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Grad Guide 2020: Kirsty Davids

A graduate from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Kirsty Davids’ style is minimalist and in some ways surreal, favoring pastel hues and bold forms. Her passion for safety against gender-based violence is echoed in the foundation of KARE For Women. For our annual graduate series, the illustrator and graphic designer talked to us about pursuing her career since completing her studies.

Kirsty Davids

Where and what did you study?

I studied graphic design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). It was an experience that definitely took me out of my comfort zone but I am incredibly grateful for everything I learned while attending the institution.  

What do you love about illustration? 

What I love most about illustration is how challenging yet easy it is for me. When I  just started out as an illustrator I struggled with subject matter and trying to think of  a good concept. Now I am free to do absolutely anything and I am inspired by almost everything. I don’t illustrate for anyone else, it is purely for me and if people enjoy it, that’s a huge bonus. 

Tell us about the work you created during your final year. Any projects that stand out for you?

My final year of my studies was definitely the best for me in terms of the work I was producing. I had found what I loved to do and the many ways I could show it. One of my electives was 3D design, I don’t practice it that much anymore but a project that stands out to me was the creation of bins which would encourage children to recycle. I created three bins, each a unique colour, but on top of the bin there was a hoop so that children or even adults could throw their garbage through the hoop into the recycling bin. It was a fun way to encourage recycling among all ages and ended up being my highest mark ever received. 

How would you describe your style to someone who’d never seen your work before? 

I would describe my style as abstracted with a hint of animation. I have recently been experimenting with collage and I will hopefully incorporate this into my work soon.

What would you like to be known for in the local creative industry?

I would like to be known for always trying something new. I would not like to be an artist that sticks to a certain medium or subject matter for too long, I want to focus on branching out as much as possible and creating in every sphere of the industry. 

What are your plans for 2021?

My biggest plan for 2021 is to officially launch my graphic design business. It is currently a side hustle which I would love to focus more of my attention on. My smaller plans/goals are to showcase my illustrations in public (when it is safe to do so haha) and most importantly, to become more confident in my craft and my abilities.  

What were some personal projects (not necessarily linked to studying), that you’re passionate about?

A project that I am extremely passionate about is the initiative KARE For Women that my cousin and I started recently. It is an initiative to combat gender-based violence in South Africa. We have organised two successful donation drives over the past couple of months which go to women and children in need. I have always wanted to try and do something more to help others and being able to start this initiative and receiving so much support is something I am so grateful for.

Follow @krst.d_ on Instagram.


Grad Guide is an annual series from Between 10and5, profiling some of South Africa’s most exciting creative graduates across the fields of fashion, art, photography and design. Find the full 2020 Grad Guide here



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