Nando’s Creative Exchange: Q&A with Robyn Munnick

INTERVIEWED BY Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Supplied

Nando’s Creative Exchange (NCX) aims to recognise emerging South African fine artists who demonstrate exceptional ability and help them take the next steps in their careers. We spoke with Robyn Munnick, one of the chosen local artists for the programme.

How did you get involved in art?

As a child, I always enjoyed art and being creative in general. My parents always encouraged this through enrolling me in extra-curricular art classes which ultimately lead to me doing Visual Art in High School. In turn, this ultimately made me realise that I would like to pursue a career in the visual arts. I studied Fine Art, specialising in Painting at an undergrad and postgraduate level. This exposed me to an array of artistic possibilities, exhibitions, ideas, fellow students, lecturers, and artists – people who are like minded that became friends.

How would you describe your work?

Nonfigurative works which explore different forms of mark-making.

Can you tell us a bit about your style and artistic process?

As the conceptual underpinnings of my work usually stem from a personal point of departure, I use conceptually relatable references by creating abstract forms to portray my concept. I rely on techniques such as carving, stencilling, and assemblage – brought together with the technical qualities of Painting. 

Do you have a preferred medium that you like to work in?

While I am trained as a painter and usually use Painting to solidify my work, I also enjoy working dimensionally by breaking the 2-dimensional bounds of what would be traditionally considered a painting. 

Any local artist that you admire?

There are many local artists I admire, but currently I am really enjoying the work of Mary Sibande. I saw one of her exhibitions as a student many years ago and was in awe of her attention to detail and dedication to her craft by extending her capabilities as an artist across artistic disciplines.

What does being part of Nando’s Creative Exchange Programme mean to you?

Being a part of NCX has brought on an immense sense of confidence in myself as an artist and my work in general. I am also so grateful as my work is being recognised beyond the scope of the Eastern Cape.

How do you feel about mentorship and learning through an experienced industry professional?

The beauty of having a mentor who is an experienced industry professional is that they have been where I (as a young emerging artist) have been. They understand the stress, anxiety and self-doubt one may feel when it comes to working on a body of work that is quite personal. Furthermore, they also offer a perspective or direction one may have not considered before. I believe that having a mentor (at whichever point of one’s artistic career) is a vital aspect of being an artist.

Where have you been looking for inspiration for your pieces?

My inspiration usually comes from my daily interactions with my environment in general and how I may feel at a specific time in my life. I use physical fragments of these aspects within my artistic process to ground my non-figurative art-making approach. 

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