Theme: Simply Beautiful

Capetonian Jody Paulsen is a boundary-pushing example of artistry in an environment where fluidity and adaptability are creative superpowers. The Michaelis graduate has explored everything from fashion to magazine creative direction, and his art, represented by SMAC Gallery, has been far-removed from traditional forms of painting or drawing. Paulsen’s signature felt collages in striking, brightly-coloured hues, with bold slogans, form part of important museum shows and collections.

Appreciating the time lockdown has given him to take stock of his medium, the artist has been exploring materials beyond felt, researching and experimenting with different cottons, dying them himself. “I’ve been testing fabrics and new techniques, including sewing,” he says. “I love fuzzy felt but the colours are very dense and synthetic, and spoke to the naïve pop-culture world I was dealing with in my 20s. Over time, the palette became too repetitive, so now I get to figure out some colours for myself.”

His dynamic use of colour and iconography caught the attention of British fashion designer Neil Barrett, who last year invited Paulsen for a month-long residency, which culminated in the South African designing prints for Barrett’s garments, and having the entire runway and walls for the launch fashion show plastered in Paulsen’s art. “It was like stepping into my artwork,” he says.

Paulsen has also created prints for his collaborative fashion brand AKJP, with friend Keith Henning, and last year directed a feature on art in Cape Town for Icon magazine.  “I always imagined working in more places than one, working in teams and reimagining my process in somebody else’s world.”

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.