A hotbed of creative talent, Johannesburg is home to the most exciting artist flying the flag for the next generation of creatives. Following in our series of young creatives on the rise, we take a look at another collective making waves in the city of gold. Today’s spotlight is our favourite polymath twins, Abi and Claire Meekel. From music to *installations this pair is poised to take over the world, or at the very least your world.
*As of first publication the pair have since showcased their exhibition, “Blue”, at Cape Town’s Gallery MOMO.
Words: Tshiamo Seape
Abi and Claire Meekel – Artist//Fimakers//Illustratiors
What do you do?
We do many different things. Currently, we are studying film and television at Wits. Claire is specialising in cinematography and Abi is specialising in sound design. Although we like to be in control of all the elements in film our interests lie in visuals and sound.
Meëk is a completely different part of who we are. It is a collaboration between the two of us, where we draw, paint and animate together it is separate from what we do individually.
Quite a big online presence covering different media, but what is one thing you’d want people to take away from it all – what are you all about?
We started posting our work online to create a base for ourselves, where we could look back at our process as well as have people from all over the world follow it. It started to grow as we did more and more. The one thing that we want people to take from our work is to feel inspired and to be sure of who they are. To become mindful and observant of the world around them. Meëk specifically, is created out of spontaneity and improvisation.
Along with Riley you started The Conversationists and created your first exhibition earlier this year. Tell me about the group and the process of working together?
Well, The Conversationists started with a group of 3 other artists, Riley Grant, Kayla Armstrong and Adilson De Oliviera. We wanted to make art. So we started a conversation. A conversation about anything. We found that speaking about concepts and ideas is what creates substance in an artwork. We started off with the concept Blue. Where we curated a light and sound installation, which was exhibited at Glory, in Melville, surrounding the concept blue.
NEVER stop doing stuff. Take any opportunity you can get, meet people, teach people and learn from them. It’s all part of the process.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you both?
That we are exactly the same. That we are always together and that we can’t live apart. That is not true. We do many things separately. We just love working together.
Do you think there’s such a thing as doing too much?
NEVER stop doing stuff. Take any opportunity you can get, meet people, teach people and learn from them. It’s all part of the process and even things you may think are boring and a waste of time in the present, can surprise you in the end.
What have you been the proudest of?
At the moment we are re-working the blue, light and sound installation that was curated at Glory, in Melville, at a digital arts festival in Braamfontein called Fakugesi. I think this is a rare opportunity to create a feeling for a large group of people. Claire took part in creating an FMV for a fourth year, game design student, which was showcased at A MAZE 2017. Abi is busy working with an incredible piano composer and sound artist.
Abi: Describe the last time Claire surprised you?
Claire is yet to surprise me.
I don’t care what people think of my work. If they like it or don’t. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. I have to know that the work is right.
Claire: What do you like most about Abi?
Abi has a great sense of judgment. She can feel when something isn’t right. It’s good to be careful in this business. You don’t want your work to suffer because you’ve made a bad decision. She will think about the situation before we finally act.
Do you ever feel insecure about your work?
ALWAYS. I hate my work, but I love creating my work. It’s a complicated process.
Is social media a way of “stress testing” your ideas?
No. I don’t care what people think of my work. If they like it or don’t. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. I have to know that the work is right. Our biggest critic is one other. By the way, Abi is really hard to impress.