Artist in Action Lorraine van Wyk: Art is My Freedom

There is a divine purpose within each one of us. Part of our life purpose is to discover and nurture this gift. Meet Lorraine Van Wyk, Cape Town Beauty, Artist in Action, Photographer, Model, Shapeshifter and Talented Afribeing whom we are blessed to have as part of our tribe.

Lorraine finds freedom and self-discovery through art and painting human beings (including herself). Her paintings are a reflection of her creative soul and her subjects life story, culture and history. After painting her subjects she photographs them and the result is a powerful photographic piece.Lorraine Van Wyk Artist in Action

Here is an exclusive sneak peak into the behind the scenes magic and unique art making method of Lorraine Van Wyk.

Phone taking photo of artist Lorraine Van Wyk in Action

Lorraine’s colour palette was made up of bright rich paints, contrasting colours and then a couple of single pots containing mixed hues reminiscent of a dusky Overberg morning. We were intrigued to find how she goes about choosing her colour palette.

Paints of artist Lorraine Van Wyk

Paint and paint brushes Lorraine Van Wyk

Q: Tell us a bit about the colour palette you will be using today?  

A: The colours I choose normally depend on whom I’m painting and what we’ve discussed beforehand as I always try to get to know my subject on a deeper level. Seeing as I have just driven from my cottage by the sea close to Gaansbaai last night and only basically had early this morning to mix the colours, I ended up mixing a palette of a slightly overcast Overberg sunrise. I have been painting allot recently and maybe over used red quite a bit, so I wanted to try something different and soften it all a little.  After each shoot I combine all the colours I’ve used on the face into one pot to form one big unique colour wheel of that shoot/person/story, and then I may reuse that part on another art installation/subject to create amazing unique colour,  lines , textures and layers of it goes with the chosen palette. It also means each person I paint carries a part of someone else’s story, which is quite special… for this shoot I’ll use base grey, mauve and white, then I have blue and pink to pop.

Q: How many stories do we have here today in this colour palette?

A: We have about three stories here. One is from a recent collaboration with the Parlotones (all 4 band members). One of the palette combinations goes with my choice of colours today.

Behind the scenes of Lorraine Van Wyk Artist in Action

Q: Do you ever get nervous before your art activation?

A: Yes ! Always ! Very, very nervous! Yesterday I was so nervous, but when I start mixing the colours … that’s when I start feeling the excitement! I can’t prepare more than a week in advance, because the inspiration only starts to hit me closer to the time. Its almost like I impatiently sit and wait for it to happen. Sometimes it doesn’t come and that makes me super nervous. Sometimes I need to discuss it further to get more ideas about my subject. Other times it all just falls into place like a puzzle. I guess as I was to paint myself today, and having been so busy with so many different projects, it was hard to nail down my own vibe for this day. Kind of like writing your own bio. For example with this art installation it only actually hit me this morning. I woke up at 5 am, went to my studio and just started putting the colours together. Like a cool sunrise. And now I’m cool and calm. Phew…Lorraine Van Wyk Artist in Action

Q: In the moment what do you feel? Is there a sense of freedom?

A: Absolutely. Its like there is a source that just starts working through me. Guiding me. I’m so tuned out I can’t even hear what people in the room are saying. It can become 6 or 7 colours, and I need to place them and create this certain balance between them with colours, texture and layering. My brain is very active while I’m doing it and I lose myself in it completely. Into deep concentration . That feeling there, that is why I chose to become an artist. One can’t reside there permanently unfortunately, but I feel it is vital that we find what helps us get into that gap. To surrender to the moment .

Lorraine Van Wyk painting

Lorraine Van Wyk painting

Lorraine Van Wyk painting in action

Q: Why did you choose to become an artist?

A: Art is my meditation. I love being completely absorbed and lost in the moment. There is a sense of freedom by letting go and trusting the process. It’s quite primal actually.

Q: Were you feeling different emotions today while painting yourself to when you paint other people?

A: When I paint someone else I’m more concerned about that person. I want them to be comfortable. Their comfort is as important as the picture I make and take. When I’m painting myself I guess I feel a little wilder and more reckless. I also can’t see as well as I can when I have another’s face right before me and even though I can take my own self portrait with this clicker, I’m also having to be ambidextrous to make sure there is a nice flow as Wynand is filming me live. I’m also quite a control freak so I’ve had my camera set up there to take selfies while seated here. Usually after a shoot I just sigh out a week’s worth of analysing and preparation and can’t rest until it’s done. More so for worry of another person. So now I only had myself to worry about and to make sure you all enjoy the show.

Lorraine Van Wyk artist afri shaper

behind the scenes Lorraine Van Wyk artist

Lorraine Van Wyk artist painting

Lorraine Van Wyk artist painting

Q: What sort of preparation is involved when you are painting a subject? 

A: When I am painting someone I get to know the subject beforehand. Their culture, nationality, life background and circumstances all plays a role in their art installation. Also the colours I pick will reveal their character as I see it. My mind paints a picture of what I project onto them.  I put Bees Wax on the hair and body prior to painting. I also use Mayamara (a local skin care product) on my skin made with botanical oils from the Cape on my skin before and after.

Lorraine Van Wyk artist painting Lorraine Van Wyk artist painting

Q: Where can we purchase your art and are you open to commissions?

A: I am open to collaboration and commission and can be reached on my website

Q: With regards to human beings in Africa and art. What would you say about Africa as a creative continent?

A: As soon as I made the move back to Africa from an extended time away in Europe and America, I feel I’ve found my voice again. I love this land. I love all of our diversity and as far as I’ve travelled, I honestly haven’t found the level of acceptance that I find here. With all our multiple differences and our strange humour within so many various ethnic cultures , I still find so much acceptance unlike anywhere I have ever known. I went to the Zietz MOCAA the other day and I was so thrilled about it and I’m so excited about seeing the rest of the vast extent of African expression still to come. I’m so happy there is such a place here on our doorstep. It was disturbing as well as beautiful. Just like the African continent. So vast. So disturbing, and so much more beautiful than anywhere else…. For me anyway.

Lorraine Van Wyk artist painting

Q: Who in this world inspires you?

A: My friends. I have so many different friends and I am inspired by all their individual qualities and what they have shown me and taught me over the years. The one right in front of me in any given moment, is usually the one. Sometimes there is only I. And when I ask, I listen and I answer. I have paid close attention to the voice in my heart lately.

Q: Going forward?

Yesterday I was contacted to do a commission and then I’ll be taking a break at the end of this month until next year. I would like to go back to canvas for a while. The portraits I started were research for bigger paintings I intended, but the photography took a ride of its own. Sometimes action is required and sometimes rest. I need to recharge for a stellar 2018. I love going solo, but I see more collaboration and blending and merging in 2018…. Collaboration is a beautiful thing.

Thank you so much Afribeings, you beauties.

Afribeing behind the scenes

Afribeing behind the scenes

Artist: Lorraine Van Wyk
Photographer and Videographer: Lisa Labonjoh and Wynand van Wyk
Afribeing Creative Direction: Liza Weschta and Lindi Hingston


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