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 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 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.

Smith & Boyd's Zero Degrees - The Hottest New Trend!

All Smith & Boyd’s pictures are undoubtedly captivating. They somehow elicit a strong emotional connection, like you’ve been there yourself, either peering through the lens, or as the subject itself. Their Zero Degrees project is no different. Flowers and other organic matter are frozen into blocks and dropped into various water sources, allowing the ice to crack and burst, releasing the encapsulated artwork as it slowly melts away. Not only are these pictures different and thought provoking, but they are downright beautiful to boot.

We had a chat with Bruce Boyd to find out a bit more.

HP: How long have you been working on this project?
BB: We have been working on the project for more than a year now. Our first image was shot in May last year when I accidentally dropped an ice-block with frozen flowers into a swimming pool.

HP: What inspires the different creations you and Tharien Smith make?
BB: Tharien is inspired by water and nature. She likes what flowers represent: passion, love, gratitude, innocence, etc. I grew up with massive flower arrangements in our house at all times. My mother used to put them together and my father used to paint them. All our walls were adorned with my father’s creations. I guess I am walking in my father’s footsteps using my own tools for creation.

HP: Which are your of your favourite pieces, and why?
BB: Tharien's favourite is the bones. She is fascinated by archeology. My favourite piece is not part of the prints collection(yet). It features decaying cosmos flowers half submerged in an oily puddle. I love the decay and the elements of pollution combined with the last shreds of beauty from the wilting flowers.

HP: You drop your creations into different kinds of water sources. What are the different reactions and affects this creates?
BB: The ice reacts to the temperature of the water and then either cracks in interesting ways or sometimes just melts slowly. We have used a wide range of puddles and pools depending on where we are at the time and what is closest. My favourite is a little stream in Betty's Bay that we used extensively during the summer. The water was shallow enough so that you could see the stream bed and it became part of the picture. I also like swimming pools for the intense blueness that sometimes contrast beautifully with the flowers.

HP: What is your greatest aspiration with regard to your artworks? 
BB: My artworks are usually just stepping stones for something else that could momentarily satisfy my need to create something interesting. I aspire to have a life filled with projects that make me want to get up early in the morning or stay up late at night. It would be great if they could become self-sustainable so that I would not have to do the mundane things that pay the bills anymore.
HP: Is there anything that you wouldn't encapsulate in ice and photograph? Why not?
BB: Nothing comes to mind. We love playing and experimenting with different objects and textures.
These remarkable images evoke a sense of longevity, while simultaneously reminding us of the fragility of life. Pretty neat stuff. Even better – they’re currently on sale! Go have a gander, and a bout of existentialism here:

The Beautiful Rolling Hills Of Tuscany

When looking through Tomasz Wieczorek’s beautiful photographs of Tuscany, Italy, can you imagine that such a place is real? The rolling hills, old farmhouses and silver olive groves were something that Tomasz has wanted to photograph after he had heard that it is one of the most beautiful places out there.

Tomasz decided to sit through every sunrise and sunset over his time in Italy to get the perfect photographs and although it was tiring, it was worth it. The beauty of the Tuscan landscapes drew him in like a magnet. Tomasz adds that the weather was perfect which was a huge bonus for his photography. He recommends anyone to visit Tuscany as he has very fond memories of the place.

I must say his photographs turned out to be amazing. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Tuscany myself, and it really does look like it does in his photos. It is a place that makes you feel at peace and really makes you appreciate life; it is a must-see!

For some more information on Tomasz and his beautiful photographs, visit his Facebook page.  

Images: Tomasz Wieczorek
Source: Bored Panda

Magda Wasiczek’s beautiful photos transport you into a fairy tale world

Do you remember reading books as a child about fairies who live among beautiful flowers? Magda Wasiczek is a Polish photographer, whose photographs of nature look like they’re taken out of a fairy tale. These photos seem to transport you into a different world, they are that unique and beautiful.

Magda uses photography as a tool to raise awareness about nature. She likes to look a bit deeper than just on the surface, by taking note of the small details in the flowers, plants and small animals she photographs. Magda likes to get close up to her subjects and really captures the beauty that many don’t notice.

The Polish photographer has always been artistic, before photography she loved to paint and draw. Her aim with these photos is to show people how beautiful nature around us really is. In today’s fast-paced world, not many people stop to smell the roses and the average person doesn’t notice what’s around them.

Magda hopes that when people look at her fairy tale photos, the child inside them will wake up. She believes that through a child’s eyes the world is more mysterious, full of surprises, fascinating and colourful. She hopes that all people will begin to see the world and nature around us like this again.

It really does feel like I’ve been transported to another world when looking through Magda’s photographs. I love the details and beautiful colours. For more photographs, have a look at Magda’s website

Source: Bored Panda
Images: Magda Wasiczek


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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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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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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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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.

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. 


Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

Photographic duo Riz & Resh are long time friends and favourites of ours - they recently made us look fancy in our own little photo shoot, and we've had the likes of A Ring To It and Bow Peep turn to them for product photography. Bottom line is, they have mad skillz.

And to our delight, they've joined us as Hello Pretty sellers! They're selling product photography packages that are pretty darn great, and we felt that they deserved to be on the other side of the lense for a change.

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

  1. Hello! Tell us a little about yourself.

    The Dollie House is the home to Riz and Resh Dollie.  We're both simple beings who find great pleasure in food and greenery (not the bushy kind you're thinking of).

    Resh is a quiet individual with a vision of living clean and building a sustainable existence for his family.  He is the eldest of five brothers and is an avid yogi with an honours in Anthropology.  He is also the prettier member of The Dollie House. 

