Q&A with Artist Laurinda Belcher

INTERVIEWED BY Cheri Morris IMAGES Courtesy of Laurinda Belcher

Laurinda Belcher is a Parow-hailing, mostly self-taught artist whose work marries her background in early childhood development, interest in psychology and folklore and her experiential dance between the child- and adult-self. We caught up with her to find out about her process and what we can expect from her next body of work.

Laurinda Belcher

Give us a one or two-sentence bio. Who are you as a multidisciplinary artist? As a person?

As an artist, painting is a tool that allows me the freedom and space to address, make sense
and process being human. As a person, I try to be aware of what I can contribute and how to
create ways or experiences to communicate and feel connection.

Your bio mentions the relationship between your child-self and adult-self as a source of inspiration. Could you share a specific memory of what that looks like and how you tell that story through your art?

I have a vivid memory of being about 9 years old, sitting in my great grandmother’s kitchen in Goodwood, drawing. And my uncle, who I revered because he pursued a career in the arts, made quite an impression on me. I listened to his voice recordings as a young child (he did the voice of Ramkat). He sat down with me, talked about drawing and gave me some tips on how to draw a face. In that moment, just feeling seen and acknowledged by a grown up gave me courage. As an adult, realising how important these relationships and moments are, they continue to influence and inspire me.

As I grow older, many of these memories pop up like little reminders. Through the work it shows up as free-flowing drawing and use of colour (honouring the child) and then adding more structure by eliminating parts and keeping others (the bit of structure and support the adult can provide). It’s a balance.

Where else do you find inspiration?

Books, music and nature. A kind word at the right time. Stories, especially those of people who lived before my time. I observe a lot and my mind wanders. It could be a certain kind of green or the way the light falls and creates a shadow that reminds me of a story and then my brain just starts linking things.

What has your relationship to mediums been over time?

It started with pencils as a child; I never touched paint (too intimidating). Only years later, when working in the classroom, did paint and I become better acquainted. I started with acrylics, but over the last few years I have discovered water-mixable oil and have been working in oil ever since.

Tell us about a time that changed your life as an artist/creator.

Quitting my corporate job and moving to Hanoi, Vietnam and working in the early childhood environment. Living there for almost 3 years was the catalyst for so much change in the trajectory of my life. It was my first time travelling and living outside of the familiar. It was during that time I started painting.

Describe your ideal escape. What are the sights, sounds and textures.

Somewhere in nature. Or just at home on a rainy day; gentle patterings, warm blanket, soft light and a cat on my lap.

Describe the interior of the space in which you feel most creative.

My studio, it feels safe. I can stay as long as I want. There is a window with some greenery (from my neighbour’s house), I can close the door, put on some music. It’s a room filled with books and ideas and oftentimes my little cat comes to watch and takes a nap on my chair.

Tell us about your latest body of work. What does it mean to you? What do you hope it will invoke in viewers?

Bruce D. Perry is a psychiatrist that does such important work in the field of neuroscience and early childhood development. He talks about the capacity to love oneself and how it cannot be built in isolation, that we learn to love through being loved. And if we don’t know what it feels like to be loved it’s hard to extend that love inwards.

His work speaks to ways of seeing and investigating the meaning of certain objects (jewellery, pets and places) as ‘transitional’ in our lives. As homes that invoke feelings of safety, comfort and the familiar.

I hope the work inspires feelings of exploration, connection and kindness towards ourselves and others, looking at our behaviours in a way as to identify and remedy needs that are perhaps not being met.

What’s next for you?

I’m excited to be showing some larger oil paintings with 99 Loop in Cape Town soon and the annual studio release of new works in April. In the meantime I’m hard at work painting and planning a solo exhibition next year.

What advice would you give a budding creative who is afraid of putting their work into the world?

It’s ok to doubt yourself, but it is the work of the creative person to share the work. Think about what possibilities await beyond that doubt or fear. Think of all the people who have gone before you. If they did not share their work, you would never have seen it. The risk to not share is much greater.

Where can we find your work?

My Instagram account @laurindabelcher. At the link in my bio, you can subscribe to my newsletter and receive updates on exhibitions and when new work becomes available. At the moment, I have selected works available to view and purchase at 99 Loop and with Untitled Art online.

Looking for more local art? Sign up to our weekly newsletter, here.