INTERVIEWED BY Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Supplied; Yoshi Yanagita (Sea Walls)
Step into the vivid world of South African artist Amy-Lee Tak, where vibrant hues and bold shapes converge.
Specialising in depicting relaxed, unapologetic nude women against diverse backdrops, Amy-Lee‘s art serves as an ode to empowerment and individuality. We caught up with her to find out more about her artistic journey, signature style and big plans for 2024.
When did you start creating art?
I’ve loved painting and drawing ever since I can remember and was always getting into trouble for doodling during class. I stopped painting for a time around my early twenties but (luckily) found my practice again about six years ago. It’s been my safe space ever since.
Tell us about your style?
My style has evolved quite a bit over the years. When I started drawing and painting again six years ago, I was mostly doing minimal black line paintings and pen drawings. After a couple of years, I wasn’t really getting the same level of creative outlet from it anymore so I moved onto colour. Since then, a few style themes have remained constant: my use of bright, vibrant colours, flat application style and bold, solid shapes. My work has become bigger and a lot more detailed recently but in summary, I’d describe it as a colourful, playful smorgasbord of self-love. Very happy, ample good vibes.
What is your favourite subject matter?
Nude women that are super chill and unapologetically themselves. They’re my daily reminder to keep striving for the same. Women have been my only subject matter really (give or take the odd landscape painting), but I change up the scenes in which they appear.
Do you have a preferred medium?
Gouache on board, but I’ve also been playing around with ceramics recently which has been really fun. Whenever I can, I like to try different mediums to stop me from getting too comfy and stuck.
What does a regular day look like?
I generally wake up at around 5:30am (season dependent, obviously) and get a nice workout in. I try to fit some journaling or meditation in after, and will usually listen to an interesting podcast while I’m in the shower. Out of necessity, I tend to put a lot of emphasis on emotionally regulating activities. My partner and I will do a cute little pre-work coffee run if it’s not too late, and I’ll get to the studio at around 9am. Each day is a little different and depends on how much freelance work I have, or if I’m doing a commission or prepping a lot of art for something big like a show. My painting practice tends to arrive in circumstantial bursts depending on time, requirement and honestly, how inspired I’m feeling. I try to end the day with a nice walk, either solo or with a friend, and in the evening, I’ll generally do some work admin while watching a good series. My partner and I have also recently taken to playing UNO before bed, so that’s become something of a nighttime ritual.
What inspires you?
Mostly other forms of creativity. Other art, music, beautiful architecture and interior design. Also emotions – I love creating art that conveys a feeling. I’m also deeply inspired by nature and try to turn to it whenever I’m in a bit of a funk.
What are your plans for 2024?
2023 was filled with wonderful collaborations and mediums that I’ve never done before (for example, street art and clothing collabs), so I’m hoping that this year holds more of the same. I love connecting with other creatives and brands so I’d really like to prioritise that. It’s good for me and gets me out of my little studio hidey-hole. In terms of my personal work, I’m really keen to push myself out of my comfort zone and experiment with different mediums. Exhibiting again would also be lovely, so I’ll definitely be investigating that, too!