Jenna Skead’s fresh, light and airy workspace on Cape Town’s Roeland Street is a haven for her illustrative endeavours. In an exclusive online extension to our DECO Profiles print feature, Jenna opens her door to DECO for us to discover where all the magic happens.
‘I call myself an illustrative designer,’ Jenna explains to DECO, ‘which means I both design and draw.’ In the light, fresh and functional shared space in Roeland Street’s Aisle B Studios, the talented artist behind children’s book The Things We Lost at Sea works amongst an eclectic mix of art and locally designed office furniture pieces, which creates an inspiring balance of function and beauty. We sat down with Jenna to find out more about the details of her studio space, how she works creatively and the role of art around her…
Your artistic concept in a nutshell:
Feel it, think it through then just do it. I think everything that is truly successful comes from a heartfelt and natural place within yourself. But also retaining a bit of whatever is on the current trend (just a little bit) in order for it to be relevant.
What role does art play in your studio space?
Supporting an environment of creativity where new things are constantly being created. The studio space I share at Aisle_B Studios in Roeland Street is filled with locally designed office furniture pieces. So there is a lovely mix of local design and art pieces which create a balance of function and beauty.
Feel it, think it through, then just do it.
What three words you would you use to describe your studio space?
Light, fresh, functional.
How does your space inform or inspire your art?
I think the white space within the studio as well as the images/books that I choose to surround myself with inspire my illustration style and design. All these things which surround me reflect on something that I love or connect with as an artist, and this comes out in what I create. The Book Lounge is also just up the road, so whenever I get stuck creatively I tend to take a stroll down the road to look in the shop window and get inspired again by beautiful books layouts.
What art are you creating in your studio right now?
I’m busy doing a sketchbook illustration project for a friend of mine who is starting a travel documentary.
What is your dream commission?
Probably to do an illustration for French Vogue. Or a kid’s styling job for Milk Magazine. Anything where French publication is concerned I am keen.
Does your studio space reflect your personality – if so, how?
Yes I think so, more or less. I think my personality tends to ‘make home’ quite naturally wherever I am, even if it is at work. So I think the small quirky pieces and books that I surround my desk with are a part of who I am and reflect what inspires and makes me happy.
The small quirky pieces and books that I surround my desk with are a part of who I am.
Do you have any lucky items / rituals within your space that help you work?
A postcard from one of my loveliest friends in the whole world, Jonathan Jones (who is also an illustrator). He sent it to me in the post a few years ago on Valentine’s Day. It is a black line drawing of a bear chatting to a rabbit in his hand. It has followed me to many work spaces since then, and shall continue to do so. I love a chatty bear to keep me company.
What is your favourite thing about your studio space & what would you most like to change?
The old Danish wooden chair I sit on. It is simple and beautiful, but also sturdy enough to keep my posture upright while working for long hours. If I could change anything, probably to have a couch to take naps on when I need a little break.
What is your top décor idea at the moment?
For me, it is rejuvenating something old with a fresh coat of paint in a fashionable colour of the season. I love an eclectic mix in my living spaces, so a dash of paint tends to bring with it a breath of fresh air. I love old pieces of furniture as I feel that no matter how new a home/studio space is, they give the space some grounding and authenticity with a sense of history.
I love old pieces of furniture… they give the space some grounding and authenticity with a sense of history.
What one piece of advice would you offer home owners to make their own space more artistic?
I think keeping it simple and basic but accentuated with a few quirky pieces. This creates an inspiring space that allows space for growth and good thought processes without it being overwhelmed by too many things causing clutter.
What is the biggest challenge for SA designers?
Making a decent living doing ‘corporate’ work while trying to keep the beautiful design dream alive.
What is our greatest asset as South African Designers?
Living in a country with such a colourful ethnicity and a great sense of need. These two things create a platform for beautiful and creative solutions.
Photography by Kristina Stojiljkovic.
Discover more artists’ studios in Artists in Residence, in our current issue, out now.
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