Design Indaba Emerging Creatives: an interview with illustrator Amy Slatem

In partnership with Cape Town creative conference Design Indaba, we are highlighting the work of South African creatives on our blog over the next few weeks. First up is Amy Slatem, an illustrator based in Port Elizabeth and one of Design Indaba’s 2016 Emerging Creatives

Slatem often draws on nature and her surroundings for inspiration. She credits the flowing lines, organic shapes and soft colours used in her work to the Stormsberg Mountains of the Eastern Cape.

“A lot of my subject matter also involves creatures and people,” she adds. “I can’t really define a set style for myself because it changes all the time, but a lot of my work shares outspoken line work and an underlying quirk.”

Amy Slatem_Book of faces

Slatem recently exhibited her work as part of an exhibition showcasing new art and design talent in South Africa organised by Design Indaba. She describes the process as “a great starting point” as it forced her to “be productive, curate work critically and create more where needed.”

Amy Slatem_Gerbil Geoff

Ditching the harsh geometric landscape of Johannesburg, Slatem says she found a home for her creativity in Port Elizabeth. “I always have some kind of drawing device close by and most artworks are born from quick scribbles on scrap paper,” she says.

Amy Slatem_Blob Bird

Offering advice for other emerging creatives, she adds: “What I’d suggest is to find or just define that specific skill or thing you want to learn. Do tutorials, watch others work, Google, ask questions and finish something.” She also encourages people to keep on creating and share their work: “Practice does make perfect. At the very least, it’ll help you stumble onto fresh ideas,” she says.

Amy Slatem_Protea

You can see more of Amy Slatem’s work on her website.

To see the full collection of featured South African creatives go to

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