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This blog features news, pictures and event info to keep you updated with what is happening in the world of South African graffiti and street art.

Q&A \\ Interview with Jade Doreen Waller

Jade Doreen Waller is a skilled, Cape Town based visual artist who uses oil and spray paint to create her paintings. With an affinity for skulls, Waller’s work has evolved over the years into highly-detailed artworks, blending dark moods and dream-like images into fascinating pieces. For her new body of work, she engages with her canvas like a visual thought bubble, resulting in an enchanting collage with an explosion of colour.

We spoke to her about her creative process, graffiti influence, and upcoming solo exhibition in London.

Please introduce yourself.

I am an artist based in Cape Town, practicing within the interdisciplinary visual art division. I keep within the urban contemporary art scene where painting and sculpture are my chosen mediums. I exhibit regularly, aiming to continue the growth of my artist identity. I work on many different ongoing projects which branch not only into the “art world”, but also the fashion industry, public/community work (painting & installation), and illustration.

How would you describe your work?

My work has evolved quite dramatically over the past few years so it is difficult to describe it all in a nutshell. From about 2013, my work took a major turn as I became more inspired by our mix of urban visual culture. My most recent work (which will be shown in London in July) is probably the easiest to describe. This new body of work, entitled Overload, describes excessiveness and randomness. The process has become immediate rather than pre-meditated and is symptomatic of an “information overload” pertaining to the nature of how we currently exist, as well as my own perception of my surroundings, and how I process this “overload” in my own mind.

These artworks have sort of become self-portraits of my mind, and of the way I think and perceive. These paintings appear as clusters made up of totally random objects/ideas capturing my private cerebral conversations, offering a crystal clear reflection of the transient and accumulative symbols of our urban existence.

Explain your process when it comes to painting a new piece.

Imagine sitting for a moment trying to pinpoint exactly what it is you are thinking about. For me, there are always hundreds of images and thoughts darting around. Instead of pre-planning a painting, I will sit in front of it and literally begin constructing it by putting down the very image I just thought of. I continue to construct the painting in this way until the canvas is full. I create the works almost as fast as I think of the images/ideas, allowing me to capture a particular thought process. I do not consider the ‘meaning’ of a particular image or whether it makes sense to be there. So, by the time I have completed a painting, I have literally included what was happening in my own mind at that time. I have become able to paint extremely fast in that I can construct/document a particular thought process, however long or short, translating these thoughts and ideas into something visual.

You often feature elements of graffiti in your work. What role has graffiti art played in your life and artistic approach?

Graffiti has played a major role in my life. Not from the point where I paint graffiti, but rather the culture it comes from. I admire the process and its relevance to current societies around the world. Other than its visual appeal, which I find inspiring, I am drawn to how it connects people and has its own unique form or method of delivering freedom of speech.

Have you ever tried to paint graffiti on the street?

I have painted a few times, but not recently. I gravitated more towards my fine art work which has become a full time career. I try to include hints or elements of graffiti in my paintings.

Does your work reflect your personality?

Yes, totally.

Do you have a meaning behind your work? Do you try to bring out anything in your work?

Yes, there is a lot of meaning behind my work – especially my most recent work. There is a lot to explain though. Perhaps I answered this question briefly in my previous answers.

Tell me more about your upcoming solo show in London.

I have created an entirely new body of work. It is very different from what I have done before, and is a ‘style’ that I’m going to continue with. I was introduced to Graffik Gallery through 34 Fine Art Gallery, where I was invited to do this solo exhibition. We all felt that this particular body of work has become my strongest work and that London would be the perfect place to introduce it.

What else are you interested in?

Many things. To name a few; I am interested in psychology, tattooing, and collecting sneakers. I am interested in special effects as I used to work as a sculptor and prosthetic artist for the movie industry. Also, teaching art, although I don’t work as a lecturer anymore. The list could go on.

Do you have any other exciting plans for the rest of this year?

I do. I have several exciting projects coming up for when I return from London, as well as exhibitions lined up, including The Cape Town Art Fair and a solo show in Cape Town for next year (2015).

More info about her upcoming solo exhibition in London HERE.

>> http://www.jadedoreenwaller.co.za/

EVENT \\ Exhibition: Overload - Jade Doreen Waller Solo Exhibition in London

Jade Doreen Waller, an innovative young artist from Cape Town, is creating a stir in the interdisciplinary visual art industry with her unique approach to Urban Contemporary art. Waller has just been invited for a solo exhibition at cutting edge Urban gallery, Graffik, in Notting Hill, London. This will be her first international solo exhibition. Her work was first shown in a group exhibition at 34 Fine Art Gallery in 2010 and created quite a buzz. For the upcoming exhibition – Overload - the artist created an entire new body of work that shows off her creativity and skill. Waller’s concepts are deeply rooted in Urban Contemporary subculture, evident in the multiple layers of images in her work.

