DEVELOPING a following and a love of fine art among younger generations is inspiration to a group of Nelson Mandela Bay artists, who are using social media to keep that interest burning.
Following a successful exhibition at the Ron Belling Art Gallery recently, it seems there is no stopping young visual arts group, 4 Blind Mice.
The group is based at a studio in Millbrook, Havelock Square and consists of Christo Booth, Monde Goniwe, Ryan Allan, Mawande Mase and Andy Higgins.
The brightly coloured and unique exhibition titled Journey Through Istanbul attracted over 100 guests to the exhibition on the opening night alone.
“Robyn Sharwood of the gallery was actually very open to us exhibiting our art there and had been looking to contact us and we happened to approach them,” Allan said.
“I think that the gallery itself complemented the artwork very well. The rather serene and quiet and calm feel of the gallery juxtaposed our energetic and bright- coloured work well and it worked.
“The journey through Istanbul is where we go as artists, where there are no restrictions and no limitations. It is a place where we can go wild and express ourselves. The name itself is a bit of an inside joke and it really doesn’t have much to do with Turkey,” Allan said.
The original members, Booth, Mase and Allan met at the former PE Technikon, where they became friends and banded together in late 2009.
“We all studied art together but we decided to come together in late 2009 and early 2010.
“We’ve always known each other and to be honest, the idea was not really to become these well-known artists but our objective is to practise art as a career and to show people that you can earn a living from doing art,” Booth said.
“For us, the most important thing is to be seen as artists.”
The artists are known for their bright, colourful and highly visual art and have created a niche market for themselves among younger art lovers.
“What we try to do is to always stay visible to our market. We’re always on our Facebook page sharing with our fans what we’re up to and what we’re doing as a collective.
“There has really been a boom of artists in PE and we are really proud to be part of it. I think the art scene has changed a lot in recent years and this is partly thanks to the MBDA [Mandela Bay Development Agency] creating chances for us as artists to express ourselves.
“There has also been a lot of collaboration between artists – whether they are visual artists, musicians or dramatic artists – where we put on shows and exhibitions together at the same time in order to pull in the different crowds, and it works,” Allan said.
Although the members have different artistic styles, Booth said they allow each other space.
“It is a combination of different styles of art but we allow each other the space and the time to create what we want.
“Of course if one of us is struggling we advise each other and help each other. The collective is really a sharing of ideas but we also strive to let each other’s individual talent come through and at the end, all of it comes together and just fits.
“We’re still young and this is only our second exhibition and there’s no end in sight for us now,” he said.