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Artist Profile – Meet Robyn Pretorius, A Mixed Media Artist

 Artist Profile – Meet Robyn Pretorius, A Mixed Media Artist

Through her art, she investigates the connections existing between the environment human beings live in and their identities.

When you think of Belhar in the Cape Flats, the first thing that might come to mind is gangsters and crime, but the community also brings out some of the most talented and artistic people in South Africa. 

Robyn Pretorius is one that comes to mind. 

This rose from Belhar, has a sense of community and as a photorealist, she is drawn to the fine detail of what she is painting.

Coconut and Honey.

Through her art, she investigates the connections existing between the environment human beings live in and their identities. 

Pretorius said: “My upbringing was a humble one. Raised by a single parent but was privileged to attend formal art training as an extracurricular subject throughout my schooling. I always drew or created things to keep myself entertained.  

My social life and experiences with friends and family within my community is what kept me inspired. I was always observing my surroundings in a large spectrum of colours and how people interacted within different environments. This creative perspective and method I still use today when investigating portraiture and likeness in my art. 

Growing up and inspiration

The community of Belhar has played a huge role in the grounding of Pretorius and has allowed her to flourish. 

She said: “I got a good sense of community from the families around us. There was always acceptance and openness from the many who knew me which allowed me to have relationships with many unique personalities.

“The vibrancy and talent from the youth which surrounded me is what fed my already creative mind. I felt free. Most of all, I felt safe to express myself freely through my art. It is this vibrancy and sensitivity to likeness I try to capture within my art regardless of the subject.

“My environment allowed me to understand that there are more layers to a person than what one sees.”


Pretorius reiterated that she is not necessarily influenced by anything but rather inspired. 

I wouldn’t use the word influence, but rather my inspiration is drawn from the observation of the physical form and nature. I am constantly experimenting new ways to use or manipulate colour, texture and balancing it with a deep appreciation for photorealism,” she said. 

Painting, creativity and the future

Pretorius could use any medium to express her art but chose painting because of the technical abilities involved within it. 

She said: “I love the painting process and stress that comes with pushing one’s technical abilities within a restricted space. I have created work in other mediums, but I always seemed to find comfort in knowing I can create a two-dimensional image that never existed onto a blank white surface.

“Painting is not always as linear, that is why experimentation is key to my painting process and what I’d like to convey through portraiture. It’s surprisingly versatile that’s why I like it.”


When it comes to creativity, Pretorius believes the role of the creative is to keep creating. 

The role of a creative is to continue creating. The word “create” promotes the freedom to express human ability and language. Creativity is not restricted to only the visual experience, but it is the part of the human experience,” she said. 

Pretorius also believes the arts industry has finally started opening to a more inclusive representation of the South African voice. 

I do think there has been a change in the arts industry promoting a more inclusive dialogue for the South African voice. The international market recognizes our unique footprint, but I think the challenge lies in South Africans supporting and prioritizing local artists,” she said.

Pick One.

When it comes to her evolution as an artist, Pretorius’ aim is to just keep creating. 

She said: “My plans for 2020 are to continue making more art, commissions and to exhibit along the way. Most of all, continue to learn and up-skill towards long term goals.

“I can’t predict the future of my art, but I only hope that I can continue making art and reach my personal goals.

“Should there be a natural transition during the process of art making, I would trust it and see how it evolves. Why not? I believe no artist spends his/her life doing the same thing.”

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Ray Maota