Art

How a "plattelandse meisie" made it in Cape Town. Meet Sonjé of Sonny Mo Arts.

Hi, I’m Sonjé, the creative brain behind Sonny Mo Arts. Being from the Northern Cape originally, I’m something of a “plattelandse meisie”. I came to Cape Town to study and naturally fell in love with the Cape and now live here with my husband and our 3 doggos. I’m a homebody and enjoy spending time in my own environment (which is good since I work from home a lot!), love listening to music especially when I work, would never say no to chocolate and a good cup of coffee! I’m also not the best cook but have come a long way! ;-)

From a young age I was encourage to explore my creativity by my mother (who is an artist herself), and although I like to dabble in different mediums, photography drew me in the most.

 

After my studies I started my wedding photography business, and although very rewarding, I always felt I wanted to do something else too. I submerged myself so deep in my wedding photography, building a brand, attracting the right clients, refining my style, etc. that I never seemed to get the time to experiment with something else. I was also very set in my ways with regards to how I shoot and edit weddings that I struggled to break the mould I have put myself in.

My husband then bought me a photography diary that encourages you to take a photo a day, and that is the main thing that pushed me to think differently. I started taking more “just because” photos, playing around and experimenting. I absolutely loved it, and from there, Sonny Mo Arts was born.

I draw most of my inspiration from nature and natural elements. My current work I would best describe as having a more traditional film look to it, raw and organic.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had and continue to have is building a new social media audience from scratch and attracting the right clients who would be interested in my work. A more personal challenge is doubting myself and my creativity, and to always keep pushing forward even on days when you feel like giving up.

One of the biggest highlights must have been when I received my first order. It was so humbling to know someone loves my work as much as I do. My other biggest highlight was when I received my first international order all the way from Australia.

My biggest tip to anyone starting their own online shop would be not to give up and whenever that little negative voice comes in your head to make you question yourself, just shove it aside, do not listen to it and rather use it to drive yourself to work harder.


This blog post is one in Hello Pretty's guest blog series. Each post is written by a person who is running their online store though South Africa's favourite art, design & craft marketplace.

If you'd like to more view guest posts in this series, and other posts where we interview local businesses, click here.

Wanna write a guest post on Hello Pretty? Email us at info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

 

 

How to exhibit your work if you’re not famous

Photo by Brigitta Schneiter

This blog post is one in Hello Pretty's guest blog series. Wanna write on Hello Pretty? Email us at info@hellopretty.co.za to find out more.

This awesome advice and insight was written by Wouda Mc Micken of Outdoorphoto. Find her on on her blog, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

You don’t have to be famous to exhibit your work. Being famous certainly makes it easier, but there are steps you can follow to get your art seen. I've prepared a view pointers to help you get started.

Know your purpose

Think about what you want to gain by exhibiting your work. Is the purpose to gain exposure or to sell your work? If it is to promote your art, you might consider selling your art outside of galleries such as quaint café’s, local boutique stores or restaurants. You can also turn to social media or start an online shop. Tap into your creativity and think about the places that may be interested in showcasing your work.

If it is to sell, your artwork must be valuable. Does it have a rare story or involve an experimental technique? Let these questions guide you in telling your art’s story with confidence. If you’re able to explain why it moves you, you may be able to move others with your artwork too. Next, you need to find a target market that will appreciate your work. Who are the types of people who will pay money to have own such pieces of art? And what are they willing to pay?

Photo by iSAW Company

Approach the right galleries

There a right and a wrong way to approach a gallery. The right way is to research the gallery before approaching them. Different galleries specialise in different styles of art, therefore, you should what they specialise in and whether your work will suit their style. Eliminate the ones that don’t match your style as chances are, they won’t attract the right clientele for your work.

Location is also important. Depending on your target market, they might prefer a niche pop-up gallery in an obscure part of town, or an accessible gallery with reasonable hours and safe parking. Now you can start thinking about the gallery’s space - literally. Do they have enough room to showcase your work? Depending on their space, are you prepared to exhibit in a group or solo?

Present a consistent body of work

It’s very important that your work communicates a similar story. Each piece of art may be different, but for it to be consistent it must feel like a series. Perhaps consider arranging your portfolio in a specific order to help viewers journey with you. Before presenting your work, you must sympathise with your viewer's feelings when walking through the exhibit. Large pieces induce a sense of awe while smaller pieces provoke deeper thoughts, curiosity and, even possibly, a sense of intimacy. Present your work in a way that leaves the viewer captivated!

Photo by Leonardo Yip

Identify the right price point

If you wish to sell your work, you’ve likely already started thinking about how much your target market is willing to pay. With an estimation of how much your work is worth, you now need to determine your budget as it will influence everything from the size of your print to the type of paper to use and your work’s framing and mounting possibilities. Even on a lower budget, it’s always best to ask for professional advice on printing, framing and mounting. And while you should be careful not to overprice, be reasonable. A lot of time and effort went into its creation! Make it worth your while by finding common ground between what you want versus what people are willing to pay.

