‘I’m not an artist yet’

In 2012, when a fringe group of people thought the world would end, a young student began her university career and what would become an ongoing journey of experience, education and exploration.

Originally from Johannesburg, Samantha Rall studied architecture at the University of Cape Town before moving on to Red & Yellow School to study Graphic Design.

 “I just really love the outdoors”: Aspiring artist Samantha Rall where she feels most at home.

“I just really love the outdoors”: Aspiring artist Samantha Rall where she feels most at home.

Her Instagram shows an array of beautiful watercolour paintings, sketches and photography. Most of these feature animals and nature.

It is understandable then to think that she is an artist. Understandable but not correct. “I have never had an exhibition,” she says when asked why she believes she is not an artist. “I don’t think I have quite earned the right to call myself an artist yet.”

She says that it is important that she develops her craft to a point where she can be a career artist. “I am looking at graphic design or illustration as a career,” but “I want to be creative, that’s what it is”.

Therefore, she actively seeks out “anyone who is doing art for a living” because that is where she sees herself going. These are the people who inspire her and whom she learns from.

People who if “you say their names then you can tell their paintings.” She feels that she hasn’t reached that point yet.

Most of the work she has done has been for school; work that has been required for the completion of her studies. “I haven’t developed my own.”

Samantha’s yardstick for success is “when people actually do want to buy your work”. Local artist Lorraine Loots is someone she finds really inspiring. Loots recently had an exhibition in Los Angeles.

Living Pattern is another one of her sources of inspiration. The website is run by Jenny Kicker, a designer from Florida in the United States of America.

Samantha describes herself as exploring, experiencing and searching for her artistic voice. “I will go to Pinterest and literally sit down and try to copy what they do and see how they work and then try to develop my own way, [and in that way] my art is still very experimental.”

Among the subjects most commonly depicted in her works are animals. “My grandpa was animal obsessed, if it’s got four legs or a tail,” says Samantha. “I love fish, snakes, basically if it’s not human I love it!” She goes on to say that she loves cats and dogs.

“I’m very into rescue organisations.” She has done a lot of work with rescue and adoption shelters with the SPCA. Although her week is usually packed with work and other commitments, she is always willing to offer her weekends to serve at the SPCA.

Her social media includes in its description, “ADOPT. DON’T SHOP,” which sums up her stance on an issue very close to her heart.

Her parents recently moved down to Cape Town from Johannesburg so she moved back in with them and their two black Labrador dogs. Sami had adopted her own pet while in Cape Town. So she comes home to her three additional family members every evening or morning (depending on how work goes).

Her love of animals extends also to the nature they inhabit. An avid hiker and surfer, Sami says: “I just really love the outdoors,” and cites this as one of the main reasons she moved to Cape Town.

She loves Cape Town because she says there is so much to do and so many places to go. Comparing it to Jo’burg she says: “If you want to get out and do something in Jo’burg you either go to the shopping mall or you go visit a friend. In Cape Town you can go to the beach, you can go to the forest, you can go hiking.”

Her life, as with her art, is filled with curiosity and a desire for new experiences. “I feel like there is so much I haven’t experienced and explored”. This is not to say, she adds, that Jo’burg is terrible. “Don’t believe everything they say. It’s not that bad.”

“I don’t like travelling somewhere if there isn’t a beach”. For many years the family have had a holiday home on the beach just outside Durban. “I love the beach,” she says.

This has been her second home. She laments her struggle in going so far as trying to convince people that she is a Durbanite. Talking about her current home, she says that Cape Town beaches are a bit disappointing for her. “The water is so cold here,” whereas “in Durban you can spend the whole day on the beach. I love that I went through a phase with my art where I just depicted things to do with the ocean and fish – everything to do with water.” – Aydn Parrott