Letters to Lotte – mixed media on Hahnemeule Bamboo 285gm – 905mm x 635mm – framed

A Vacant Passage opens this weekend, so we caught up with artist Paul Senyol to talk to him about it…

Tell us about A Vacant Passage, your exhibition this weekend with Andrzej Urbanski.
It is a two person show, opening on Saturday at Salon91 Contemporary Art Collection. Andrzej and I met about a year and a half ago for the first time. We have since become close friends and, during this time, have discovered many similarities in our approach to work and life, as well as our past. The exhibition is an exploration along these themes.

How did you guys meet? What made you decide to work on an exhibition and collaborate on some work together?
I heard that Andrzej was at /A WORD OF ART AIR (Artist In Residence) programme, and one day I passed by him while cycling down the street. At the time he was busy painting a wall. I waved, shouted “nice wall” and carried on riding. A few days later we met again while walking down the street. We exchanged numbers, and when AJ returned a few months later, we started to hang out a bit more. We both enjoy each others’ work, and we had an idea to do some collaborative walls and art pieces. Monique at Salon91 and myself were planning exhibitions and shows for myself in January this year, and we decided to do a two person show in October. I suggested AJ as the other artist whom I most wanted to work with.

Charlotte – mixed media on Hahnemeule Bamboo 285gm – 930mm x 795mm – framed

What do you think influences your personal style to be more abstract than ‘straight forward’, if I can say that?
I like to play with line and colour, and create things that are a bit more allusive and are able to draw a viewer in, as well as engage with a person as they start to make sense of a piece and interpret it for themselves. I believe that in painting there needs to be a fair bit of interpretation allowed on the viewers behalf. I like to engage with the viewer’s imagination.

The press release for the exhibition mentioned that “To the artists, Germany is a vacant place, Poland is a vacant place, and some day, South Africa too might become a vacant place.” What is a ‘vacant’ place?
Through our time researching and creating works for the exhibition, we came across so many old photos of places, people and things that no longer exist but, if you showed one of these photos to my Dad for instance, it would bring back a memory of something that perhaps no longer exists. As people, we travel to and from places, leave things behind, take things with us, make friends etc., but at the end of the day, we cannot take a place with us. In essence, the place becomes vacant when we leave, but it remains in our minds and in our hearts. Germany and Poland became vacant for our families because, for various reasons, they were forced to move. It has been fascinating to me exploring these places via photos, letters and diaries from my grandparents.

Pretoria Castle – mixed media on Hahnemeule Bamboo 285gm – 485mm x 460mm – framed

What made you decide to integrate computer software and technologies into the exhibition? How has it been integrated?
A friend of Monique’s, Johan, approached us with this concept of showing work in a new way, via digital means. What excited AJ and myself was that it would allow us to show work in a physical space, but bring the viewer into contact with all the history and source we had used in a non-tangible digital space. We are now able to elaborate on these ‘vacant passages’ through which our families and ourselves have travelled.

What do you hope that people get out of viewing the exhibition?
I hope people are inspired by the works we have created, and that they realise that each day they have the opportunity to continue writing a history story of their own; that through the exhibition they realise the importance of friendships and family. These archived photos, letters and documents from my grandparents are fascinating for their history, but also how they shape my identity and sense of place in this world. We all leave a legacy of some form, and I hope that people are inspired to leave behind a positive trace of themselves as they travel through their lifetime.

What does the future have in store for Paul Senyol?
A few more art shows locally this year and a short residency in Germany halfway through 2014. After the opening on Saturday I would like to take a few days off to plot some ideas for upcoming shows and projects.

Any last words?
The show opens on Saturday at 11h00. We will have some sweet ice cream, as well as be making a braai. Come on down and say hi, hang out, and enjoy the opening with us.

A Vacant Passage Invite from Monique du Preez on Vimeo.


#whileyouwerehustling is an exhibition by Bryan Little and Conn Bertish. These are some photos by Lúcia Pinto of the opening night.

Exploring themes of evolution, gentrification, obsessive quests, misfits and outsiders. A process orientated body of work that seeks to unravel notions of progress. Where do we take our guidance from, and where are we going?

The exhibition opened on Thursday 18 July, and is currently showing at /A WORD OF ART gallery in the Woodstock Exchange, Cape Town.

To find out more, visit the Facebook event here:


Abstract Stories

Last night was the opening of “Abstract Stories”, the latest art exhibition at A Word of Art in Cape Town. The exhibition features: Paul Senyol (CT), Black Koki (CT), Ello (CT), Freddy Sam (CT), AEC Interesni Kazki (Ukraine), Remed (Madrid), 108 (Italy), Ever (Beunos Aires), Andrzej Urbanski (Berlin), Overunder (Reno, Nevada), Joao Lelo (Brazil), Ree Treweek (CT), Jaz (Beunos Aires), Linsey Levendall (Canada), Lxone (France), and Jean de Wet (CT). The exhibition runs from 30 May to 14 July. We went to check it out, and were super impressed with the work on display. If you can get down to the Woodstock Exchange, it is well worth your time to spend an hour or two browsing the gallery.

