Where: Cape Town, South Africa
Website: Miné Jonker
Who...I was born a 'boere meisie' in a conservative family, in a conservative town called Pretoria, South Africa. Being arty was a good alternative to being boring. I went to a High School for visual and performing arts, which meant I was one of a handful of people in modern history who loved going to school.
After I finished school I went traveling for three years around Europe and the East, which had a huge effect on me. I fell in love with big art museums, old architecture and have continued to be fascinated by different cultures, religions and anthropology ever since I went to India and acted like a real hippy. God only knows why I didn't pick up some strange disease and die from while swimming in the Ganges.
Back home I enrolled in The Open Window School of Visual Communication, but that was dumb, so I moved to Cape Town where I ate very little for a very long time (mainly large amounts of Jungle oats with peanut butter) as I tried to establish myself as an artist and illustrator. I also made and customised clothes for a local boutique and did a correspondence degree in Fine Arts, specialising in Multi-media. If it wasn't for falling into modelling, I would probably never have survived. Nothing glamorous – I did a lot of yogurt and baby nappy TV commercials, which I prayed would never make it to Youtube. My friends still mock me about it.
24/7...I'm currently employed by the Am I Collective, an illustration studio which is a pleasant five minute, downhill walk from where I live, slap bang in the center of Cape Town. I bribed them with cookies to let me work there. I have a view of Table mountain from my desk and a little lucky cat from Hong Kong next to my computer, which keeps me lucky and happy.
The fact that Am I is a flippen kick ass place with amazingly talented and funny guys, also helps (they pay me extra to say these things.) My job mainly involves digital painting. I can listen to audio books while painting for hours on end on this amazing Cintique that I cunningly stole from my Creative Director. I convinced him that it was the reason his side of the office was always too hot. And now… The power is mine!!!
Little precious time...Spare time... hmmm... not much of that at the moment. I still try to squeeze in a bit of traveling, a spot of modelling and some freelance jobs in between work. At Am I we try and do as much non-commercial work as we can make time for. We are currently working on an African themed T-shirt range and we're having our charity exhibition which has been in the pipeline for over a year, called BARE (the auction is on now!). We sent out 50 vinyl bears to 50 different artists to paint and it looking amazing! I also love doing ceramics and having drawing evenings with friends.
My ideal evening is watching a movie or documentary while drawing, which means that I usually don't do either of them properly.
Along the way...My boyfriend showed me Photoshop, which is the coolest thing in my world. I've also learned a lot just from working with clients and other artists/friends/illustrators.
I started with...Well, I used to draw all the time when I was little. My pre-school teacher complained to my mom that I drew too much and didn't interact enough with the other kids, so that much hasn't changed. Everyone at our studio complains about my audio book addiction and anti-social behaviour. As a teenager, I wore Nirvana T-shirts and spent a lot of time on the roof of our house – drawing, writing very deep poetry and staring into nothingness. I've stopped that now.
Big plans...I'm hosting a big 'Garage Art Sale' with my good friend Mikey on the 3rd of October from (you guessed it) the garages in front of our block of flats. We're made up of about 15 artists selling cheap art, lemonade and pancakes. It's like an informal exhibition-slash-neighbourhood-get-together-slash-garage-sale. Should be fun.
Longer term: I'm planning two projects with my boyfriend, Jannes. We want to do art installation pieces, sculptures and LCD screens for video all over Cape Town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and we also want to publish a book on young South African contemporary artists from all genres. I'm also starting ceramics again and want to improve my cooking.
Love & hate...I love drawing all day. It feels like I'm cheating... how can I get paid for this? I dislike the bad posture I've developed from drawing all day.
Family tree...What was my family like? Weird and Afrikaans and full of boys. My older brother is a writer and painter (and medical doctor). He tends to tell gross stories about his medical experiences at the dinner table, but he did encourage and inspire me a lot during my developing years. He has an amazing imagination and he taught me how to throw a good punch.
My grandmother was a painter and so is my hermit uncle. My aunt used to run a puppet theatre, my cousin is an actor and my dad has a very good sense of aesthetic. So there has definitely been a lot of inspiration and support from my family. My mom has been amazingly supportive and encouraging since I was little.
Hurdles...Mainly my own insecurities about my work. A few years of experience in the ad industry and good feedback has helped a lot. I've also learned how to present myself in a more confident manner – unfortunately you have to be able to sell yourself a bit if you want to convince others that you're able to do the job. I've also learned not to spread myself too thin. I use to take on way too much and then wonder why I'm not seeing more results.
Learning curve...I've learned that sometimes all you need to do is to keep going at an artwork. Most of my pieces look pretty shit at first and only starts coming together when I start crafting it. For me, the most important thing has been to trick myself into not quitting.
Collections...Ceramic pieces, books of all sort, art work from my friends, pretty glasses, antique pieces and clothes that I will never wear.
To get the mojo back...I smoke, doodle with friends, take a look at some of my favourite artists' work which usually either depresses or inspires me.
I have just come back from a trip to Mexico – its colourful culture and people has greatly excited and inspired me. I love traveling and hope to one day be able to make it a bigger part of my lifestyle. Places I'd still love to visit include the rest of Africa, Japan, more of China, Burma, Nepal, Argentina and the rest of South America... the list goes on. Juxtapoz is a favourite magazine, as is National Geographic and Visi (a South African interior and design mag).
Bookmarks...I love the old, traditional fairytale illustrators you find on artsycrafty. I like the variety of things you see on notcot and I love some of the odd photographs on Fffound. Design is kinky, Deviant Art and We are the Image Makers are nice for checking out other artists' work. Stumble Upon can also be mildly entertaining on Monday mornings.
Chilling...I hang out with my man or my friends, drink tea, smoke, draw, walk uphill on a treadmill, visit an antique market, watch documentaries, make dinner or visit my mom.
If I could turn back time...I wish I'd never stopped playing the piano.
Inspiration...Artists Alphonse Mucha, Audry Kawasaki, James Jean, South African history writer Max du Preez, author Frank Herbert from the Dune saga and, off course, my boyfriend. This may seem corny, but go check out their work (Black Heart Gang) and see for yourself.
The dream...Owning a guest house-slash-restaurant-slash-studio-slash-gallery-slash-interior décor shop-slash-project space for workshops for fellow artists somewhere in the countryside. Continue reading...