The name Contemporary Art Keen Enthusiast, CAKE, is a bit of a dark joke on my namesake Marie Antoinette. Similar to an Art Gallery it curates and shows art works of contemporary artists, whilst also exploring their reasons for creating the kind of art work they do.
About 26 years ago, whilst strolling through a market on the outskirts of rural Johannesburg, South Africa, I stumbled upon some sculptures made of burnt clay, the artist was sitting on the ground in the dirt with his work. He had burnt the clay with an open fire, however the expressive and yet simple shapes and lines in his work took my breath away. It reminded me of a combination of the works of art by Henry Moore and Francis Bacon. I wanted to purchase one of his clay effigies that I found particularly striking. I asked the price, “R250.00” he said looking up at me, expecting me to haggle him down. To his surprise I paid him the money he asked and told him I thought he was a genius and walked away. To this day I regret not taking a note of his name and contact details, I often think about him and what became of him.
I displayed his sculpture of four figures debating at a table in my home in London. Every person who entered our home always complimented me on this particular piece of work. Sadly it broke whilst moving home and I couldn’t piece it back together.
My first interest in life was film directing as I enjoy story telling, then art directing, particularly advertising. I remember watching TV commercials in London in the 80’s and they were cool, witty, intelligent and exceedingly creative. I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I eventually became an art director in advertising. The job with all the stresses was inspiring and tremendously challenging yet I was plagued with the idea that I was wasn’t ‘witty’ enough for advertising in the UK. So I became a photographer and expressed myself that way.
I do love everything creative and surreal. I enjoy art immensely and find contemporary art fascinating, not only from a psychological point of view, analysing the meaning of the work, but also from an aesthetic appreciation. Whether classic, aesthetically challenging, politically complex or autobiographical these are the elements in people’s work I love to read.
So that’s what C-A-K-E is about, meeting the artists and appreciating their work with a brief understanding about them and how they came about doing what they do. If you are a Contemporary Art Keen Enthusiast, and like CAKE, I hope you will enjoy the showcasing of some inspiring work and artists.
Antoinette is a German/South African photographer, she primarily shoots portraits and editorials. She graduated from Art College in Hamburg, The School of Visual Arts NYC and the D&AD London. She started her career as an Art Director in advertising, working in New York and London for nine years. She finds immense reward in being creative, developing concepts and thinking out of the box. She turned to fashion photography in 1990 and has had many exhibitions of her work in London including Proud Galleries and the Halcyon, as well as being the author of two books ‘Motherhood‘ sponsored by De Beers, and her most recent ‘Reflections on Nelson Mandela: Icon of peace’.