    Riz has a great passion for people and Instagramming meals.  Riz has worked in every sphere of media and has been messing around with cameras for over ten years. Riz's students gave her a pet name; B.B.D. (we will leave this open to your interpretation).

    We both travel as often as possible and feel as that it's an essential part of the growth of a person.

  2. How/why did the Dollie House?

    The Dollie House was the love child born from our shared passion for visual pleasure.  We both hail from art backgrounds and chose to focus on the anthropology of people and their memories.  We're both fascinated by human behaviour and observation, and photography was a good way for us to express what we saw and experienced through sharing brief passionate moments of peoples' lives.

  3. What do you love?

    We both thrive in any natural environment and have a keen affinity to aesthetics of the visual kind.  We love pretty things, appreciating good food and reading as often as possible  

    Riz loves talking and Resh enjoys silent conversations.  Resh loves cooking and Riz loves eating. We love constant change, hence the choice to grow The Dollie House.

  4. Can you tell us about the wonderful things the Dollie House makes/does?

    We offer a range of lifestyle photography packages and visual styling for shoots and interiors.  Riz focuses on events, family, portrait, maternity and wedding photography.  Resh thrives in making things pleasurable for the eye and desirable for the soul; he spends his time styling shoots and visually merchandising store windows.

  5. Tell us something unusual about you/your trade/etc that people generally don't know.

    We shoot weddings most weekends and because we're so passionate about our jobs, we often become family confidants for the day.  After a few hours with a client's family, we often feel like we're a part of the family.  People always feel the need to share their family histories with you.

    We both love visual storytelling, and voluntary information usually helps strengthen the visual depth of the photographs.

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

These beautiful shots by Ronél Kruger Photography.

Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme

Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with

One of the World Design Capital projects we've been keeping a close eye on is the Between 10and5 and InAWE Stays' collaboration, creating the InAWE Residency.

The intention was that from May to September, eight Cape Town-based creatives were invited to spend a week to ten days at the very beautiful InAWE Stays, and to reflect on their surroundings, creating an artwork inspired by the Mother City.

It's enough to make you feel downright warm and fuzzy inside - all proud and mama bear-like, to think we have such incredible talent representing us on an international stage. And what brought this project even closer to our proud little hearts was that two of our very own sellers were involved - Laura Windvogel (aka Lady $kollie) and Ed Suter got stuck in and made some very awesome art.

First up, Lady $kollie: according to her write up on Between 10 and 5, Laura was inspired by van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night,’ and as a result deviated from her colourful and fruity paintings - the end result was an abstract landscape of Cape Town’s city lights.

Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with
Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with
Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with
Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with

Next up, Ed Suter: Ed created a photo story titled Arrivals and Departures, using Cape Town as a backdrop. He's apparently always been inspired by the energy of cities, and shot the story of a young trumpeter making the move from a small village to the Mother City using both film and digital.

"Ed, two models dressed in Bantu Wear and one assistant travelled around Mamre, Philidelphia, Elsies River and the CBD to shoot in wheat and canola fields, on an old school bus and at a block of flats, and the results are just as enchanting as the 60s jazz records that inspired this series."

Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with
Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with
Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with
Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with
Pretties in the inAWE Residency Programme - with

This is just a teeny tiny taste of the ahMAZING work that this programme produced. Artists included Michael Chandler, Jody Paulsen, Danielle Clough, Sebastian Borckenhagen, Lucie de Moyencourt and Fort Rixon - read more about the programme on and join us in ruffling our feathers and puffing our chests out thanks to the crazy talent that fills this country.

AND AND AND, better yet, support them by visit their Hello Pretty stores! For Lady $kollie hop on over here, and for Ed you can head here.

Our fancy pants photoshoot...

Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House
Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House

Recently we've found ourselves being asked more and more for team photos, and since we are all often scattered countrywide (and sometimes even world wide!), we decided to go the whole hog and get some professional kiekies taken.

So, after deciding to take the plunge came the next daunting step. *Cues backing track* Who you gonna call? (I'm so lame. I know.) Anyway, we called on The Dollie House. Knowing the standard of their work and having seen the results first hand in the shoots they had done for sellers (including A Ring To It and Bow Peep), we were confident we were in good hands.

Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House
Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House
Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House
Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House

They were just the best. Since we're all kind of awkward people and are fairly camera shy, they prescribed a glass of wine before hand - a prescription we were thrilled to fill! I mean, what's better than tarting up with your gal pals with a glass of bubbly in hand? (and Scott. Shame. To quote Harry Goldenblatt from Sex in the City, it's his lot in life to be surrounded by women. And to pour the wine.)

We got all fancied up and trekked through to Bottlegger Coffee Company in Sea Point, who were most kind and accommodating, and the Dollies made us laugh so much and feel so comfortable that we didn't feel like awkward posers for even a second. (Look, this doesn't come easily to any of us. None of us are ever going to make it as schmodels.)

Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House
Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House

After a quick costume change we shot off to Green Point Park, where we upset a security guard because we were clearly too old and too heavy to be clambering all over the jungle gyms - we managed to convince her that we would be lightening fast, although the "too old" part became glaringly apparent when we had to untangle ourselves from those same jungle gyms. The knees guys - they're the first to go.

And then finally, we zooted off to catch the sunset from Signal Hill. It was gorgeous, our faces ached from laughing, and we ended the day feeling pretty darn excited about life. Thank you so much to the Dollies for making us look good in this amazing shoot - we were thrilled with the photos.

Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House
Hello Pretty photoshoot with The Dollie House

Cute nê?

Follow this awesome couple on Instagram here and here - they're so lovely, and take photos that make you want to visit cool places and learn to cook amazing things.


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