INTERVIEWED BY Mary Garner
Cape Town-based designer and illustrator Ruschka du Toit talks to us about botanical inspiration, the female form and who she’d most like to collaborate with in SA.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Nostalgic, naïve and authentic.
What do you most enjoy about painting the female form?
Painting the female form in ink has some sort of magical effect on my state of being, both in the moment and on a deeper emotional level – it is very therapeutic, almost meditative. I think this simple act of painting a subject that I often struggle with helps me to confront my insecurities and find healing.
Which local artist would you most like to collaborate with, and why?
Elsabé Milandri – it would be a dream to learn from her! I love her style and way of mark making. Her work is emotive – it feels free and intuitive – something I really resonate with and strive to achieve in my own work.
Your work often depicts scenes from nature, whether it’s a scene from your mother’s garden, flowers or plants. Where do you draw botanical inspiration from?
It is usually the shape and lines that a leaf makes or the colours of a flower that makes me want to create an impression of it. Inspiration often finds me. Like the sidewalk poppies I painted – they caught my eye on a walk through my neighbourhood. And the painting of the pink chair in my mother’s garden was from a photograph I took in a moment that felt very nostalgic to me.
Apart from painting, you freelance as a designer. Which branding project have you most enjoyed working on, and why?
I really enjoy working with Pichulik on their seasonal campaigns. We have developed a very organic and intuitive design process. It also helps working with people who continuously inspire you with their creativity. I also recently worked on the branding for my husband, Anthony Gird, and his team’s new venture, The Botanical Bar. I designed their logo and painted some beautiful indigenous botanicals with plenty of creative freedom. Working with people who value my skills and trust me with their brand is the most enjoyable and rewarding.
What do you have lined up for 2018?
I hope to paint more and perhaps create a body of work that I can exhibit.