TEENAGE ARTIST CLAYDEN BOTES TURNS HIS AUTISM INTO FANTASTIC WORKS OF ART
Autistic artist Clayden Botes turns his wonder-world into a blossoming business with the support of Capitec.
Kalk Bay and colourful self-expression have long gone hand in hand. A new star of this creative community is the fourteen year old, self-taught artist Clayden Botes whose work has launched a thriving business and given insight into what it is to live with autism.
Clayden’s love for drawing started from a very young age as a coping mechanism that helped him focus during class. It has since grown from drawing pop culture characters to his own style of doodling where he mashes up characters.
He makes use of traditional art supplies and digital tools and effectively blends the two different mediums in his stand-out art pieces. He follows a very intuitive and organic creative process that is heavily influenced by colour, his mood and the environment in which he finds himself.
His mom, Antoinette Botes, has always been his biggest fan and has consistently encouraged Clayden to focus on the things he can do, rather than the things he can’t. This has been a big source of reinforcement for the young artist who’s now started his own business.
Claydens Designs was born out of lockdown after Clayden’s mom lost her job, and extends to clothing, towels, shoes and bed linen that have his popping designs printed onto it. While still in its start-up phase, the range has garnered attention from customers both locally and internationally.
And it’s all thanks to Antoinette sharing his art on Facebook 18 months ago. With each post, the commercial potential of his work became clear and interest in Clayden’s creations started to grow. Today, she’s managing Clayden’s fully-fledged home enterprise.
“The best thing about working from home is being able to spend time with Clayden and being able to attend to his needs,” says Antoinette.
She adds, “With the business, Capitec has helped me a lot because I can receive payments online, and can make payments to my suppliers online. It really helps a lot to work from home, have the app and have internet banking because I can literally do everything remotely – send money, receive money, pay people and get paid.”
Antoinette is a longstanding client who’s been banking with Capitec, SA’s best digital bank, for over 10 years, and shares that one of her favourite features is being able to link her personal and business accounts, as this enables her to transfer funds between the two within seconds.
We asked the mom what drives her. “It’s the vision I have for Clayden to be successful one day. To have his own brand, to be self-sufficient, to maybe one day employ people and help other kids and their moms to create work opportunities.”
Clayden expresses himself so well that the public identifies with his work immediately. Exhibiting at a gallery like Ink Box, which happens to be one of his favourite hangout spots, is just a matter of time.
“As an autistic child, Clayden has already achieved so much in life. Just by allowing him to live out his dream, his creativity and to do what makes him feel good and important is a good thing for him. It’s important that autistic children and their parents understand that autism isn’t a sentence, it’s just a diagnosis,” explains Antoinette.
“I’m really grateful that I’m able to have this opportunity of becoming an artist, to express myself through my art and to support people with autism, just like me – that’s what I’m excited for in the future and what I’m really grateful for,” says Clayden.
Life with Clayden’s condition is widely known as ‘living on the spectrum’ due to the sheer range of challenges associated with it. Drawing inspiration from the quirks and character of his home town, he is bringing a new meaning to that spectrum – as one of infinite colour, depth, insight, fun, humanity and humour. If Capitec can play any part in making that happen, it’s a source of great pride.