a ‘little’ about me
I was born in a small industrial town in South Africa, and was tapping my feet all through childhood, yearning to explore. I occupied myself by drawing on everything – my hands, legs, papers and books. I tackled whatever artistic ideas came my way, executing ambitious projects and learning to use new mediums. I drew and painted a lot. By 16 I had developed a community reputation and amassed a steady income from selling artwork. I casually invested in a course and became a certified tattoo artist, using a spare room as a studio. I competed in numerous competitions, and was exceptionally motivated when confronted with any creative project. A week after my graduation I was on a plane to South America, traveling Chile, Argentina and Brazil. I contributed to Valparaiso's famous street art scene, and painted in exchange for food and board along the way.
My journey continued into Europe, where within a week I had an apartment and a job as a barista, making expensive coffee in the Netherlands. These months plunged me into a culture I resonated with - suddenly I had opportunities to explore music, sounds, food, film, wine, and have a thousand conversations. I hitchhiked to Antwerp and Paris, spent a weekend in London, went on a road trip to Milan. I was digesting new ideas every week, and I enjoyed life in a European city for many months before, finally, I felt the need to see my home again.
I spent time back in South Africa developing new conceptual ideas. I started writing a travel column in the local newspaper, where I took pleasure in detailing rather risky experiences from the road, where most unlikely people had helped me. It was a small protest in my conservative community - you can trust strangers.
Unenthusiastic about my return ticket to Amsterdam (and repetitive work-life balance) I flew to Bombay instead. I was plunged headfirst into the crazy cultural intensity of India. I had optimized my lifestyle for cheap, long-term travel, and I moved steadily from place to place, painting in exchange for food and accommodation. For weeks at a time I would enjoy an absurdly idyllic lifestyle where I would wake up in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and not be required to do anything but draw for several hours. I soaked up new ideas like a sponge, meeting incredibly unique individuals and gaining a window into the totally different perspectives and values of the East.
I was experiencing a growing interest Buddhist philosophy, and curiosity to better understand the workings of the mind, in a less theoretical and more experiential way. My internal focus developed as I walked for 25 days in Nepal’s Himalayas, eyes burning with beauty of its rugged sunsets, snow-capped peaks, and thin, low oxygen air. I had my camera at hand, constantly taking footage. When I came down from the mountains, I embarked on 10 days of separation from the world - relinquishing any electronics, reading or writing material, and keeping complete silence in a meditation compound for 10 days. I learnt a technique involving the acute observation of physical sensation - Vipassana. This simple, sensory experience of reality was profoundly meaningful to me.
My time in Asia ended with a tropical island paradise, where, on a bar terrace beside the lapping waves, I left a colourful mural. I stuffed my paint encrusted clothes into my backpack and climbed the steps onto a long a distance flight – this time back to the clockwork regularity of Northern Europe, and all the new challenges it would bring.
I have since explored roadsides from Utrecht, to Budapest, to Sarajevo, to Italy and eventually washed up in Belgium, enjoying all the artistic opportunities the city of Brussels holds.
Current Project: alexandrawuzyk.com/talking-portraits/