Oude Meester | Advice for Young Masters #InspireMastery


This November Oude Meester is bringing the star of their latest TV commercial, Idris Elba, back to South Africa for The Oude Meester Tour. Together with South African actor Siyabonga Radebe (District 9), Elba will be visiting Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg to meet with a lucky few young masters to share his journey and inspirations, discuss the idea of ‘mastery’ and offer the lessons he has learned along the way to success.


On that note, we decided to compile a collection of advice for masters in the making shared right here on 10and5 in previous interviews with inspiring South African artists, designers and entrepreneurs. In the spirit of forever learning, here are some quotes to inspire:


On perfecting your craft:


“I grew up drawing. My schoolbooks were full of drawings of whatever I was interested in at the time. I don’t know why I did it, but I used to painstakingly draw logos at a young age, like the Bad Boy logo and the Nike swoosh, until I got it right, trying to work out where the lines belong on the page. I did this throughout whether I was trying to draw the ideal wave or perfect a cartoon character. I realize now that that early sense of iteration is part of my natural process today. I often just draw the same thing over and over again until I feel it’s right for the final execution.” – Graphic Designer, Matt Kay


“At the moment I am coming to realise how quality, superior concept and a good work ethic informs a sense of balance” – Artist, Athi-Patra Ruga


Athi-Patra Ruga
Athi-Patra Ruga


“Stay teachable. The minute you think you’ve got it is when you’ve lost it.” – Tattoo Artist, Richard Phipson


“Having started a company we know how to make 5cents look like R500. That’s the one thing we do differently. When you do a job the budget should never be an excuse, you’re only as good as your last job so if you’re going to take something on you should do it to the best of your capabilities. So what do I bring? I bring production value” – Director, Mpho Twala


“Patience and acceptance. Everything takes time, and nothing is the way you think it will be. Be in it for the long haul.” – Entreprenuer, Jens Herf


On mentorship:


“I believe it’s something that every aspiring photographer should do, it not only speeds up the learning process but exposes you to different techniques as well as being able to “get your foot in the door”. Being an assistant is not all glamorous but the hard work is humbling and teaches one etiquette.” – Photographer, Caroline Mackintosh


“Working for Rankin was a huge challenge simply because of the amount of work he produces. Being his 2nd assistant and studio manager comes with a lot of responsibility. Rankin wears many hats from photographer to publisher; he shoots the largest advertising campaigns on the planet and manages to squeeze a 400 page bi-annual magazine in between those, all while flying to New York and Los Angeles almost every month. The knowledge and experience I gained is indispensable…Working on that level teaches you the hierarchy of this industry, it teaches you what my friend and I have dubbed ‘setiquette’: your on-set etiquette. It’s helped me streamline my own sets to run on an international level. It’s also helped me perform under immense pressure and solve problems at a rapid pace.” – Photographer, Darren Gwynn


“I worked as an editor for about six years. This is where I cut my teeth and learned to tell a story. I have always been producing my own mini-documentaries on the side, though, but never had the guts to take the leap to directing because I knew it’s a very difficult career path financially and it’s super competitive. But that burning desire to tell my own stories and initiate projects just did not go away. One day, I woke up and the penny just dropped – I had to take the leap. I had no romantic illusions of my change in career trajectory and knew I needed to earn my stripes, and get some solid mentorship from the best. I then did a three-year stint in creative research, with my last two years at Bouffant and Picture Tree. This was an invaluable time of expanding my knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be a good director and getting a bird’s eye view of the industry.” – Director, Wim Steytler


Wim Steytler
Wim Steytler


“The best way to learn is from experience, if not from yourself then from those that know…” – Anthea Poulos, The Bread


“People ask if I want to mentor, I don’t think that I can mentor. I don’t make the young guys that come in here do my research. I treat them as my equals as much as I can because the only way that you will learn is if someone gives you something on your plate so that you can make your mistakes but also at the same time we eat off the same plate. So we do mentor but its in working together. Sometimes I let them direct a small scene. They’ll do it a particular way then I’ll show them my way and in between they’ll find how they want to work.” – Director, Mpho Twala


“Working with Pieter Hugo was amazing. I learned how to be professional, learned how to take criticism constructively, learned not to be too attached to my work and most important is that hard work always pays off.” – Photographer, Sipho Gongxeka


On taking risks:


“I’ve left my life open to experiences instead of trying to normalise my life or condemn my curiosities. I think that’s a really important thing to aspire to as an artist.” – Director, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer


“Trust yourself and your artistic choices. Value your vision and unique articulation of beauty.” – Accessories Designer, Katherine-Mary Pichulik




“It’s better to be ambitious and fail than play it safe.” – Writer, Lauren Beukes


“I like nothing more than surprising myself – being able to step out of my body and say ‘Is this really happening?!’ and then grapple to get back home changed but safe.” – Documentary Photographer, Damien Schumann


“Anyone who is afraid of taking risks.” – Fashion Designer, Tzvi Karp on who follows trends.


On making mistakes:


“I prefer to keep on drawing and use the “mistakes” as part of the outcome.” – Artist, Ello




“I think it’s important to assume that there is always room for feedback, improvement and learning.” – Strategist/Baker, Dinika Govender


“One thing I have learnt this year is that good unexpected mistakes rarely happen so I prepare for everything and cover myself on all bases. The more you prepare the luckier you get so to speak.” – Photographer, Travys Owen


On rising above challenges:


“There is a certain fear of uncertainty – unknown unknowns – and even self doubt that comes with starting a business, but it’s a space that can break you or make you bulletproof because of the constant challenges that you need to create solutions for. You start to worry less about trivial fears; there’s a new level of enlightenment that you experience being a business starter.” – Digital Entrepreneur, Mike Sharman


“The biggest mountain to conquer is self doubt. It’s important to know exactly what you want (aesthetically) from a story and then it’s important (if you don’t succeed) to forgive yourself for being fallible.” – Stylist, Gabrielle Kannemeyer


Gabrielle Kannemeyer
Gabrielle Kannemeyer


“I think the main obstacle or struggle over the years has been to find balance. Balance between life and work, balance between money and art, balance between expectations and delivery, balance between self-marketing and integrity. I also think the struggle for any creative person is writer’s block. There are good times and bad and you have to roll through the bad to find the good again.” – Photographer, Ross Garrett


“For us, there’s no backward- so we try by all means to tire ourselves with what we do while also enjoying ourselves, and the balance works- living off what we want and are good at, and we can’t imagine doing anything else! Know what you want and follow through. When you put it down on paper, after proclaiming to the powers of will, that the business of what you love doing is what you want to do- work at it with an urgency, never let it slip away into the hole of “I-once-started-but-never-did”. If this happens, you will have sweaty hands when trying to pull the dream back out the hole.” – Imiso Ceramics



Go to oudemeester.com to sign up for the Blue Door Society and stand a chance to spend time learning more with Idris Elba and Siya Radebe.




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