“Abstract stories is a collaborative exhibition by renowned local and international artists. Each artist has a story to tell and gives an abstract depiction of life as seen through his eyes. The exhibition explores each artist’s individual creative expression and style.”

Abstract Stories

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Click on the image below to see the event on Facebook:


RVCA ANP artists Paul Senyol and Wesley van Eeden have a new exhibition up at A Word of Art gallery in the Woodstock Industrial Centre in Cape Town. The show will be running until the 25th May which features 9 new works from both artists as well as a limited edition Shirt, Print and zine supported by RVCA. Inside the zine is a one on one interview between the artists who chat about the exhibition, skateboarding and their creative process. Today we share Paul’s interview in the zine and we’ll feature Wesley’s next week.


1. Who is Paul Senyol and why are you an artist?

Paul Senyol was born on 25 October 1980; I have been drawing since I was first given a pencil. Never really gave it much thought to become an artist full-time, until my mid-twenties. There was a definite day that I decided to become a painter, but even before that I was intrigued by process, building things, experimenting, making fires, beauty and adventure. In a way I explore those primarily through the medium of painting, or whatever else is at hand to execute an idea. I really enjoy making beautiful things.


2. Looking at your work that you did from a young age, I can see how you have evolved, yet I can still see your style in it. Is there any direct influence to your aesthetic and style that you have created for yourself?

Within my work, a lot of the time aesthetic drives me, how something looks and feels, shapes, colour, form, lines, and emotion are all very important to me. When I first started to recognise that I do actually like to draw and paint, my works were very much only line based, simple one-colour drawings. Then I discovered paint (without brushes), I could do more things now that I had color. Then came brushes, then I started to combine the pens, pencils and paints, and that is where I really started to enjoy myself, because each medium has a specific feel and texture, and so as I combine mediums and layers, I go on a bit of an adventure with colour and shape and form and line weight, etc. So in a way, as I am working on new paintings, I like to consider what I have learnt as a painter, but to still explore and push myself to create an artwork that was better than the previous one. I am constantly refining, and redefining my pre-process, process and final outcome of an artwork. I do also like to break out of my traditional process and do something a little different, usually from something small that I found attractive within a previous work. From spending time with you in Finland, you will remember that for the first month I didn’t even paint, I wanted to go into the studio and discover something fresh, so I spent a lot of time in the library, researching artists and Designers and people from the area, immersing myself in the culture, taking long bike rides and immersing myself in the landscape, discovering. Sometimes I would just trace and trace and trace, draw, draw, draw, and through that I started to discover new processes, approaches and avenues within my work. For that first month I worked almost exclusively with black acrylic paint, pencils, trace paper and white folio. Experimentation and exploration are key to my work.


3. What drives you to continue working at such a prolific rate? Do you have a manifesto or a message that you trying to get out?

I wouldn’t say that I have some manifesto or message that I am pushing, but I do know that I feel stale and stagnant if I am not pursuing something creative. Even if it means taking a break from painting for a week and exploring being creative on a surfboard, skateboard, bicycle, or going to see other art shows, or browsing the local Woodstock gang Graffiti scrawls. I am starting to realise that God put something in me that causes me to create and to be drawn to creativity and beautiful things, and I just can’t escape that. It is who I am in a way. Although it doesn’t define me, it is very much a natural part of who I am as a person. So it finds its way out of me in daily life in some way. Sometimes it’s just preparing a nice meal.. the flavours, colors, and presentation.


4. What does Transformative bring to your attention, and how have you interpreted the title for this 2 person show?

Our society and life is in a constant state of transformation, life itself is naturally transformative. In my approach to the exhibition, and the works, I took a closer look at the fabric of my everyday life, and more so to those around me. I looked at walls, people, streets, trash, trees, and birds and I looked around for interesting ways to convey this feeling of transformation in and around Woodstock. I tried to become an observer, but that can only take place for a short time until you start to become involved and a part of the transformation process. One day I picked up a small notebook, full of children’s drawings, notes and scrawls, most of the work references this small book at some point. Having a studio in Woodstock, and spending a lot of time there, I started to realise that a lot of what I am seeing and experiencing won’t really exist in the next 5 years. People will move out and onward, new people will come and stay. Lives will change. Kids will grow up. Also that there were many, many people who came before me, and will still come after me. It fascinates me to think that a few blocks from our studio is beach road, and that once upon a time you could walk a few minutes and dip your feet in the ocean. In a way I wish that was still true.
My favourite works for the show are ‘the butcher’, ‘the baker’ and ‘the candlestick maker’. In these works I try to convey the transience of local producers and craftsmen. All around Woodstock you see so much decay and poverty and people in really bad situations, but there are glimpses of hope and promise. I was inspired by the following text:

Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.


5. Tell us something about Wesley van Eeden?

Wesley van Eeden is a thoughtful and kind-hearted man, gentle and patient. A very creative individual. Taller than me. Married. A dad. A thinker. One of my favourite collaborators. A true friend who knows that love and sacrifice are the same thing.