Minimalism speaks of restraint: it’s about adding nothing more, or less, than what is essential. This can easily translate to be harsh or uninspiring, but a minimal approach can also lead to something that is aesthetically beautiful and truly satisfying. This is what we wanted to highlight in our minimal-list, which features work by 16 creatives that is understated, but impactful. While some of what you’ll see might not adhere to the technical definition of the word entirely, it serves as an example of minimal use of colour, line, form, etc. or a minimalist approach. Take a scroll through and enjoy the mid-week escape.
MUTE by Jenevieve Lyons
MUTE by Jenevieve Lyons is an expression of wearable simplicity whereby garments are intricately designed and constructed with the use of high quality textiles. The ready-to-wear collection articulates an aesthetic of ‘oddity’, which is filtered through the conceptual side of the brand, continuing the central theme of visual parable.
Read an interview with Jenevieve on her bold approach to minimalism.
Illustrations by Jaco Haasbroek
“It’s quite basic – the main driving force behind my work is usually an idea or concept. I try not to take it too seriously. I like a play on words and drawing faces on things,” Jaco Haasbroek says of his approach. Earlier this year, he was comissioned with his favourite project to date: to refresh the Chappies facts by bringing a whopping 170 new ones to life through simple line illustrations.
Jaco tells us more about his simple, tongue in cheek work.
Art publications designed by Gabrielle Guy
Book design is a kind of art in and of itself, and nowhere more so than in the case of art publication design. This is the area of expertise of Cape Town based graphic designer Gabrielle Guy, who has developed a repuation for her careful attention to detail and considered approach. Describing her design aesthetic she says: “It’s very minimal, very ‘non’. Almost like I’m doing nothing at all.” The book she designed for Zander Blom, below, is an example of her refined style.
We spoke to Gabrielle about her work and why she thinks good design should be obvious.
Photographs by Willem-Dirk du Toit, with styling by Sonia Rentsch
South African-born photographer Willem-Dirk du Toit has been shooting advertising and fashion around the globe for the past nine years. In his diverse portfolio, a few particularly eye catching series of photograhs are those he created in with long-time collaborator and stylist, Sonia Rentsch. Speaking of their methods, Willem says: “Our creative process from inception to final product is always very dynamic. Our key approach is usually to simplify and move away from the obvious and then add a splash of colour.”
Read an interview with Willem-Dirk about his background, influences and interest in the technical aspects of photography.
Found object sculptures by Ruann Coleman
Born and raised in Johannesburg but living and working in Stellenbosch, Ruann Coleman is a young artist seeking balance. His works consists of found objects sourced from nature and junk yards that he shapes or distorts so that they become free-standing sculptures or balance precariously against one another, in a way that’s more than a little frustrating to figure out. His work, decieving in its simplicity, often elicits the age-old musing, “Is it art?”.
In the lead up to the FNB Joburg Art Fair earlier this year, we visited Ruann in studio.
Black and white photographs by Warren van Rensburg
Warren van Resnburg’s photographs are beautiful because they get straight to the point. There’s no visual trickery but rather, evidence of an artist who knows what he wants out of an image. Born in Vereeniging, “the land of dreams”, Warren has been shooting professionally since 2002 and cites music, fly fishing and people as his biggest inspirations.
For something a little different, read an interview by Stef Naude / ST[E]AK on behalf of Warren and see more of his work.
Pieces by Gregor Jenkin Studio
Led by Gregor Jenkin, the small team that make up Gregor Jenkin Studio are interested not in producing design or art but rather, in the physical act of creation and manufacture. With design as a by-product of this age old process, the studio sets out to come up with solutions to certain problems and to find new ways of doing things. This attention to process, combined with Gregor’s reimagining of everyday objects, forms the foundation for an authentic set up producing niche products which are at once thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Abstract landscape paintings by Alexia Vogel
It’s so easy to get lost in the work of Alexia Vogel, a young emerging artist who is championing a fresh approach to the tradition of landscape painting. “A lot of my work,” she says, “stems from old family photographs in which the landscape is prevalent. There is something very romantic and endearing about these images and places that – along with sentimentality – have sparked my need to paint. I consider all of my paintings landscapes, even the most abstract ones. I see them as colour fields that are extensions of the images I look at.”
