Kim Van Vuuren is an independent visual artist and designer based in Barcelona who’s heritage is from South Africa. Kim’s contemporary and vibrant style has been developed through the use of bold and contrasting colours to transcend viewers into a utopian dream setting that evokes a unique emotional resonance for them. Exploring surrealism and depth by juxtaposing recognisable shapes & abstract forms, objects, plants, animals or constructed architecture. The scenes or compositions that Kim tends to depict are symbolic of her surroundings, memories, places and experiences throughout her life. Inspired by metropolitan & nature settings, and the cultures that exist within these spaces such as abstract contemporary art, street culture, music, design, photography.
Please explain your thoughts and process behind the design submitted
My thought process during art-making normally involves research and a lot of sketching. The desire was to create a simple design that speaks to the fragility of the natural world and ecosystems that are likely to be strongly damaged by human’s and their activities. Nature in all its forms is something that should be appreciated and kept safe. The way you would protect a priceless object, like a family heirloom, something that has passed down to you. In terms of styling and colour choices this is a departure from my signature work, but I’m quite enjoying the simplicity. Especially when it comes to unisex wearable art.
Who are your biggest influences?
Such a hard question. If you had asked me 5 years ago I would probably be able to count on my hand. Since then, focusing on my art practice, and moving to Barcelona I’ve come across many amazing artists that inspire me. I would say that Etel Adnan was a huge influence when I started painting. I saw her work for the first time at an art fair in Cape Town. It stopped me in my tracks, and that was the first time that use of colour and abstraction really resonated with me and how I wanted to express myself. I wanted people to feel exactly like I did, when they look at my work. Then, someone who has really inspired me over the past 3 years is Australian artists and designer Evi-O. I can relate with her as she is also a graphic designer / visual artists.
What would your dream freelance job be and why?
I’m really into fashion, architecture and music. Anything global within these industries would be amazing. A few dream freelance jobs would be to collaborate with other artists on a sustainability campaign for 1) a fashion house like KENZO 2) or a streetwear brand like Stüssy 3) and even a lingerie brand like SAVAGE FENTY. There are so many things I’d like to do. I envision myself continuing to create wearable art for the foreseeable future, exploring, collaborating, experimenting and searching as I grow as an artist.
What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment?
I have a lot of time for podcasts and audio books. It’s a great way to educate yourself or simply have a laugh while working. Last year I worked my way through SO many podcasts. Here is a list of my favourites from 1 – 10 in no particular order of preference : 1) Bill Gates and Rashida Jones ask big questions 2. Armchair expert 3. The Cut 4. Anything from Wondery 5. Meditative stories 6. Endless Thread 7. The Last Bohemians 8. Modern Love 9. No Stupid Question 10. Even the rich
Where does your passion for your craft derive from?
It’s more a need than a passion to be honest. I cant really explain it. Since I was a little girl Ive always been very curious, experimental and creative. There has always been a desire to create something new, all of the time. Whether it’s a painting, design or business idea. The purpose of art-making is definitely a need for more. Once one piece is done, it’s almost sad, its this relationship with my work and my love for colour that keeps me moving forward.
Any exciting plans for the future you would like to share outside of this collaboration?
This year I will take its as it comes. If I’ve learned anything from last year, it’s important for me to stop and take “creative breaks” to focus on my style, what makes me happy and what works for a larger audience. I love creating designs that can be transferred onto any surface. And as I said before I plan to continue creating wearable art. I also plan to paint a lot more and start creating my own hand tufted rugs. It’s a new skill that I will need to master before I put anything out there, but I’m excited to see how it develops.