Adele van Heerden on Nature & Dreams

Interview: Fiona Christensen
Illustrations/Paintings: Adele van Heerden

Adele van Heerden - Pissed of Sphinx Cat In A Turtle Neck-horz

“I use my art as a tool of existential meaning making. I hope to contribute something beautiful to the world.” – Adele van Heerden

Archetype: How old do you feel?
Adele van Heerden: I am a very old soul

A: When did you decide to take up illustration & design?  
AVH: Drawing and Painting were the only things that I really excelled at and felt truly passionate about, it was just a natural progression to start doing it full time. I wouldn’t really call myself a designer though.

A: Do you have a favourite work or muse?
AVH: A specific work? No. I have always been drawn to the uncanny and grotesque in painting. But the natural world captivates me most. Whenever I feel stressed I go for a long walk on the mountain to escape the busy city. This is usually when I come up with ideas and concepts.

Adele van Heerden - Flamingo - Pen and Watercolour on Paper


“I definitely have an obsession with animals. I think in another life I would have been a zoologist.” – Adele van Heerden

A: What is your role in Studio41? 
AVH: I am the project manager for our series of group exhibitions and Third Thursday events we have at the studio on a regular basis. It started out as a way to create some opportunities for myself and my friends to show work to the public on our own terms.

A: Who has been your inspiration throughout your career?
AVH: That is a tough one. One South African I really look up to is Judith Mason. Her work is technically excellent and has a South African, political context. Really look up to her

Deerskull, pen on paper, 2014A:We see a lot of surrealism in your work, why this theme?
AVH: It was something I’ve been drawn to my entire life. I love the strange, the mysterious, and unknown.

A: Can you remember your dreams in the morning? And how do they impact your work?
AVH: Usually I remember them well, and they are often recurring alternate realities of what is currently happening in my life. I used to have very long, complicated and intense dreams. I felt like I had two separate lives, one in reality and one in my dreams. Today I am able to make sense of them more, so they don’t upset me as much.

Eye In The Sky, Ink on Paper-horzA: Any favourite local musician’s?
AVH: Wildernessking and The Sleepers

Detail of Bird Illustration, Pen on Paper

A: Cheesecake or Apple Pie?
AVH: Apple Pie always.

A: Spring or Autumn?
AVH: Spring definitely, it means I can be outside on nature adventures.

Hang In There, Pen on Paper-horz

A: Complete the sentence: I never thought… ?
AVH: I never thought I would be able to have my own studio with such great mates who inspire me every day. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to be here.

Adele van Heerden - Pink Ibis - Oil Painting on Wood-horz293

A: Where are you based and can anyone commission you to do a work?
AVH: I am based in Cape Town. Anyone, anywhere can commission me to do work. I really love collaborating with others on projects.

 Follow Adele van Heerden  on her Facebook page and on Tumblr for regular updates and work in progress:


10694829_10154757364120413_733224546_n-horzAdele also makes stunning and unique jewelry pieces which are available for purchase