Develop an exceptional marketing plan

Once you’ve secured a gallery, you might be tempted to leave all of the marketing up to them, but your work is not done yet. Good marketing is vital to the success of your exhibition as it will determine the number of visitors it will generate. Discuss your ideas with the gallery and create a plan that will make the exhibition worthwhile for both parties.

Heritage Day spoils at La Motte Winery in Franschhoek

We had the great honour of being guests at La Motte in Franschhoek for a family day on Heritage Day last year. Jen (who helps with Hello Pretty's social strategies and planning) attended with her husband Philippe, and their little girl Frankie. And, lucky for us, this was already one of our favourite wineries - their red wines are really good.

If you thought South African wine estates were only about wine you'd be mistaken. Visiting a winery in South Africa is a rich experience that offers a bit of history in the estates themselves which are commonly established in the 1600s, a bit of horticulture where they explain some of the science of what is planted where and why, a bit of theatre when you do the tasting and get a passionate explanation of the wine and it's notes, and a culinary spectacular at the phenomenal restaurants (I've never had a disappointing meal and dining experience at a winery restaurant).

La Motte's wine, their restaurant, their art and their estate are all magnificent. But don't believe me, taste and see for yourself.

La Motte has a close association with, and admiration of, one of South Africa's most well-known artists, Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Bizarrely, I recently found my primary school workbooks and discovered that in 7th grade we had learnt about him and the familiar South African landscape paintings that he's most famous for.

They celebrate Pierneef and his work in a variety of ways. They have a gallery of his work, a range of Pierneef wines in tribute, and a restaurant called Pierneef à La Motte's Chef's Table, led by chef Michelle Theron.

First let's talk about...

The Restaurant

Or rather, let us look at some photos of what we ate, and drool and daydream about plowing through this food like a swarm of rabid locusts (I'm not proud. I can own this behaviour.).

And honestly if this hasn't sold you on the place then I don't even know what to think about you. But just in case, here's a little more:

And since you are reading this post you are obviously someone who enjoys and appreciates wine. We have a tonne of fantastic wine-themed things on Hello Pretty that you'll love. Some for you, and some that just make really excellent "different" gifts. Here's a tiny selection of the things we ? :

[ 01 ] Wooden Word - Wine
[ 02 ] Name Monogram Wine Box
[ 03 ] Eat Drink and be Married Wine Bottle Signage
[ 04 ] Wine Fanatic Bamboo Coasters
[ 05 ] "Pic-Wik" Table (Picnic + Wine = Pic-Wik)​
[ 06 ] Large Reclaimed Oak Wine Barrel Cheese Board
[ 07 ] 2 Piece Wine Rack (Black)
[ 08 ] Shhh... There's Wine in Here Mug
[ 09 ] Wine Shopping Carrier Bags
[ 10 ] Rhino (Whino) Wine Holder (check out this store - there are loads of animals to choose from)

Thank you La Motte for including us in your beautiful Heritage Day celebration. As you can see, a ball was had, particularly by Frankie ?

? Photographs taken by Jen Morin and Philippe Morin.

Paul Dodd Collaborated with His Young Son to Make Beautiful Art

Paul’s son, Kylan, has always loved to draw and play around with art. When he was 3- years- old he loved to scribble on paper, and these ended up looking like the drawing and swirls of an artist. Paul wondered what these drawings would look like coloured in, so he decided to digitally colour them and they turned them into pieces of art.

The father and son duo really has some talent and my favourite is number 4. I love the colour choices, which are bright and exciting, and the patterns are beautiful and intricate too. Have a look at Paul’s website, Modern Enlightenment, for more pictures and information. 

Brighten Up Your Space with Art On Hello Pretty

A simple piece of art can really transform your space into something amazing. Whether it’s in your bedroom, office or lounge; putting up a piece of art is always a good idea.

There are so many art pieces to choose from all over the world, literally for any preference. Hello Pretty features some beautiful pieces, and here are my favourites.

The ‘Vlerksleep’ drawing from Janet Botes is beautiful, it’s simple and perfect if you are going for a neutral look.

Georgie by Mermaids & Monsters is perfect for a child’s room, what’s not to love about a cute, baby giraffe?

I love anything to do with flowers, so this beautiful Rose painting by Helga McLeod is ideal.

For something unique, I really like the Pangolin artwork by Adele van Heerden.

If you want to add a bit of colour, Through the windows and doors 3 by Berelowitz Paintings and Art Work, is a great choice. 

Image One: Vlerksleep
Image Two: Georgie
Image Three: Rose Painting
Image Four: Pangolin
Image Five: Through the windows and doors 3

Nameless Paints Created To Teach Kids About Colours

Two Japanese designers have come up with a new and exciting way to teach children about colours. Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki created “Nameless Paints”, with their aim being to develop the definition of a colour beyond just a name.

