Christelle du Plessis
1. Tell us about yourself and what you do.
My name is Christelle du Plessis but I use Christelle van Zyl as my professional name, I have been working as a full-time artist since 2009.
2. What, or who inspires you to do what you love in your creative business?
As an artist, I am inspired by the human form. The challenges of painting portraits and trying to capture a specific personality and emotion, intrigue me.
3. What are the 5 words that people who know you, describe you as?
Artistic, creative, passionate, intelligent and talented.
4. How did you know when you’ve found your passion for art- sculpture/painting?
I always knew I had a passion for art. My mother was an artist and art teacher and I was therefore constantly in contact with art. I tried many different techniques and subjects through the years and found my niche.5
5. Whom/what moment makes you feel the happiest?
I am happiest when I feel satisfied with the development of a certain piece of work as I am very critical of my own art.
6. Tells us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My first job was a draftswoman for an architect firm. I did architectural drawings and designing for many years. I worked in different areas of creativity, for instance, designing and building stage decor, designing and making costumes, painted murals, had a clothing factory, did art workshops, and eventually started working as a professional artist full-time.
7. Describe your day in your studio space?
A typical day in my studio:
Start off by answering emails, doing admin and some research for art projects
After a short break, I will start painting or drawing. Some of my projects take months to complete.
Afternoon: Painting or drawing, work on promoting my work and spend time organizing workshops by artists I bring in from America.
8. As an artist what is your biggest frustration?
My biggest frustration as an artist is to always keep in mind that I have to try to sell my work to someone.
9. Tell us about how you prioritize your personal work?
To keep on developing, I need to do my own personal work as well. I am constantly working on many different pieces at the same time. I do that when I am not busy working for a specific exhibition.
10. Have you ever started a workshop / and why?
I have had workshops and like doing that because of the interesting interaction that takes place as well as for the stimulation, it’s a constant income as well.
11. Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (how do you network)?
I network through social media, my website and art exhibitions. I go to galleries and present myself and my work to the curators. I go on residences in Paris where I always meet many artists from all over the world.
12. What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passion?
To be an artist requires dedication, hard work. Believe in your talent, develop your skills, grow your knowledge, visit art exhibitions and practice your art constantly.
13. What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfill in your life?
I want to take part in excellent exhibitions with excellent artists. I want to get better and better in my craft and push myself to new challenges.
14. Who do you most want to meet and why?
I wanted to (and did) meet David Jon Kassan, who is one of the top portrait artists in the world. I would love to meet Jenny Saville and watch her work.
15. What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
Nothing happens by itself. You have to make it happen.
16. What book are you reading right now and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I am reading “The unbearable lightness of being” by Milan Kundera and would recommend “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand and “For whom the bell tolls” by Ernest Hemmingway.
17. Which piece of art that you did resurrects the most?
My series of “unmade beds” and the portrait of Donat King.