Our next list of Self-Starters features those who’re doing things differently for themselves in the world of art. Whether it’s facilitating craft and design collaborations, running an independent gallery, creating specialised arts publishing, or representing a collective of independent illustrators; these people are each doing something unique in the arts world.
Who: The Kalashnikovv Gallery
What: A Johannesburg-based contemporary art gallery, project space and consultancy
Why: MJ Turpin and Matthew Dean have been organising independent exhibitions in unlikely spaces for several years. In January this year (2013) they founded Kalashnikovv Gallery in 70 Juta as a semi-permanent exhibition space. Since then, they’ve curated a different exhibition in the space almost every month. Kalashnikovv has become a space for artists of all kinds (from painters to illustrators to graffiti artists and pretty much everything else in between) to exhibit other than in an established gallery.
What: A platform for promoting master craft through creative collaborations
Why: Dutchmann is the collaborative project of Gavin Rooke. It began in 2012 when he met master surfboard shaper Spider Murphy in Durban. Wanting to showcase the skill, dedication and imagination invested in the making of Murphy’s classic boards, Rooke invited 10 artists and designers to each create works using the boards as canvas. The result was Delft. This has been followed by other collaborative craft and design projects, which each through the pairing of master crafters and artists, create new objects of both visual and skilled beauty.
Dutchmann poster portfolio for Kalahari Speed Week.
Who: The Fineprint
What: A South African online graphic art print store
Why: The Fineprint was born out of a love of local graphic art, and the desire to make it easily accessible to whoever else shares that same love, buyers and sellers alike. The site functions as an online emporium of artworks by South African photographers, illustrators and designers, where each artist sets their own sales price and product size, and The Fine Print takes care of professionally printing and delivering the works.
Who: Fourthwall Books
What: Art and architecture book publishers
Why: Bronwyn Law-Viljoen and Oliver Barstow are the duo behind Fourthwall Books. They established the company with the hope of raising the bar for arts publishing in South Africa by creating beautifully designed and written books on art, architecture and photography. Bronwyn and Oliver work closely with the artists and writers for each publication, resulting in books that are renowned for their excellent writing and careful, intelligent design.
Who: Alexander’s Band
What: Artists’ representation service for illustrators
Why: Alexander’s Band is a representation service for both established and up-and-coming freelance illustrators. Alexander’s Band is passionate about both the art and business side of illustration. Emma Cook uses her own experience as a freelance illustrator together with her keen business sense to promote other freelance illustrators and make and manage connections between artists and clients.