Q&A with Winner: Jessica Kapp

Download the 2018 catalogue to see Jessica's work.
 
Where does your passion for art come from?
Enjoying the pleasure of art, the activity of experimenting and creating for its own sake, is why I love art. I grew up with a wonderful, creative mum. As a child she would often take my sister and I to her pottery classes and encourage us to participate in other creative classes such as painting and digital photography. As a creative herself, (although she will not admit to it) she has made numerous beautifully crafted raku fired pots and wall hangings that are displayed throughout our home. So, in this sense I think my mum was the person who ignited my passion for art. I am sure, it is a passion I have always had but it was sparked from the wonderful memories I have of sculpting with her clay.
 
Briefly describe your artistic journey up until the point of entering Sasol New Signatures.
After completing my matric at the Diocesans School for Girls in Grahamstown I decided to apply to university to pursue a career in Fine Art. I am currently completing the final year of my FA degree at Stellenbosch. Over the past 4 years I have participated in a number of student-led group exhibitions both at Stellenbosch University and the University’s Gallery (GUS) with my peers. This year I entered Sasol New Signatures and have also been fortunate to get some industry experience by working with the Hermanus FynArts Festival and the Strauss and Company auctions in Cape Town.
 
What motivated you to enter the Sasol New Signatures art competition?
Aside from its reputation as being one of the leading national art competitions in South Africa, my motivation for entering the competition was to push myself. I have never been much of a competitive person but I entered the competition to test myself against some of the most talented artists in South Africa to challenge myself. Sasol New Signatures provides an established platform from which I can showcase my work, allowing for it to be experienced by a much wider audience. Just to be included in the top 100 is incredibly exciting. I still cannot believe that I was selected, it is such an honour to be exhibiting in Pretoria.
 
What excites you about the creative process?
It’s kind of a surprise each time, I think that’s the beauty of art.
The mere making, as well as the prospect of learning an array of new techniques with each project is something that is tremendously inspiring. What excites me about the creative process, is the unknown result.
 
Tell us about your preferred medium.
I think that the two mediums that interest me the most are printmaking and book binding because of the precision of those crafts. However, sculpture has recently edged into my repertoire, although I was reluctant at first to accept it as one of my techniques. I think that that the physicality of sculpture requires the use of the body which allows for a very engaging experience. For this reason I am endeared to sculpture. It has the ability to be completely immersive and descriptive using just its form.
 
Summarise your work in three independent words.
Trace. Ambience. Artifacts.
 
Did this competition teach you anything about yourself?
This competition has taught me a lot about professionalism within the art world, as well as the selection and curatorship of my own work. I am completely surprised and excited to be chosen for the top seven as I did not think I would come so far in this competition. Being selected has empowered me with the confidence to enter future art competitions which I would not have considered before.
 
Which local artists do you admire?
I have recently been looking into the work of Emma Willemse, Joani Groenewald and Isabel Mertz.
 
What are you currently working on?
I am completing more rammed earth columns for my final November exam, as well as preparing for the 2018 Gradex Exhibition on the 7th of December. Gradex is a student run organisation, that showcases the work of artists, designers and jewellers from Stellenbosch University.
 
What impact would winning this competition have on you?
The fact that I have been considered for such a prestigious award is amazing. Being selected as one of the seven finalists for Sasol New Signatures is the greatest achievement of my life. Winning this competition would both excite and overwhelm me, creating new opportunities for me to further my skills set. The possibility of winning a competition like this and creating a body of work for my own solo exhibition is something I could never have imagined for myself. The platform and exposure that this competition would provide, is enormously supportive and encouraging.