Bring­ing Art to Life

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Julie Gra­ham Im­ages © Louis Jansen van Vu­uren | Rayke Loftie-ea­ton

Art comes in many shapes and forms, and some would say we are sur­rounded by it all of the time. The in­tri­cate de­signs, del­i­cate pat­terns and awe-in­spir­ing forces of na­ture, as well as our own emo­tional depths as hu­man be­ings, in­spire us to cre­ate and sur­round our­selves with beauty – a con­stant source of hap­pi­ness and in­spi­ra­tion. A paint­ing is an artist’s way of em­u­lat­ing this beauty and shar­ing with the world an in­ti­mate in­sight into their own in­ter­pre­ta­tion. Why then do we so often con­strict these art­works to the en­closed, silent halls and walls of gal­leries, mu­se­ums and pri­vate col­lec­tions? This is a ques­tion that in­spired prom­i­nent artist, poet and writer, Louis Jansen van Vu­uren, to ex­pand and spread his beau­ti­ful and dis­tinc­tive oil and pas­tel cre­ations in var­i­ous forms.

From stun­ning silk squares, run­ners and scat­ter cush­ions to ta­ble tops, shoes, and his ex­quis­ite col­lec­tion of hand­bags, Jansen van Vu­uren is ex­tend­ing his mas­ter­ful cre­ative flair in ap­pli­ca­tions that are both func­tional and daz­zling to look at. Born in South Africa, this in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed artist and cre­ative re­sides with his part­ner, Hardy Olivier, in their mag­nif­i­cent château in the French coun­try­side where he paints, cre­ates, and writes in-be­tween find­ing unique ways of bring­ing the un­sur­passed beauty of art to places it can be en­joyed by all.

We re­cently caught up with the artist to find out more about his ex­cit­ing range of hand­bags and other col­lecta­bles:

SLOW: What ini­tially in­spired your de­ci­sion to ex­tend your art­work from can­vas to your im­pres­sive range of col­lecta­bles?

Louis Jansen van Vu­uren (LJVV): When vis­it­ing the newly re­mod­elled Van Gogh Mu­seum in Am­s­ter­dam I was bowled over by the most in­ven­tive ap­pli­ca­tions of his art-work to col­lectable items – from a Starry Night puz­zle to an Iris hand­bag. And then, of course, there is the Louis Vuit­ton Masters range where the Mona Liza ap­pears on a stylish hand­bag . . .

SLOW: You have cre­ated works of art on bags, cush­ions, shoes, aprons and even ta­bles. What do you wish for buy­ers to take away from an LJVV pur­chase?

LJVV: That art may ven­ture from the hal­lowed halls of si­lence into the street, where it be­longs – amongst the peo­ple! I

once passed a crowded tea­room and saw one of my bags next to the ta­ble at a young de­signer’s feet. It looked spec­tac­u­lar!

SLOW: We sim­ply love your se­lec­tion of de­signer hand­bags. Can you tell us about the cre­ative jour­ney that in­spired this par­tic­u­lar col­lec­tion?

LJVV: A few years ago, friends of mine who had a hand­bag de­sign sec­tion in one of their Cape Town busi­nesses sug­gested we cre­ate a beau­ti­ful tote bag that fea­tured one of my paint­ings on it. I was then work­ing on a se­ries of oil paint­ings of my favourite city, Paris. The Paris bag was born and it cre­ated quite a stir. Years passed and the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self once more when Marné Eras­mus Myn­hardt of Mi­tat and I worked to­gether cre­at­ing the Icon range of bags.

SLOW: What is the process of get­ting the art­work onto the hand­bags?

LJVV: It is an ex­cit­ing process that starts in the stu­dio on my easel. Some­times we com­bine sev­eral paint­ings to cre­ate one side of the bag. Re­cently, with more in­tri­cate and com­pli­cated de­signs, I worked with sev­eral young de­sign­ers that do the siz­ing, scal­ing and brand­ing of the de­signs for me. Once the art­work is done, it gets pho­tographed in high res­o­lu­tion, colour checked and tweaked, and trans­formed to a spe­cial printer that trans­fers the im­age onto leather, eco-leather or any other suit­able sub­strate.

SLOW: It has been said that a hand­bag di­vulges a great deal about some­one’s per­son­al­ity. What are your thoughts on this? What does a LJVV orig­i­nal de­signer hand­bag say about its wearer?

LJVV: I do agree with that state­ment – a hand­bag is more than a vis­it­ing card, it says “this is who I am”, “this is how I present my­self to­day”. The per­son sport­ing an LJVV orig­i­nal dares to be dif­fer­ent and has con­fi­dence in her cre­ative judg­ment. She is a trend­set­ter, not a fol­lower of the medi­ocre, masspro­duced that sur­rounds us.

SLOW: Can you tell us a bit about the dif­fer­ent styles?

LJVV: At the mo­ment there are three se­ries to se­lect from: 1. The Lu­l­u­lux range that is colour­ful, bold

and ex­cit­ingly play­ful. 2. The LJVV range con­sists of con­tem­po­rary de­signs with a classy metropoli­tan at­ti­tude. 3. The LJVV La Creuzette lim­ited range that fea­tures iconic im­ages of South African artists’ work. We started with three Irma Stern paint­ings that are be­guil­ing and ex­pres­sive. Each signed and num­bered bag comes with a match­ing 90 cm x 90 cm Silk Square.

SLOW: What other ex­cit­ing col­lectibles do you have in mind for the fu­ture?

LJVV: I am work­ing on sev­eral won­der­ful projects, in­clud­ing a range of sen­su­ous botan­i­cal vel­vet prints and a se­ries of gilded ce­ram­ics.

SLOW: How has this ex­ten­sion of your art­work in­spired you?

LJVV: It has opened up a brand new world to me – a won­drous place that I ex­plore with en­thu­si­asm and ex­cite­ment. I do­nated one of my silk squares to a French friend and one night at the Paris opera she was wear­ing this blue and gold LJVV silk cre­ation loosely tied around her neck. What joy! She was most prob­a­bly sport­ing Dior – with LJVV around her neck!

SLOW: What has been your favourite col­lectable to work on and why?

LJVV: It’s im­pos­si­ble to se­lect less than three favourites: silk, ce­ramic, and or­ganic fab­ric like hemp or linen. Any sub­strate that will re­ceive my art­work with open arms – can­vas, per­spex and even bam­boo!

Spread the beauty by be­com­ing the proud owner of your very own LJVV de­signer col­lectable. To view the col­lec­tion, visit the on­line Mi­tat store at www.mi­­uct-cat­e­gory/ljvv. For more info on Jansen van Vu­uren, visit www.louis­jansen­van­vu­

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