ARNO CARSTENS AND LOCAL ARTISTS SHAPE NEW WORK FROM PATERNOSTER
For local artists such as Arno Carstens, South Africa’s national lockdown and rich landscapes such as Paternoster have provided ample inspiration for artistic work both textile and musical.
For the arts and tourism industry, our national lockdown has given many a time to reflect; and for those at the forefront of South Africa’s music and art scene, finding new inspiration has often come hand-in-hand with exploring the vast, beautiful spaces our country has to offer.
For singer-songwriter Arno Carstens, the lockdown has presented an opportunity to both pursue his artistic career in the scenic expanse of Paternoster, and spend more time with his family.
Speaking on their experience, Arno’s wife, Melanie Carstens, explains that “We’re a very close-knit family, and I think that’s because we don’t have ‘regular’ jobs; so we’re at home a lot.”
“Of course now during the lockdown, it’s been better for me in a weird sort of way, because for the first time we’re spending a lot of time together as a family while we’re not on tour”, Arno adds.
Paternoster itself is a dramatic backdrop; a stormy coast along the Western Cape, the small village offers itself not only to local tourism – serving up some of the finest restaurants in the country – but has further become home to the arts.
Local artist and founder of the Stone Fish Studio, Dianne Heesom-Green, remarks that Paternoster has in recent years become the start of a new tourist route in the country.
“I’ve been an artist for 20 years… Paternoster is traditionally a fishing village, but over the years fishing has declined and tourism has taken its place, and art is playing a big part in tourism and bringing people to Paternoster.
“Paternoster is the beginning of the West Coast Art Route; people can travel up the West Coast and visit artists who live and work here”, Dianne says.
During the lockdown, Arno has used his time to shape his artistic career and has collaborated with fine artist Lionel Smith.
“We actually met in Greenmarket Square many, many years ago”, says Lionel – to which Arno quickly adds, “I knew that guy was going to go places!”
“We actually started collaborating on the idea of doing collages, and that went into painting… I think you’re bound to inspire each other, or influence each other at least”, says Lionel.
For Arno, the lockdown has presented a challenge to find a new artistic centre.
“I’ve been busy… I’ve written a lot more, we’ve been busy with the (Springbok) Nude Girls, we’ve been making videos…
“Painting is a lot like songwriting”, Arno explains. “For example, I like to write sad or really proactive lyrics but maybe with a happy melody; painting is the same for me, I like painting depressing situations or storytelling, but then you use beautiful colours – I find the juxtapositioning kind of tickling”.
Speaking on his partnership with Lionel, Arno adds that “We’ve got the drive to create beautiful things wherever we go, and we see beauty in everything… it is a very joyful experience being like that.”
For Arno, Lionel, and local artists such as Dianne, the inspiration of both the lockdown and the stillness of South African landscapes has offered rich material to produce novel art into the future.
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57 St Augustine Rd, Paternoster, South Africa
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Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Tietiesbaai, South Africa