Belinda is a sculptor of clay who likes to test the boundaries of the medium; Miné is one half of Studio Muti, a design, illustration and typography studio. Connect the two, introduce them to the owners of a quaint shop-cum-gallery space, The Fringe Arts, throw in an E.E. Cummings poem, and magic starts to happen.
How did you come to collaborate and connect with The Fringe Arts?
Miné: Belinda approached Thessa Bos and Chantal Louw from The Fringe Arts to see if they were interested in stocking her lovely ceramic pieces. They suggested she put together a window display and, since I’d put Belinda in touch with them, she asked me to collaborate with her. It was loads of fun.
What inspired the installation?
Belinda: Cape Town is relatively un-obscured by high-rise buildings and in the city one always feels part of the greater environment of sea, mountain and sky. Also, when I lived in the city I found the lights at night captivating. They appear to be on all the time, even though the occupants of the offices or flats, may be out. I wanted to capture this with the windows of my clay buildings – some outlined and lit, others clearly open and lit, and some blank – as if nobody is home. The architecture of a city also inspires me and I love the use of upright space. I like to work with clay, drawing it as far upward as it will go, just as architects would similarly face engineering feats to get the building to stand upright, and I love the shapes of the windows which make clear patterns in the buildings. Miné’s illustration above the buildings drew people into the display, and into the night, tying it to the heavens and the stars.
Apparently the installation was based on a poem by E.E. Cummings?
Belinda: Like the city described in E.E. Cummings “who knows if the moon’s”, Cape Town is a magical city. It does not dwarf you in its bigness; it draws you into its magic. Our city lit at night is a fantasy world that opens one to all sorts of imaginings.
Was the installation sold as a whole or in separate parts?
Belinda: One building was sold, then someone came in and bought the rest. I’m currently busy making up more buildings, although I don’t have definite plans to make up another installation. Miné’s print was sold separately.
How does working alone compare to working alongside or collaborating with other artists?
Miné: Both Clinton – my partner at Studio Muti – and I love working with other artists. It adds another dimension to a project. We also enjoy working alongside each other. Clint is a great designer and I do mainly digital paintings and illustrations, so we’re able to take on a variety of jobs and combine our styles. Each project is different and I get to work with different creatives from advertising agencies all the time. I also get to listen to audio books while I work.
What are some of your best things about the city?
Belinda: Working in the city provides inspiration for works of art, and you get feedback from a large and diverse crowd of people, which is fantastic.
Miné: Our lovely studio space located in an old Victorian building in Spin Street: It’s big enough for ten designers to work together comfortably, has wooden floors, high ceilings and smells like coffee – thanks to Bread Milk & Honey below – and with all of us living in town it’s an easy drive, cycle or walk down to the office … Getting to see all the parades and protests on their way to Parliament from our balcony is always interesting and exciting. The Adderley Street flower market is just around the corner, as well as the Company’s Garden and all the lovely little eateries in and around St George’s Mall.
Image of Miné and Belinda by Lisa Burnell