Step into the enchanting world of Carol Bourgonje, an accomplished self-taught Intuitive Abstract Expressionist from Cape Town, South Africa. In this exclusive interview, we delve into Carol’s artistic journey, influenced by her global travels, diverse experiences, and the profound connection between her inner self and the canvas.
Discover the captivating dance of inspiration and intuition that guides her work as she shares insights into her creative process, materials, influences, and her intention to offer viewers a multi-dimensional artistic experience.
Join us on a voyage of self-discovery through the world of art with Carol Bourgonje.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into art!
I am a self-taught Intuitive Abstract Expressionist based in the vibrant city of Cape Town, South Africa. My artistic journey has been woven from a myriad of experiences, beginning with my early years in Zimbabwe, where I discovered my natural artistic flair. My travels around the world during a career in the fashion industry in Johannesburg exposed me to the rich tapestry of arts, interiors, architecture, and the wonders of nature—a diverse array of inspirations that continue to influence my work.
My journey in the world of creativity evolved further when I established my own business, Vanilla House Interiors, which thrived for an impressive 24 years. During this time, I poured my creative energies into not only designing my own furniture but also curating the showroom and offering consultancy services for clients’ interiors. My travels persisted, and my encounters with the East ignited a passion for painting, prompting me to create art for my interior shop over a transformative four-year period.
But it was during the solitude of the lockdown months that I experienced an artistic reawakening. In a twist of fate, the lockdown served as the key to unlock the self-exploration journey that had long simmered within me. It was during this period of reflection and isolation that I felt compelled to release years of artistic expression that had been dormant within me.
How would you describe the art you love creating?
My art is a reflection of my fascination with nature, design, architecture, and interiors. It’s the culmination of years of observation, which has cultivated a collective consciousness within me that effortlessly translates into movement and flow when I engage in the art-making process. The creative moment is all-encompassing, allowing my shadow moods to manifest on the canvas. There’s a dance that unfolds between me and the canvas, where my spiritually intuitive response melodically takes shape, guided by the natural flow of events.
What influences your artistic vision and style?
Throughout my business years, my spiritual journey has been an integral part of my life. I’ve continuously questioned and sought to understand the meaning of life, which has given me the ability to tune into my inner self and express my truth on canvas. Inspired by the breathtaking surroundings of Cape Town, I’ve unleashed a newfound self-expression—a journey that I feel has only just begun.
Are there any present-day artists whose creations resonate with you and that you find particularly compelling?
I don’t have a singular artist who stands out to me. Instead, I draw inspiration from a wide array of looks and visuals that evoke different emotions and inspirations. I believe that everyone possesses potential, and I remain open to viewing and observing the artistic expressions of all. However, I have recently been captivated by the work of Gaston Carrio.
Among the various materials you engage with, which one do you find the most fulfilling to work with, and what draws you to it?
I find joy in working with all acrylic paints in various mediums and textures. Every day is a learning experience, exploring the potential of these versatile materials. I’m continually experimenting and “playing” during the art-making process, which leads to the unfolding of new doors and untapped avenues of expression. I also regularly work with oils, which offer a fascination of their own. The depth and layers in oil painting create a uniqueness that continues to unfold. As an artist, I believe it’s crucial never to be complacent with any material, so I’m always “searching” for the new, as it’s an essential part of the expression formula.
Can you walk us through your artistic process, starting from the initial spark of an idea to the realisation of the finished artwork?
The artistic process is a dance that unfolds between me and the canvas, allowing the spiritually intuitive response to melodically take shape in a natural flow of events. This movement and flow define the characteristics of my work, with each day mysteriously portraying a different rhythm, depending on the universal rhythms of that day. The canvas reveals its own expression after the abstraction has been articulated, and the final revelation comes when the viewer, not the artist, invites sight. Observing the art with different eyes will reveal different meanings and evoke new experiences.
Could you share some insights into your current creative endeavours and projects?
My intentions as an artist are for those who view or purchase my art to have a multi-dimensional experience. I aim to provide new revelations and fresh narratives, enticing the viewer’s brain each day they engage with my canvas to unlock a doorway of expansion into the mind and imagination. As an intuitive artist, it’s all about setting the intention, allowing the final reveal to present itself without any predetermined expectations. This approach allows the “truth” to flow, and insight is found in the present moment.