Follow Your Art

Resident DIY designer, Stathi Kougianos, shares his thoughts on the Follow Your Art exhibition at The Collective on Monday night.

Photo: Chris da Canha (

As a designer, an art gallery is the perfect setting for silent judging. You can peruse the work at your own pace while thinking what you would have done better, what colours you would have used, what typeface would have been more effective and how you would have presented the final piece. You can then bring it up with your fellow arty friends who are with you and begin long in-depth discussions around your thoughts. A gallery is literally a hive for just that, with everyone taking away their own interpretations of why an artwork was done and how it made them feel. It is art- that’s the point. Unfortunately for a designer (and I am speaking on behalf of all of you here) you can’t turn that shit off, it haunts you whenever you lay your eyes on anything.

Whether the piece was bad or not, there will always be someone who will appreciate the fact that it was created in the first place.

Chatting to people on the night, there were two distinct trains of thought that seemed to be apparent. There were those who complained that the quality of work was questionable and that submissions should have been screened with higher standards. Some of the works were over priced for what they were and too much for Durban pockets. And then there were those who appreciated the fact that this night was even possible. That a gallery actually went out of its way to give an aspiring artist the chance to show their work in a public space for all to see. A great addition to the CV and even more so to the bank account if someone bought their ish. More than enough time was given for the deadline to cater for all those busy people and in all honesty, it encouraged everyone to get involved. So you can’t knock The Collective for being proud of Durban artists and wanting to show their work in their mad setup. Building our art community is something that comes up pretty often and exhibitions like these showcase our up and coming local talent. Whether the piece was bad or not, there will always be someone who will appreciate the fact that it was created in the first place.


Photo: Sayuri Naidoo

This was the first time I had ever shown my work in a gallery and I was really nervous about the mouth mutter that would take place around my prints. Speaking to fellow designer and mate, Luke Smith, I realized that although judgment is a definite occurrence it is needed for an artist to grow. So telling your mate you hate his line placement (as Luke did to me) should be encouraged! And growing steel balls is highly recommended if you are in a creative field. Anyway enough blab, it is time for the work. My favourite piece of the night handsfuckingdown was Durban great, Matt Kay. I’m a sucker for simple line work, a well executed concept and hand rendered perfection. There were a few skateboards on show, but his was definitely the most striking with a stocking-wearing-cigarette-head-lady making her needs known.

Matt Kay & Warren Raysdorf. Photo: Sayuri Naidoo

Warren Raysdorf has obviously been grafting hard on a new style incorporating mixed media into his work with many pieces on display on the night. My personal favourite was Red Blue Red which was a collection of wooden blocks with interesting facial expressions. His Spiderman and zebra illustration was too dope! Michael Dos Ramos has an awesome canvas print called Whisper that is up for grabs; it will add flava to any wall so best you get down there to call dibs. It depicts an angelic lady in muted colours with a sneaky tat licking the botton of her neck – I shmaak!

Mykill Dos Ramos. Photo: Sayuri Naidoo

The really cool thing about the way the work was setup was that I kept finding little gem pieces all over the place. One such gem was from Amy- Jean Muller aptly named Victory, which depicts a crazy mythological scene rendered with OCD stayela. It was great seeing the conversations created by works done by computer over pen and paper. It was evident that a lot of time and effort was put into her piece with an intricate image resulting. Sińeád Mari Turnham posed the question so you mean that you think you can find the answer to it, with a super rad painting depicting a conversation between Alice and a well dressed Rabbit.

Sińeád Mari Turnham. Photo: Sayuri Naidoo

The gallery was also dotted with graffiti pieces with a sick collab featuring the crazy talented Sykad, Resay and Skullboy. These works come in a time where the debate of graffiti is still hot on every ones sun burnt lips, with the court date for the 031 Aerosol Seven looming closer. Hopefully the gallery setting in which these works are now in, will shed new light on the question of whether it is art or vandalism. Other stand out artists include Billy Pineapples, with his ridiculously detailed line work, Alastair Laird with some quirky cartoons and Mason Murdey shot gunned the biggest piece with a huge mural that sets the tone of the exhibition. Shoutout to Amy, Lisa, Sayuri and Warren for organizing it all! The music was good, the drinks were cheap, it was full and there was art – what more can you ask for

