Lauren reconnects with her inner artist

Lauren Rossouw. Picture: Leanne Durand Photography

After leaving her job in digital advertising, Lauren Rossouw enjoys being immersed in a world of art. Now a gallery co-ordinator at the THK Gallery in the CBD, she says she feels like she has reconnected with her inner artist.

Lauren, who lives in Kenilworth and grew up in Bergvliet, graduated from UCT’s Michaelis School of Art in Orange Street, majoring in fine art and new media.

She said growing up, she and her younger sister had always been encouraged to paint and draw by her mother, who is also an artist.

“My mom had a studio and she always had all the stuff we could play with and we could go wild.”

She said while she wasn’t quite sure what she would do after getting her degree, she learnt a lot more than she expected to.

“I went in thinking I could connect with the old school art forms such as painting and drawing, but I came out with a large knowledge of media, video and photo editing, stop motion and sound design, among other forms of art.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to be a full-time artist, I just knew I loved art.”

Her major in new media led her to a job in digital advertising, where she worked for nine years.

“I learnt a lot, but I missed being around art, so I started painting little trinkets and illustrations as a hobby, and for gifts for close friends, and this is how my business started.”

Lauren is now the owner of a small business, Made for You by Me, where she hand-paints jewellery and illustrations, and also designs on clothing from her home.

She describes her style of painting as “classic, but on the line of realism”.

“I guess it’s folk-like – with lots of real-life illustrations.”

After filling the void, her reconnection with art through her business made her feel she needed a change.

“I started putting myself out there, not as an artist, but rather someone who works behind the scenes, and I was then hired by THK, which is a fairly new contemporary gallery.”

She said the gallery provides a good platform for emerging artists who produce all kinds of artwork, which makes a fresh contribution to the art scene in the city, which has definitely grown substantially.

“We now have very successful art fairs such as the Investec Art Fair which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, for example. It’s good networking for local artists, and also exposes international artists to the talent we have here.

“First Thursdays have also opened up Cape Town’s eyes to the gallery scene, and people can now easily happen upon art – especially those works who have fallen on the side because no one comes to view it. Sometimes people can’t buy art, but with initiatives like these, they can still be exposed to it, and be inspired by it.”

Lauren is of the opinion that the city is a good place for artists to grow. “There are always new spaces willing to help artists put there work out there.

“Cape Town also has a thriving theatre scene, and they all go hand in hand. The scene is constantly evolving and changing, which keeps it alive.”