemisphere is starting to make its name in a contemporary way, so much is happening all over Africa. It’s a great time to be from Africa!
Personally I’m also very invested in other emerging artists, specially female artists. I think women in Africa are playing a big role in shaping the vision of African art.

What would you say to upcoming visual artists to inspire them?

Be yourself, don’t make the art you think people want you to make. There is only one you, so make whatever your soul inspires you to make – it’s much more important to be honest with yourself in that way. Eventually you’ll find a language you want to share with others. Also, I think putting yourself out there and taking chances is vital, don’t wait around for opportunity to come your way. Make opportunity happen for yourself and be professional.

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Follow Odette on:

Instagram – @ohdette

www.odettegraskie.com

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Queens of Poetry #TheSoireePicnic.

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We hosted our first ever Queens of Poetry #TheSoireePicnic event on the 23rd September 2017 in the most picturesque spring setting at 13 Rhodes Avenue, Parktown West.

The Soiree aimed to celebrate women in poetry who are speaking out and changing society unapologetically through their powerful words and reflections. Hosted by Tshepang Khunou the day was a succesion of engaging entertainment. The afternoon consisted of exhilirating poetry performances by Motheo, Kat Upendi, Queen of Hearts, STY7ES and Ivan followed by musical performances by JESon, Mag SA, Mayhem KS, Prism Da Reason, S-Frequency and Iindirhe to close off with an Ode to the Queens.

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Tshepang Khunou (MC)

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Kat Upendi

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In true Artizen style we aim to make every gathering a holistic art experience. To compliment our celebration of poetry, female artists Nthableleng added to the ambiance with her live painting, Brigid Schutz’ luminous artworks were all the buzz alongside Lalage Hunter’s unique ceramics display. Dijo Catering co and Panda Bear Frozen treats kept the audience refreshed throughout the day.

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It was a first of many Soiree’s to come and a beautiful memorable eventful day.

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Photography by Brigid Schutz & KeGoBellah

Watch Video -> Queens of Poetry #TheSoireePicnic.

Taki.

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Creativity is something that comes naturally to us from an early age, growing up we used our imagination to create worlds beyond what we see. This creative on the move takes us back to our formative years with his creations of collectable art toys, we’re talking about the talented Taki Mokoka, an illustrator and art toy designer.

“A friend of mine inspired me into making the toy artworks, he saw my paintings one time and said that I should start making toys and that’s where it began for me. I am really good at creating characters from scratch. All of the figurines are made from waste material then I hand craft everything myself. I would encourage up and coming artists to make sure your art is true to you, I’ve always loved anime sohaving to make art toys was natural to me. Stay consistent in your craft is very important. Never give up hope and always believe in yourself” – Taki Mokoka

Taki-9.jpgFollow Taki on:

Facebook: We.Are.Taki

Twitter: @WE_ARE_TAKi

Instagram: we_are_taki

Enlightening young minds.

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Johanna Thindisa is an arts and culture and life skills teacher who also volunteers at early childhood development centers in Joburg. She believes that art and culture is the way to enlighten and brighten young minds.

“I love teaching arts and culture because it activates the mind emotionally and socially. It makes one lively and happy. It allows people to grow and be visionaries. In my time teaching arts and culture, I’ve gotten to see what it does for the children, If a child is not doing too well in maths or languages, arts and culture always allows them to express themselves because there is no wrong or right, so that activates the mind regardless. To be an art teacher you must be positive and have a lot of patience, have a big heart always love what you do. I’d encourage young up and coming creatives to take good care of themselves and focus on that, let the art come from the Inside out.”

 

 

Crochet.

crochet-2With the well advanced machine age we live in, everything is made in an instant. Very few people still value the art of a handmade item. Crocheting is a valuable art form of designing and making an item that is one of it’s kind. If you’re looking to take up crocheting, here are a few things to take note of as you begin your journey.

The art of crocheting begins with your body, make sure you are seated well and can maintain good posture because you will need it to be able to work for longer. Your body will need to be comfortable for you to be able to stretch your arms and knit.

“Crocheting and knitting is a versatile process. Knowing that you can create anything from wool, grow it from there. For instance If you create a square you could expand that by creating a blanket out of it. That’s how you grow in crochet, be creative with it.” – Angela Nimah

When you crochet. Keep it clean and seamless. When you’re knitting or crocheting you can cover up any sort of mistake, to keep your designs clean and crisp, tie knots so that everything is secured.

Learn how to take care of wool. To keep it clean and intact, hand wash it at 30 degrees celsius, then wring and hang. Wool items need special attention.
“It should cost more because it is handmade, take pride in your work and do not under value it.” – Angela Nimah

So before you take up your needles and create your best wool designs, remember to identify why you’re taking up the craft. Create what you like and learn more about what you’re doing