Sykad Resay & Skullboy. Photo: Skullboy (
















12 Responses to “Follow Your Art”
  1. Dusty Rich Artist says:

    Very very epic to see these kinds of art shindigz happening, Durban has incredible artists and thanks for backing them hard.
    However the comments about the pieces being expensive needs to be put into context. Artists, good ones, dedicate their lives to their craft, eat, sleep and breath shit for their work. To have a piece sold is equivalent to a regular 9-5 Joe grasping at that 13th in utter joy. Artists don’t have the lovely cushy pay checks or company policy’s ensuring that everybody’s work ensures the company makes money and paychecks are handed out, they are lonely, solitary and by their own hands worker drones.
    Their work is to beautify and create, their financial well being sacrificed for a higher purpose. Value must be placed in order for the continuation, we cant take pretty pictures to the bank to pay for electricity.
    Keep in mind that the full price doesn’t go straight to the artist, the gallery charges for the hanging (a little too high in this case if you ask me, i mean it was pretty much made up of “street” artists in other words they could use the dollars hard) also art supplies don’t grow on trees, the work in its form on the wall has a value that is distributed, trust me.
    So i will be buying a piece, I’m an artist too, i would want the same, you go out and buy a piece too, put paint brushes, paint cans, canvases and money in artists hands so they can keep making this dreary, mundane world a little better

  2. Bob says:

    Nobody is denying that artists need to get paid, but at the end of the day, as much as I’d love to spend R3000 on a piece, I just don’t have R3000 to spend on art.

  3. Warren Raysdorf says:

    If I am to sell an artwork in a gallery that I am proud of then I will price it at an amount that I feel will be worth me not having ownership of it anymore. If you spent 3 months on a painting then would you sell it for R300 because Durban is cheap? No! Having said that though, some artworks are very affordable and I think there are a few pieces that are overpriced. Nice write up!

  4. Bob says:

    Not disagreeing at all. But then artist can’t complain that people don’t support them if people can’t afford to support them. But yeah, pricing wasn’t really an issue, it ranged from R200 upwards so there was something for almost everyone’s budget.

  5. Warren Raysdorf says:

    Yeah, it’s just good to get so many people involved, especially in this funny old town but now that we’ve put a good foot forward… We can work towards a show with higher standards and bigger budget. Watch out for Follow Your Art in 2011. Thanks for all the good words!

  6. Pam says:

    Being related to an Artist I know firsthand the hours spent, the expense incurred and the research undertaken to produce something that is akin to baring your soul. There is usually so much of the artist in the piece in terms of inner messages, social interpretation and their own lone voice trying to make a point. It takes a brave heart to say this is my creation and I am putting it out there for your opinion. Debate by all means, but be gentle with your words, they can damage more than you can imagine and we need to encourage the young artists of every generation to produce more and more for how else will they become great. And it’s always good to buy their works before that greatness occurs. So view these pieces of bargain basement beginnings as a glimpse into what will unfold. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  7. Stathi says:

    Of course I understand that it costs money to create art and that the artist should be rewarded for their time. But I noticed a lot of work on the night where the price tag was not worth the final product. Just because you made something doesn’t mean you can add a couple zeros willy nilly. Taking advantage of the public won’t help the cause if it costs too much to support local art as Bob said.

  8. I think everyone has a valid point but for me, Dusty nailed it on the head. Quite a large commission had to be built in and don’t forget some of these pieces are from previous shows so if there’s something you really love that’s still available after the exhibition ends, you might be able to negotiate with the artist to buy it with the commission deducted off the final price.

    In the industry I work in, graphics have a very limited lifespan and value – depending on individual opinions so it’s nice to see a civil debate about the value of an artwork vs. your own appraisal of it.

    The cool thing is the variety at Follow Your Art, there really is at least 30 different groups of styles going on – something for everyone. I think the street art mandate resulted in larger pieces for the most part, which don’t usually come cheap!

  9. Anonymoose says:

    Best comment thread on DIY yet.
    It’s good to see great converstationd instead of flame wars like on other hip websites.
    Having said that:
    inb4 trollz.

  10. For me as a “young” artist, I’m generally happy to charge enough just to cover costs when it comes to stuff like exhibition work and maybe make a little cash on the side. The exposure is rad and it makes me stoked just to know that somebody has something I designed on their wall or on a shirt or something. If you’re unknown and your stuff looks average, it doesn’t matter how much of your soul you pour in, people aren’t gonna pay shit loads for it so it’s best to be reasonable and cover costs until you have the recognition to charge more.

  11. Matt Kay says:

    Pretty interesting, my piece was on sale at the Follow Your Art exhibition for waaay more than I actually asked for. I only checked it last night and was pretty surprised to say the least how much the price was. The commission obviously got added to the price that I decided, which included the commission already. I guess these things happen when you not in the area during the show. Otherwise the price has dropped to my original price which is pretty much 40% cheaper so go check it out. Good discussion by the way.

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