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Rising Stars 2013: Wesley van Eeden

How would you describe your work and yourself as a practicing artist? My work is mostly inspired by my environment, as opposed to things that I see on the internet. I think being overexposed to the trends on blogs around the world could be like getting sunburnt! For me, I try and look at what is around me in the country I live in and invite it into my creative consciousness. A lot of my work often leans towards an undercurrent of rebirth, change, rebellion and hope. For me there is nothing more beautiful than creating something from a discarded piece of wood or from an idea in someone’s head, to become a tangible object. Where did you study and how long have you been practicing for? I studied graphic design and did my BTECH in illustration at the Durban Institute of Technology. I have been a practicing artist, illustrator and graphic designer since 2003. What is Resoborg? Resoborg is my new ‘identity’ as an artist, illustrator and designer. It’s a made-up name that was influenced by my artist residency in Finland in 2011. I'd say the three-month residency was a highlight of my career, as for the first time I felt like it was ‘okay’ to be an artist. Finland has a great sense of design and when coming up with a new name I Googled ideas and all of them were taken. Resoborg was the district I lived in while attending the residency and because of its impact on my work I decided to use ‘borg’, which means castle or centre and changed ‘Rase’ to ‘Reso’, which is short for resource. It’s a metaphor for us becoming more and more dependent on ourselves, as opposed to being reliant on multinationals, technology etc. So, essentially we are people of resource, a resource centre. Out of your methods of work, do you have a favourite or preference? Why is it a favourite? Personally I enjoy painting, for a number of reasons. Firstly, I am quite concerned with how fast technology is developing and how rapidly we are becoming dependent on it. So in many ways, when I do exhibitions, I like to return to this medium to, in a way, comment on this infatuation and dependence the human race has on technology. When I paint, the world stops and it’s just me and the work that I am producing. I try not to answer my phone or check emails when I am in production mode. Also, it seems the art world has an allure to ‘new media’, which has been around since the early 1900s, so I am reacting to that world too. In many ways my work looks at connecting myself with human nature, the earth and God. Having said all of this, I am always up for a challenge in my personal work. I am exploring taking my paintings towards 3D and sculptural artworks, as it’s important to continue evolving. Tell us a bit about your mural work? I have been painting murals since about 2004. Painting ‘big’ is always a challenge for me, but I have been lucky enough to have been commissioned to paint a couple. One of the highlights was painting a mural for the new MyCiti Bus station in Gardens in Cape Town, the RVCA store in Jeffrey’s Bay and a mural in Ekenas, Finland. Those last two were done with my friend Paul Senyol. I am not a graffiti artist but I am inspired by a lot of artists who do interesting stuff on walls, such as Barry McGee, Dave Kinsey and Jeff Soto. What works are you busy with currently and what can we expect next? I recently wrapped a sold-out show with Senyol at AWOA in Cape Town. I am taking the rest of the year off from public exhibitions to pursue a one-year, self-developed project. This project is an exciting one as I am exploring new ideas and techniques. Other than that, I still do commissions and a lot of illustration and design work. I am working on another digital ‘mural’ for the MyCiti Bus station in Milnerton, which I am really excited about. To view Wesley’s work, visit Text Lisa Wallace