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.

OM Graskie (9)

OM Graskie (3)

OM Graskie (6)

OM Graskie (5).jpg

Follow Odette on:

Instagram – @ohdette

www.odettegraskie.com

Queens of Poetry #TheSoireePicnic.

IMG_3659.JPG

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.

IMG_3703.JPG

Tshepang Khunou (MC)

IMG_3709.JPG

Kat Upendi

IMG_3725

STY7ES

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.

IMG_3481.JPG

DSC_8207.JPG
IMG_3510.JPG
It was a first of many Soiree’s to come and a beautiful memorable eventful day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photography by Brigid Schutz & KeGoBellah

Watch Video -> Queens of Poetry #TheSoireePicnic.

Taki.

Taki-11

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.

thandisa-6

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

 

His and Hers Jams – Women and Art.

his&herjams-23.jpg

On a vibey Sunday morning we headed out to Lebo’s Backpackers in Soweto, Mzimhlophe to check out His and Hers Jams #WomenandArt picnic event. His and Hers Jams is a movement centred around the arts, music and its lifestyle and on this particular occasion they set out to celebrate women in art.

As soon as you walk in you are welcomed with warm smiles from the locals, good music and good energy, allowing you to immerse yourself in the fusion of culture in alternative soweto. The area is filled with incredible art works on display by extraordinary female artist who assert their voice through their art.

We find Sizakele Phohleli at her stall sitting symbolically with a suitcase placed on the table, revealing a stack of books titled “Letters to Cinnamon.” The suitcase on the table speaks to the need to unpack pressing issues that are addressed in the book. The book is based on poetry that reflects and tells the stories of the state of black queer Africans.

hisherjams-3

Eunice Rakhale-Molefe

Not too far away, we come across Eunice Rakhale-Molefe a culinary veteran and author of Dialogue Dining, which sets to illustrate the culinary diversity of Southern African cuisine and of some regarding the neighbouring states. She compares the similarities while dually authenticating its unique palatable heritage. Her artistry spans beyond the culinary world as she invites us to reflect on our culture, its cuisine and its discourse through literature.

hisherjams-12

Masego Masygold Phalane

As you pass through the middle of the space, you can’t help but stop and marvel at Masego Masygold Phalane‘s exhibiton “We are women”.  Her photo exhibition explores black women and their hair. This exhibition features a portrait series of women showing off their expressive hairstyles. Exploring the concept of that hair is their “pride and power”.

Not only did we get to experience the best of the art world, but the best cuisine too. The air was filled with tantalizing aromas and we couldn’t help but indulge in the mouth-watering food from Foyoko and Good to Go Eatery.

With the mc’s adding a little more laughter and burst of energy to our day we couldn’t help but feel at home. The rest of the afternoon is filled with dynamic performances from unique musicians who captivated the audience. DJ Skado a true creative who offered us a dub sound that sends chills down the spine, doing all this from her tablet – how dope! Nono Nkoane showed off her angelic voice and nu jazz sound which smoothed down the mood. This was followed by Lindz Key_Ano’s dynamic number on the piano. Adelle launched us into the afternoon as the sun set the sound of her angelic voice also showing off pure talent as a one man band. The super talented ladies on deck held it down and had everybody on their feet throughout the day, with featured sets by Miss Buttons, Davina Satori, Brown Pepper Ann, and Teedo.

His and Hers Jams gave us a full art experience and a day to remember, thank you to Tshidiso and Ngoako and their incredible team. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and are absolutely looking forward to more from His and Hers Jams.

his&herjams-8.jpg

his&herjams-18.jpg

 

hisherjams-27

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

     Watch Video -> AOJ at His and Hers Jams #WomenAndArt!

                                                          Written by Kea Mooka

Scented.

scent8.jpg

Our five senses work together in unison to create an overall human experience. Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful and is critical to our existence. What smells good to us varies from our different experiences in life but what we have in common is the effect a pleasant smell has on us, is that it makes us happy. Here are a few tips on how to pick a great scent this season.

Josie Thekiso is the owner of Beauty Splurge Fragrances and she shares a few tips on how to pick a scent that works for you. “I’m very passionate about smell because for me it adds on to image. I believe people should know who they are. The way you smell, speak, look and dress adds on to the essence of who you are, and I think people should pay attention to that.”

How to pick a scent.

“Think about your personality, pick a scent that works for you, whether you like fruity or demure perfumes it’s all about what works for you. I think it’s also about experimenting, women could also try the men’s side of perfumes and vice versa.”

How to Apply Perfume.

“When applying perfume the go to areas are your wrist and neck. Focus on your pulse areas, the aim is to let people know you’ve arrived by your smell, it should be strong but not too over bearing.”

Scents that are best for summer and spring.

“I think this season you should try look for something fruity and flowery, or try a combination of a little bit of everything. Try experimenting with smells to get your perfect blend.”

How to make perfume last longer.

“Apply it directly on to your skin instead of your  clothing, make sure that your skin is healthy and moist to lock in your scent.”

There you have it your spring and summer scent fix, apply these tips and keep yourself smelling fresh this season.