Alexia tells us more about graduating from Michaelis and her thoughts as a young artist in Cape Town.
‘Mono’ typeface by Ateljee
The Mono typeface by Ateljee – the Joburg based brainchild of Fred Swart, Jaco Burger and Helene Botha – was designed over an on-off period of six months. The main idea was to create a typeface reminiscent of the elementary letters drawn when first learning how to write. The concept behind creating letterforms was to create a powerful way of communicating words and ideas, using a very simplistic and clear approach. This stripped down way of “writing” is achieved by using geometric shapes as building blocks of the typeface, circles for the lowercase and rectangles for the uppercase glyphs – giving the feeling that a document is “written” and not “designed”.
See more and read about Ateljee’s philosophy to move away from cluttered, stuffy design and instead focus on the function of an object.
Klomp Ceramics by Alexia Klompje
A woman of many skills, Alexia Klompje launched Klomp Ceramics from her home studio in Cape Town just under a year ago. Since then she has created four collections of hand crafted ceramics and her pieces, which are bold in their simplicity, each tell a unique story.
Read an interview with Alexia about her creative roots, aesthetic development and what inspires her.
YOH! ‘On Sight’ lookbook photographed by Travys Owen
YOH! – the ‘creative outlet’ of Patrick Visser and Raees Saiet – launched their debut streetwear range this year. ‘On Sight’ is a monochromatic, minimalist reflection of the time it exists in; the revival of 90s fashion, symbols and big brand logos meets the age of text-based communication and the emoticon. For the lookbook, the duo enlisted Travys Owen to shoot the images at his apartment/pop-up studio in the stark style that is becoming his signature.
Watch the accompanying video by Adriaan Louw which follows a YOH!-clad clique through the streets of Cape Town.
Photographs by Lisa Ting Chong
Lisa Ting Chong is a graphic designer living and working in Cape Town. As a member of rsa_minimal, she also has a much loved Instagram account (with 18k followers and counting) dedicated to all things beautiful and serene. She describes her style of photography as “minimalism with an element of surprise” and is drawn to finding moments of calm in every day life.
Furniture by Jasper Eales Original
“A need for functionality, usability and simplicity is the general starting point of all my products,” says Jasper Eales, who believes that one should never over design something but rather, refine it to its simplest functioning form. Shown here, the physical iterations of this philosophy include Jasper’s Plank Shelf and Long Leg Mirror.
Renee Nicole Sander’s graduate collection
“I have always been attracted to minimalistic forms and pale colours. Various shapes in natural or man-made forms are projected into my designs as I love structured objects. Awkward proportions always catch my eye and I try to incorporate this element into my designs,” says Renee Nicole Sander. Currently working as a fashion assistant Renee graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology last year. Her graduate collection (photographed by Kent Andreasen) was inspired by glacier formations. “Looking at these formations from afar and close up,” she says, “I was able to use these interesting shapes and textures and transfer them into my collection. As glaciers are often pale and brooding, I felt that this best described my design aesthetic as I am attracted to simplistic designs with depth in their form.”
Renee tells us more about her graduate collection and where her interest in fashion originated.
Multidisciplinary design studio CLRS & Co.
CLRS&Co. is a multidisciplinary design studio that, in their own words, “positions diverse work spaces around the same table, forming a platform for attentive translation of the obscure into a precise, handmade geometry.” Drawing on the strength of their conceptual ability, CLRS&Co. produce work across the disciplines of graphic design, photography, visual merchandising, copywriting, illustration and installation.
Client: School of Light | Creative director: Marcii Goosen | Art directors: Claire Johnson and Bruce Mackay | Copywriter: Sarah Claire Picton | Font coding: Roman Steinmetz | Photographer: Mareli Esterhuizen
Rodan Kane Hart
Rodan Kane Hart is an artist creating experiential structures and sculptures inspired by the architectural forms found in the urban environments of Johannesburg and Cape Town. Influenced by his own experience of the cities in which he has lived, the fabricated and structured aesthetic of his work is an attempt to highlight the constructed and foreign nature of the South African city. With the belief that an audience’s response is a vital component when it comes to making relevant art, Rodan endeavours to elicit an emotional response through the gesture of art.