Graphic artist Rudi de Wet’s work is brilliantly bold, colourful and energetic.
Meet Rudi de Wet, Mr Price Home’s Latest Colab creator
Based in Cape Town, Rudi de Wet Studio is an independent studio that has been operating for 10 years. De Wet produces work for a variety of media and environments, for local and international clients, from concept to craft. He’s a graphic artist by training, and Rudi de Wet Studio’s work is characterised by bold, colourful and energetic executions. He specialises in illustration, hand-drawn type, character illustration, interior artwork and pattern design.
With the new Colab Rudi de Wet collection having just launched in Mr Price Home stores and online, we asked him about the collaboration process, quizzed him on his favourite items in the range and discovered the one city he’d really like to visit.
A chat with Rudi de Wet
What was the overall inspiration behind your new collaborative range with Mr Price Home?
I’ve always found myself fascinated by the juxtaposition of bold patterns and vibrant, unexpected colour combos. This vernacular has definitely influenced my work and inspired my range with Mr Price Home.
Can you describe how a collaboration like this one happens?
This isn’t my first collaboration with Mr Price Home. Our working relationship originally kicked off in 2015 when Yanni Vosloo purchased the ‘Carry Table’ that I created for the 2015 Design Indaba Expo. This then led to my first collaboration with MRP Home, creating one of their 2016 limited-edition Colab blankets. It was amazing to see my artwork on a functional item, transformed from a digital image into a physical object that keeps people warm.
It was fun to collaborate with MRP Home again and create a whole range of patterns and products this time around. The collaboration process itself was an interesting one – to end up with products that represent my personal style and graphic aesthetic, and that have also been shaped and guided by MRP Home’s market-related experience. The process started with a proposal of a homeware range I put together for MRP Home. This was followed by a meeting at the MRP Home HQ in Durban, where we narrowed down the patterns and products we wanted to focus on – we discussed colour, trends, manufacturing process and finishes. After that it was a back-and-forth conversation to craft and review the patterns and colours, until everyone was happy. The process from start to finish took approximately a year.
We love the entire range but especially the textiles including the upholstery for the bench – can you tell us a bit more about the ideas behind these designs?
Thank you! I can’t wait to see it all together. We created a range of decor items that can be used as stand-alone items, or be mixed and matched. The palette has a neutral foundation, with vibrant bursts of colour added throughout.
The range consists of a duvet set, throw, scatter cushions, rug, an ottoman, stationery, tote bag and wall art. The patterns I created contrast two styles of line work: an energetic, organic line in vibrant colours, and a more decorative element based on my bouquet artwork, which is an extension of a personal range of prints I’ve been working on.
Do you have a favourite item in this collection?
I actually haven’t seen the final, printed products yet, so I’m looking forward to seeing the entire range together. If I had to choose, I’d say I’m especially excited about the rug, bedding, throw and scatter cushions.
What’s your favourite destination for design inspiration, and why?
I’d have to say Cape Town first and foremost for its laid-back culture and amazing lifestyle, followed by Melbourne for its accessible, inclusive music and art scene (my amazing agent Jacky Winter is also based in Melbourne). They are definitely the two places where I’ve spent most of my time. That said, I’d love to visit San Sebastián for its legendary food scene, pintxo bars, architecture and surf culture.
Did you always want to be a designer? If not, what did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wasn’t sure at all what I wanted to be growing up. While viewing a graduate exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in the The Hague, during my gap year, I had an ah-ha moment and realised that I wanted to study visual communication. Shortly afterwards I enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch and my design journey began.
Who is your favourite architect or designer, and why?
There’re SO many to choose from. I’ve always been a massive fan of Cameron Platter; international artists would have to include David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama and designer/visual artist Geoff McFetridge. In fact, my first tattoo was of a Geoff McFetridge image.
What is your earliest visual memory?
It’s maybe not my earliest visual memory, but a very vivid visual memory for me is of the many drawings I made in the back of my school notebooks as a kid. Looking back, it’s clear I had a keen interest, from a young age, in hand-lettered logos, colourful illustrations and the visual culture of surfing and music.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I try to wake up before 7am. I’ll brew some coffee, make some breakfast, check my emails for anything urgent, get ready and head to the studio, which is luckily only walking distance away. At the studio, I’ll brew some more coffee. If I’m not on a crazy deadline I’ll respond to more emails, tackle some admin for the day and then get going on whatever projects need to be done. If I’m on a deadline everything else is put on hold and that’s my primary focus. I’ve also always got a few self-initiated studio projects on the go, alongside my commercial projects, so there’s always something that needs to be done.
If money were no object, what piece of design or art would you treat yourself to?
A painting by David Hockney. Maybe even more than one!
Shop the Look Now
1. Colab Rudi de Wet Scatter Cushion
SHOP IT | R179.99, Mr Price Home
2. Colab Rudi de Wet Throw
SHOP IT | R399.99, Mr Price Home
3. Colab Rudi de Wet Bench
SHOP IT | R2000, Mr Price Home