We meet South African artist and graphic illustrator André Olwage who’s designed an exquisite stamp series of birds, rare moths and butterflies.

André Olwage is a qualified graphic designer and artist who makes small spaces memorable through a series of stamp artwork.

Raised in Rustenburg at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountain range, surrounded by the beauty of nature, he’s passionate about the outdoors and our natural environment, which one quickly realises when looking at the subjects of his artwork. His fascination, in fact, caught the attention of the Philately Department of the South African Post Office.

“I didn’t know that stamp art existed, but a very good friend of mine, after a couple of nagging sessions, suggested that I submit my artwork to the Philately Department of the Post Office. The graphic designer there saw a bird painting that I had done in watercolour and instantly contacted me to do a bird series for them,” and that is how André started creating artwork for postage stamps that reflected his talent.

The excitement for this particular project, more than being able to do more of what he loves, was the exposure, shares André when commenting “letters get posted internationally, that probably meant more than the worth of the stamp [to me] actually. …Your name actually appears on the stamp. Although it’s very small, it’s there!”

We may live in a world where speed is valued, and hand drawn artwork is seldom used, yet André believes there is still a use for the skill. “I feel there is a place for it because there are effects and things that you get manually that you cannot really achieve on a computer.”

André spared a few minutes to unpack what living better, the ethos behind what we at The Insider SA strive to encourage, means to him.

What does ‘living better’ mean to you?

“Keeping things simple. Avoiding negativity and insignificant issues.”

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

“Be an inspiration to others in whatever it is I did, said or achieved.”

Where do you go to escape and connect with yourself?

“Out into nature with my camera.”

Do you have an encouraging thought to end off on?

“Every day is a new experience to learn something new.”