Cape Town-based artist Kyle Jardine chats to VISI about his love of heritage buildings, illustrating architecture and what’s next.
How did you initially get into architectural illustrations?
I have a passion, appreciation and love for both the design and history of heritage buildings in particular, which translates very naturally into inspiration when I sit down to work on an illustration. I started illustrating buildings, historic monuments and sites while travelling, which initially took the form of a kind of visual diary, but ultimately became a coherent body of work when I began to illustrate my home city. This lead to a solo exhibition of my work, along with other exciting projects and commissions.
You’ve illustrated many iconic buildings in Cape Town, from the Mount Nelson and the Green Point lighthouse to heritage buildings across the city. Is there a piece you’ve enjoyed creating the most so far?
It’s difficult to pick a favourite because I always get so excited when throwing myself into a new architectural challenge. That being said, there are a few favourites of mine in my Heritage City collection; in particular, the Old Town House, because the history alone is beyond fascinating to me. I also love The Athletic Club & Social building in the heart of the city – the exterior has undergone such a dramatic transformation in the restoration of this gem of a building. More recently, I’ve illustrated a few images of the Mount Nelson hotel. The setting below the mountain, the history, the eccentric and classic soft pink of the exterior – need I go on? Quite obviously, I’m obsessed!
Do you have a favourite building in Cape Town?
As I mentioned above, the Old Town House is most definitely a favourite. Learning about the construction, its initial purpose, the various owners (and what they each brought to the building) is most intriguing to me, and a huge part of what draws me to it. Added to that it’s in Greenmarket Square, which is filled with such profound history. This is the heart of the city; the place from which it grew! I find it utterly fascinating.
Is there a building that you’d really like to illustrate in the future?
Cape Town is a cultural melting pot which, thankfully, is reflected in its architecture. For me, this means that even though this has been my home base for years, I feel like I’m always discovering and obsessing over newfound gems. In answer to your question, I have my sights set on few beauties – my only problem is that the options are endless.
If you could visit any city in the world to illustrate the architecture found there, where would you choose to go, and why?
I would love to go to Barcelona. The city is filled with architectural masterpieces. The Gaudi buildings are literally a dream! I’d also love to capture the many charms of Amsterdam. In many ways, you just can’t beat old European architecture.
What do you love most about being creative?
Drawing is my outlet; I disappear into another universe when illustrating. I love that there are no rules and that artistic license allows me to embrace the quirks of my individuality. I get a thrill out of reimagining something that exists, knowing that my boundaries are endless and that there’s no telling how it will turn out. Art is subjective and not everyone has to like your work. That’s freedom.
Which mediums do you prefer to use when creating?
I use ink on paper. I’ve worked through a variety of mediums, but my love for ink and the exploration of colour through illustration is my happy place!
Where can readers get hold of your work?
Any exciting new projects coming up?
Most recently I launched a solo exhibition of my work, Heritage City, which was unfortunately short lived due to the COVIDA-19 pandemic, but we have reopened the exhibition for the month of June. The work is for sale at ART IS ART Gallery (9 Rose Street, De Waterkant) and we have extended a re-opening special of 25% off of all pieces.
In between, I am always working on something! My Tiny Town collection (a series of miniature architectural illustrations) and my Concrete Jungle series (a slightly off-the-wall approach to Capetonian architecture inspired by my love of fashion) are both underway.
Follow @kylejardineart on Instagram to see more illustrations and keep up to date with his work.