To start off the new year we are extremely excited to announce that our first Artist of the Month in 2022 is visual artist Lorianne Wigens.
Lorianne is an incredibly talented and skilled artist, animals from her native South Africa are her primary medium of choice. She was kind enough to sit with us and discuss her artistic journey, the evolution of her skillset, and how the wildlife captivates her creative imagination.
Tell us a little about your artistic background and journey?
I have been drawing ever since I can remember. Other than taking art in high school I have no formal training but enjoy working with pencil. I have branched out a little and done some work with pen, pastel, and watercolours, some experimental works.
I recently decided to share my art with the public in June of 2021. This is when I stumbled across ICAI and their search for local immigrant artists to display their work. I didn't think I had much of a chance in this field because I've never exhibited my art and never studied fine arts. I applied to an open call regardless of everything else. Fear is not a good enough reason to not do something. Especially when it's fear of failure.
Luckily I had the courage to do it. Thanks to ICAI a lot of doors are being opened for me that I never knew were even possible, including my exhibition in the mini-galleries of Rotary Park with the Crescent Heights Community Association. My hope is that I continue to grow as an artist and that I never hide my art from the public again. My artistic journey has given me the confidence to say I'm an artist, instead of ‘I draw’.
Can you tell us what inspires you to create your works?
I love drawing African wildlife. Animals are a huge inspiration for me. I grew up in South Africa and drawing animals brings me back to that calm, serene feeling of being back in the bushveld surrounded by the African wilderness. I also enjoy drawing human anatomy but I guess humans are technically animals too.
An idea that grabs my attention. Then I start looking at the paper as though the drawing was already there, I just have to work to bring it out. I always want to depict animals as they are with their intensity, raw emotions or nonchalance; the way they stare at you or through you.
What are the challenges you are currently facing as an immigrant/newcomer artist?
Not knowing where to begin or who to ask for guidance. That's why ICAI is such a wonderful organization. I just wish I found out about them sooner. Everything is so different when you land in another country. We didn't know where to buy groceries or how to gas a car, let alone how to show my work or ask for advice with regards to my work.
I'm fortunate in that I speak English fluently, so there is less of a barrier for me. Nevertheless, it is comical to be a part of dialectical misunderstandings. Expression, and even definitions of words are sometimes different here. It's interesting to observe how a simple sentence in English can not be understood by another first language English speaker and then having to try and find common words to explain intent and meaning.
What are the goals you are hoping to achieve in the next few months through your art?
I recently sent my work through to the Esker Foundation and hope to be featured along with some other outstanding artists in their In Common posts. And I have an art show coming up in June of 2022 at Vale's Greenhouse in Black Diamond.
I hope to engage more with my audience and fellow artists. I am new to all this and I'm hoping this will push me to step out of my comfort zone (even more than I already have).
We would like to thank Lorianne Wigens for taking the time to speak with us. If you would like to see more of her art, you can find her here: