‘While attending art school in The Hague in the Netherlands, I learnt that I didn’t want to be a lonely artist in a studio waiting to be discovered by the next gallery. So I did various jobs: working as an assistant stylist, a model, a television producer and an art director for a menswear label. I was always adapting to others’ tastes and choices, never my own. Leaving that commercial setting, I pursued what I always wanted to do: drawing. Sitting still is not something that suits me, so I started to draw and figure out how I could make a statement as an illustrator in this part of the world. By starting my company Blandat, I began to produce illustrations, which translated as prints, on cloth and in fashion. I decided to create exclusive prints as an alternative to an African wax print. The 1970s are a huge influence on me: the colours, the designs and the shapes.
They are soft, yet firm and bold. My family and I all look at objects dierently. We like a great Eames chair, but a kitsch painting can be equally pretty. I’ve sourced lots of my favourite things o the streets. Beauty can be in all kinds of design – I like the cheap stu just as much as the expensive. There are no real rules: the only important thing is that it needs a soul, a design, a life. It needs a story. Our style is eclectic. It is a mix between ’70s design and robot chic. The Starck gun lamp is a good example – it mixes edgy design and aesthetics while making a statement.
The wallpaper in the dining table is another – a jungle with grenades from my own collection. The pieces in our home were individually selected and all go together, yet at the same time nothing goes; it’s this clash that makes it interesting. I use the same principle in my prints – the bigger the clash, the more hysterical, the better A love of the ’70s is apparent throughout the house.
The combination of browns with orange and turquoise is beautiful, with a splash of gold to make it more James Bond-ish. When I saw the house for the first time, I fell in love with the patterns in the tiles and bricks – it was the first house we saw in South Africa that had character, was original and had a soul. The house ultimately inspired me to go one step further with Blandat, which was to expand into interior design.
Translating my prints into a wallpaper collection in collaboration with designer Robin Sprong, I have the perfect backdrop for my collection of printed fabrics and garments. At the moment I have a crush on ceramics. There are nice developments going on; the combination of ceramics and other materials is very interesting. Digital printing is going to be the next big thing. Printing today is not limited to screen printing, so there are endless possibilities. .