“We have art so that we shall not die of reality” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Welcome to part 2 of our 7-month birthday celebration!

As you all know, Redesign Interiors turns 7 this year which means we’re celebrating for 7 months! To thank everyone for sharing this journey with us, we’re inviting you to share in the festivities. We’re shining the spotlight on an artist of our choice who has inspired us, worked with us, or is making a difference in the creative world, every month, because there is nothing like celebrating creativity. We’re lucky enough to be able to give away a prize, donated by the artist of the month, every single month for 7 months! Woohoo! 

We’re very happy to present to you an artist who is local and still fairly undiscovered. Enjoy the work of Rowena Gilpin while we bring you all the interesting info on her! 

Rowena is a local artist, born and raised in Durban, South Africa. Painting and sculpting have been an important part of her life since she can remember, with a fondness for colour and texture forming around her creativity.

Art, notorious for its financial instability, is not Rowena’s sole income, instead, it brings balance, colour, and vibrancy to the straight and narrow lines of the corporate world, where she works full-time in the FMCG industry. 

Rowena became aware of the dire need for local art that is original, unique, and attractive when she and her husband moved into a new house and she began decorating. Her mosaics, sculptures, and paintings reflect her desire to see more diverse art pieces in the South African scene which is why she strives to bring something fresh to the market. 

Rowena has an art studio at her home housing her passion and frequents art workshops and classes as often as her full-time job allows her to. These classes allow her to explore new mediums and experiment with different styles.

The local art scene

Art is at an exciting point of development from a global perspective. A myriad of techniques, product developments, and technological innovations create a new range of possibilities. For this reason, it is a fantastic time to start investing in local artists. Rowena currently sells her art on her website at https://rowenagilpin.com/collections/all  

“I find the art world far too serious. So many people I speak to don’t own any original art, thinking it’s too expensive or they are afraid of buying any in case it is the wrong stuff! Durban has so many talented artists. This is great for buyers and collectors because it means the art isn’t prohibitively expensive.”

Rowena urges the general public to attend workshops, exhibitions, markets and events. Rowena took part in the Intellectual Property Exhibition last year, an even which really opened doors for her and changed her perspective on shopping, encouraging support for local talents first. Another place to find fantastic locally produced art is the I Heart Market and The Morning Trade Market, both of which offer a wealth of crafty, arty, and creative buys.

Rowena’s muse 

“Humour and laughter are my stress relievers, along with art, of course! I am happiest in my studio with a glass of champagne listening to (incongruously) sad music, anything from Tchaikovsky to Milky Chance and Ben Howard.”?

A favourite work of hers was a turtle on a 1.2m canvas she did for her kinesiologist. The agreement between the two professionals was an exchange, an artwork for a few treatment sessions. This placed a little pressure on the artist, the therapist had made a very particular request; a turtle. The challenge was invigorating as Rowena wanted to capture the turtle’s expression as contemplative, which was tricky, most of the references she found depicted the turtles decidedly grumpy. However, after the triumphant success she found new confidence in the marvellous achievement and parted with the beloved masterpiece with some difficulty. 

 “I love the forms, patterns, and colours found in nature and animals and I love to try to capture them and give them my own twist. My creativity is not constant, I can go weeks without picking up a brush but then can spend days absorbed by a project, playing, experimenting and fiddling.”
Rowena will be awarding the winner of our competition one of incredible miniature watercolour paintings. “Last year there was a miniatures exhibition at Art Space Durban. The stipulated size was of the artwork was 6x8cm. My first reaction was that I can’t possibly paint anything so small! However, Cath, my art teacher, had this amazing book of photographs of insects in flight. The pictures captivated me as the insects looked like people dancing, praying and preaching, they had such life! I tried one or 2 and got completely sucked in, expanding to the penguins, albatross and secretary birds.”

Rowena Gilpin: The human behind the art

“I live in what we call a ‘project house’, which my husband and I plan to renovate over the next few years. 3 cats and a dog share the house with my husband and I, as well as the frequent monkey troop and mongoose thief. I love our ugly duckling house because it has the most amazing view over the treetops towards the ocean.”

A mother to four beloved pets, Rowena lives with her husband in La Lucia. If she’s not busy creating art she is typically seen outdoors with her pets and her family. She loves treating her dog to interesting walks and relaxing with a good book.  Having recently moved home, Rowena loves to spend time with her husband, deliberating new decor for their house. 

To see examples of her work, visit her website at www.rowenagilpin.com. She welcomes referrals and invites you to connect with her on Instagram: @ro.gilpin

To win one of her fantastic miniature works, follow Redesign Interiors on social media and enter the competition!