The works are symptomatic of an information overload. Her paintings present bundles of tightly packed regurgitated symbols, which purge and scream the plethora of scattered thoughts that dart around Waller’s brain during an engagement with her canvas. Her allegories, a glimpse into Waller’s world, are superbly realised with meticulous detail, reminiscent of Dutch and Flemish styles, making her work inescapably alluring. The scenes of Waller’s works show a bizarre juxtaposition of objects in unexpected arrangements; their realist execution with their sugared-up yet metallic use of colour all work to create artworks that speak to the discourse of Pop Surrealism, in which young artists use traditional methods in contemporary ways.

Whilst being mesmerized by the sumptuousness of her paintwork, the onlooker is met with image clusters of a constipated consumerist culture about to explode. Trapped inside Waller’s brain, by way of her paintings, one feels assaulted by the densely packed meteorites of urban street culture. Like a virus inhabiting her mind, it’s easy to feel contaminated by her corrupt organisms. Within the infected galaxies of her daydreams, Waller’s conglomerates of toys, pills, food, body parts, cartoon icons, insects, bric-a-brac, games and accessories become suspended between the beginning and the end of creation. While her paintings capture a private cerebral conversation, they offer a crystal clear reflection of the transient and accumulative symbols of our urban existence.

Waller’s ability to innovatively manipulate and combine contrasting images offers a lucid insight into how she interprets and perceives her surrounding reality.

The exhibition opens on 24 July and runs until 7 August.

Graffik Gallery
284 Portobello Road, London
Tel: 020 8354 3592
art@graffikgallery.com

>> READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JADE HERE

EVENT \\ Exhibition: Between Ourselves

Between Ourselves”

A solo exhibition by Jade Doreen Waller

Opens tonight, 27 March, and runs until 28 April 2012

The artwork of Jade Doreen Waller is characterised by an ethereal punctuation of symbols, whispering of a magical momentary fusion of the past, the present and the future. Waller’s allegories, a glimpse into her world, are superbly realised with meticulous detail, reminiscent of Dutch and Flemish styles. Her works are inescapably alluring, enticing one into a deep oceanic subconscious, aesthetically aided by the classical yet uncluttered compositions, the smooth sumptuousness of paint, cold pearlescent colour, tangible and accessible detail, and the radiance of dark contrasts.

Like the jellyfish, Waller says, one can easily become suspended between the beginning and the end of life, carried away by the ocean of circumstance between the surface and the seabed. Ironically, though preoccupied with birth and death, Waller’s work captures the transient currents between these two points. The corruption of heavy experience hangs on the eyelids of innocent dolls, whose thick black lashes gaze downwards intensely, contemplating their own vulnerability. Suspended in Satin cocoons, they hover between the end and the beginning, between the beginning and the end - like pupas without agency, programmed to hatch. Images of dead trees, brittle skulls, classical clocks, busy rats, graceful hawks and puffy moths are all part of Waller’s symbolic vocabulary, suggestive of experiences which, for her, have the tendency to steal both an authentic self and the real ‘here and now’ moments of life. Such reflections are necessary, Waller says, because, “continuously faced with the arrival and departure of life, we often lose the sense of what everything in-between means.”

Sewing Skulls, 2012
Oil on canvas
100 x 100cm

The scenes of Waller’s works are set for performance, transcending their permanence; she sets a stage, reinforced by the theatrical drapery of symbolic punctuation, all composed with a discerning design sense. The bizarre juxtaposition of objects, their unexpected arrangements, and their realist but metallic execution all work to create artworks that speak to the discourse of Pop Surrealism, in which young artists use traditional methods in contemporary ways.

Her ability to innovatively manipulate and combine contrasting images offers a lucid insight into how Waller interprets and perceives her surrounding reality. Although this young and innovative artist is freshly graduated, she is making waves in the interdisciplinary visual art industry with her unique approach to Urban Contemporary art.

34FineArt
Second Floor Hills Building, Buchanan Square
160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday - Friday 10:34-16:34
Saturday 10:34-13:34

Suspended Perch, 2012
Oil on canvas
130 x 70cm

>> www.34fineart.com/