Work by Karen Bradtke.
Work by Karen Bradtke.

Making smart art by using a cellphone

By Valencia Govindasamy Time of article published Mar 11, 2013

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New works are on display by professional artists at artSPACE Gallery in Durban.

Entitled Collective 2013, this fine art exhibition showcases the work of about 29 artists, some by the Eastern Cape’s leading artists.

They where asked to submit work that reflects their style, with the only restriction being that no work could be larger than 60x60cm.

Some of the artists involved are Karen Bradtke, Greg Shultz, Dolla Sapeta, Lungiswa Gqunta, Jennifer Ord, Graham Jones and Linda Odisitse. The Nelson Mandela Bay artists who will be displaying are Greg Kerr, Donve Branch, Michael Barry, Werner Lemmer, to name a few.

Tonight caught up with the director, and one of the artists, Bradtke, to learn more about Collective 2013: “The exhibition is a group show of a small group of artists and their phoneography blocks. My phoneography blocks were all taken in the Point Road area and a few at artSPACE Durban in Millar Road. They were intended as markers to my memory; interesting finds along a person’s path.”

Bradtke recalls her love for sewing and makes her own clothes and quilts.

“I took classes in high school and at university, but majored in geology. Then I got a second chance to do art we moved to Durban. I got my BTech in fine art at the Durban Institute of Technology (now Durban University of Technology) in 2002,” she says.

Having majored in sculpture, Bradtke is familiar with various materials, but loves working with fabric, paper and photography.

Her work is an outlet for her creativity and she makes art for herself in the hope that others will like it, too.

“My creative process has a lot to do with what I see and using my smartphone camera to capture that. For the phoneography show, I took the images, then I instagrammed them on my iPad (which has no camera), then I photoshopped them a bit before resizing to fit the size of the empty blocks (12x12cm).

“In other works, I find a lot of ideas by looking at the internet, gallery exhibitions, museums and art books. I do not copy, but rather my ideas come out of ‘looking’ and that inspires ideas within me,” she explains.

Bradtke draws her inspiration from her uncle, who also loves the arts: “My Uncle Mike was always a talented person whom I admired. He lives in the US and is a magazine editor.

“He was always photographing things and worked as a journalist for National Geographic at one point. Also, my husband is a great encouragement to me to continue with my work.”

Bradtke says those who attend Collective 2013 can see how art is made from images taken by smart- phone cameras.

• Exhibition ends next month. artSPACE Gallery, 3 Millar Rd (off Umgeni). Call Karen: 031 312 0793.

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