There are so many shades of colours; for example a leaf is not just green or the sky is not just plain blue. Therefore this set of paint tubes is a great way to start expanding colour awareness.

The paint tubes are completely white and have an “equation” on them showing which primary colours, and how much of each, were used to make that specific colour in the tube. So, instead of a child just learning the name of a colour, they learn about the theory and how colours work.

I love this idea as it teaches kids to be more creative and once they understand the theory behind colours; they can experiment by mixing and creating new colours themselves.  

The look of the paints and the packaging is really great; I’m sure many adults would love a set of “Nameless Paints” too!

The PPC Imaginarium Awards 2016

When I think of concrete, I think of building sites and dirt. The PPC Imaginarium competition has however brought new light to the beautiful possibilies concrete offers, through their design awards programme. By showcasing different pieces made from concrete from many designers, it's clear just how much can be done with this material.

This programme is focused on encouraging talented designers in South Africa, and a better challenge cannot be thought of. There are six creative categories which the judges look at; Industrial Design, Jewellery, Film, Sculpture, Architecture and Fashion.

The winners of the awards were announced at the PPC Imaginarium finalist exhibition at Youngblood Africa, Cape Town, last week Thursday (4 February). The winner of each category received R50 000 and the runner-up received R15 000. Have a look at their website or their Facebook page.

The pieces are simply amazing; who knew you could make such cool things with concrete?

The artworks featured are by: 

First photo: Mieke Vermeulen 
Second photo: Hester Erasmus 
Third photo: Janna Kruger 
Fourth photo: Nkhensani Rihlampfu
Fifth photo: Gordon Froud 

Knolling

Image from http://bit.ly/1LL1Sph
http://bit.ly/1FoFXMI

Before you learn how to Knoll, you probably want to know what this strange word is refering to... Knolling or 'flat lay' photography as it is also known is a popular design term used to shape brands and market products in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  

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Second image

Image http://bit.ly/1jThyf3
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Knolling is a process whereby objects are arranged at 90 degree angles from each other and then photographed from above. "Knolling creates a look that is very symmetrical and pleasing to the eye, and it also allows people to see many objects at once in a single photograph". 

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http://bit.ly/1jThyf3
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Knolling has gathered a lot of attention through Instagram recently, with Instagram accounts dedicated solely to knolling and flat lay photography. 

It is said that knolling was started by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor at a furniture store known as Frank Gehry's furniture store. Gehry's was designing for a company called Knoll and they were well known for designing angular furniture. At the end of each day Kromelow would clean up and gather all of the loose tools and arrange them in angles to one another. He called this Knolling in reference to the angular furniture that they were working on. 

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http://bit.ly/1QSIKp6
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Knolling eventually became popular by the artist Tom Sachs and by 1987 it had officially become a trend. The image below is by Tom Sachs and it is his description of how to Knoll.

Above images sourced here.

 

http://bit.ly/1M8lfdQ

It's such a fun way to display products and it always looks so beautiful. After reading this article I am so excited to give it a go!

You can read more about Knolling or flat lay photography here and go and have a browse at the Flat Lay Instagram account while you're at it! It's super inspiring to see what people get up to on there. 

 

The heArt of origami

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS by Sipho Mabona

The art of Origami is something that has always mesmerized me. I am amazed at the results that can come about from folding up a square piece of paper. After finding this article on Cruizine I was inspired to get folding and attempt the art of origami for myself.  

Seahorse / Cá ngựa by Hoàng Tiến Quyết

Some background info about this art form...
"Origami appeared in 17th century and was soon popularized throughout the world as one of the traditional forms of the Japanese art. 

Origami is a vivid example of the tight interconnection, which exists between pure art and precise science, as it requires clear understanding of the space, symmetry, and geometric patterns. It is also a true example of wit and inventiveness of humans." 

Crayfish by Sipho Mabona
May the Autofocus be with you by straightfromthecask

My attempt - or rather my many attempts were nowhere close to the art works shown above. This seemingly simple art form has a very calcualted technique to it.

I eventually relaxed into the process of folding and found myself in a trance like state - totally removed from the hustle and bustle of life. This art form is really theraputic once you get the hang of it and I can definitely recommend it for those moments where you need a bit of an escape. Just get a few pieces of paper together, Google some simple shapes and get folding! 

Toshikazu Kawasaki Origami Swan by Himanshu Agrawal

The swan is definietly next on my list, but for now I'll stick to my simple heart shape while I've mastered it. ;) I think it also makes for a great gift or even a bookmark. It will look much nicer with colourful paper, but while practicing I suggest you use exam pad.

This is the site that I used to practise my origami making - they have great ideas on here to try out.
http://www.origami-instructions.com/easy-origami-heart.html  

The Heart of Origami

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