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Q&A: Motel7

Cape Town-based fine artist, graffiti artist and illustrator Toyah Moon Humphreys (aka Motel7) gives HL some insight into her fascination with the adorable and the macabre. When did you develop an interest in art? I think I’ve always been interested in art. I feel good when I paint and draw. I remember when I was 10 spending ages drawing a picture of a girl. I used every single pencil crayon I had to give her this multi-coloured hair. She looked crazy. What mediums do you use? I use mostly acrylic, spray paint and watercolour. Where have you exhibited your work? I have had solo shows in Oslo, London, Amsterdam and Cape Town, and group shows all over the world. Any influences or inspirations? I guess I’m inspired by the beauty and dismay of the world. I like finding something achingly cute and morbid at the same time. I love the work of Mark Ryden, Mary Blair, Tara Mcpherson and Todd Schorr. I’m an adult child, so I watch a lot of cartoons and animations. Do you have a piece that you are particularly attached to? Probably the first painting I did for 34 Fine Art Gallery in 2009. It was called Oh No Johnny is Sick and featured a girl holding a dead fish while riding on a stingray. It was the first painting I sold to a collector. What's coming up for Motel 7 in 2014? I was lucky enough to be invited to be an artist on Superbalist, the creators of Citymob; they invite a different artist each month to showcase their work. I will be showing some new works, as well as popular ones from my show last year, as well as prints and toys. This will be the first time I am doing something like this so I’m quite excited. It will go live from 28 February 2014 and run for a month. I’ll also be attending the largest female graffiti gathering in London on 8 March (Women’s Day in England), which will go into the Guinness Book Of World Records. To view more of Motel7's work, visit Interviewed by Michaela Stehr