Explore and discover decorating freedom for your office or home. If you can think it, the team from Smart Art will print it. We caught up with owner and founder Theresa van Wyk who shared some insight into this growing creative brand in South Africa.
Tell us your background and how you started in the creative industry?
Born in the Karoo and educated at a farm school that consisted of a total of 10 pupils, I guess I’ve always had a desire to do something more exciting with my life – to make a dash for the big city lights and inner city living.
My first taste of the big life was an eight-year stretch that I spent in London, working in the bland, grey corporate world. Perhaps this was my first inspiration for more colour in my life – London can be drab and depressing to anyone born in this beautiful rainbow nation of ours.
I returned home to South Africa at a time when the whole country seemed to be undergoing ‘decor revolution’. Home owners now had access to a new and interesting communication medium known as “the Internet”, which opened up a brand new world of design previously unseen here. There was a shift in trends for something that offered more impact, more style, more colour and I immediately saw a niche in the market for individuality and creative freedom, specifically on this burgeoning home front.
I set up studio in my garage, trained myself on computer design programs and got used to the idea of working for myself. In hindsight I must confess that working for myself has proven to be much harder than I originally thought, as I often had to work through the night, but the rewards have made it all worthwhile. Not only do I love what I do, I am lucky enough to be able to express my creativity. And it hasn’t stopped there. I continue to improve my skills, searching for new ideas and exploring the various options in other avenues that could be developed using the latest digital technology for creating unique and inspiring graphics and innovative products for interiors.
What is the history of Smart Art?
Smart Art has been in business for over 16 years now. The idea behind Smart Art is a belief in personal freedom and individuality. Hence our slogan, Think it. We’ll Print it.
I wanted to be able to give people the freedom to choose exactly what they wanted in their homes and business. In other words: To let them create their own space with products that are custom made from our design collections or recreated from original works supplied by clients.
What inspires you?
To be exact, Travelling.
Being in other countries and different cities for sure. I find most of my inspiration through sense and excitement. As nice as pretty pictures are to look at, nothing compares to life and experiences.
Is there a deeper meaning to your brand name, Smart Art?
It’s a literal translation. Being Smart with Art. We create the perfect space for everyone to admire. Desire to strive harder and create a one-of-a-kind service for our clients.
Theresa – The Owner and Founder
Belinda – The Magic Maker / The Hand of the King
Tevin – Our quirky design guru
Stephanie – Smart Art’s graphic expert
Any exciting projects or collaborations you are involved in?
We have extremely exciting news coming soon. We’ve been busy!
Smart Art Kids will be launched soon but Ssssshhhh #Watchthisspace.
Smart Corporate Gifts is up and running and certainly kicking off with a bang. Check out the link on our website. We offer a wide range of high-end corporate branded gifting and displays perfect for any event.
You have a vast portfolio. What are you most proud of?
The small differences we make. Every delighted client is what we are most proud of. We’re proud of the relationships we’ve built over the years with suppliers, traders, and clients. We’re just so proud to be Smart Art.
Do you have any new exciting pieces that you have recently launched or anything in the pipeline?
Always! It’s never really ending. You always need to reinvent the wheel and stay on top of your industry.
We have recently launched our Eco-Friendly cotton seamless wallpaper which is brilliant in high traffic areas. UV printed so it doesn’t fade and the best part… You can clean it 😉 Let’s not turn our Q&A into a sales pitch but if you want to know more, you know where to find us.
The perfect place in your home to indulge?
My studio with my pooches, paint brushes and Pinotage! The freedom to create is something that never goes away, even after you’ve made a career out of it. I find tranquillity in my painting and inspiration in my wine.
I know very few of us are travelling right now but if you could where would you go?
Portugal is the next stop on my agenda followed by barge hopping in through the South of France.
What are your current favourite restaurants/shops?
Take me to any shoe shop and I’ll be happy. I love the Social Table in Obs one of my favourite restaurant. We always meet so many interesting new people.
What’s your personal motto?
Keep it simple but make it count.
A place you visited to unwind in Africa?
Botswana, the endless back roads and windy gravel paths… Open air where my soul breathes.