What industry do you work in?
I am a visual artist.
Tell our audience a little about your background: What’s your heritage, where did you grow up, where do you live now and what you do for work?
I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. I moved to London in 2004 and I have resided here ever since. I am currently in my second and final year of my MA in painting at the Royal College of Art. I am a practicing artist, I also make hand painted false/fake nails.
What was your biggest motivation for your career choice?
I chose to become a visual artist because art is something that has always been with me, from a young age. I was naturally drawn to colours and patterns I observed in the traditional attire in my cultural background.
I loved looking at the illustrations inside story books I would read and I was generally drawn to anything that was colourful. From early on I really enjoyed drawing and painting and I knew that this was a career path I would pursue as an adult.
If you could be anything — besides being an artist — what would you be?
I would probably be a tattoo artist, a nail technician, or even a cake decorator. It’s really hard to pick one. Pretty much everything that I would pick as a second choice would involve art and design in some aspect.
What advice would you give to yourself as a 16-year-old?
I would tell my 16-year-old self not to be so doubtful and scared. I would encourage myself to fully go for what I want and not let negative opinions deter me from my goals.
If you had the power to change one thing in the world what would it be and why?
I would end all suffering. Be it poverty, violence against women and children, illness... It all just has to go.
What advice would you give a girl aspiring to be an artist?
As cliché as this is going to sound, I would tell her it’s going to be a long and hard obstacle course but no matter what, she should hold on to her passion and never give up because you only live once so you have to make it count. I believe that everything you plant in the universe will come to fruition.
Who is an Africa creative you look up to, and why?
I am drawn to Nigerian born, California-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby because she is very relatable for me. She is a woman, she has a dual identity (Nigerian, American) and she draws inspiration from political and personal references, much like myself. I really look up to her and she gives me hope, as a black woman, that you can make it in the visual arts industry.
What has been the best advice you've ever received?
My mother always gives me some of the best advice. Whenever I am in doubt she always reminds me to think positive and work hard and keep pushing on because nothing good comes easy.
Where do you see your work in 10 years?
I see my work occupying galleries, museums, and art collections. I also hope to expand my practice into other creative realms.
Who would your dream collaboration be with, and why?
I think my dream collaboration would have to be with a fashion designer — someone like Lisa Folawiyo. I really admire the prints and patterns in her unique designs and I have always wondered what it would be like to translate what I do with my art to fashion.
What’s your biggest fear?
One of my biggest fears has to be public speaking. Being that I am naturally a shy person I absolutely hate it. My anxiety gets the best of me, and since [public speaking] is a requirement in my field, I am determined to overcome it.
What's the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
The craziest thing I think I have done was probably printing and proof-reading my dissertation two hours before the deadline!
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I like going out to parties, eating out, watching documentaries, doing nails, baking, listening to music, reading, experiencing new things — new cultures — and just relaxing.
What brings you happiness?
Some of the little things in life, like a good meal, good company, a sentimental gift and money in my account lol!
How do you overcome self-doubt?
It is something I battle almost every day. But I’m thankful to have family and friends who always encourage me and I just have to keep reminding myself to believe in me because, if I don’t, how will somebody else?
What is the biggest lesson you've had to learn in your career?
The biggest lesson to date for me is to always trust my gut instinct and to not get caught up in what I think people want to see from me but actually do what I feel is right because you can never go wrong with something you firmly believe in.
What is your biggest strength?
I think my biggest strength is my patience. A lot of people tell me how patient I am and I think patience is a very important trait to have in the creative industry because things don’t happen overnight and you have to face 10 no’s before you get a yes.
Tell us about the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from failure?
Failure suck and it hurts in the moment but 10 months down the line I can look back and thank God for that lesson because, I would know how to better deal with the failed situation if I had to face it a second time.
What is your favourite piece of art and why?
One of my favourite art movements is surrealism and my favourite piece would have to be What the water gave me by Frida Kahlo. I was about 11 or 12 years old when I first saw it and it just blew me away. I was not only impressed by her use of colour and detail but also by the narrative behind it. The fact that she was able to transform her trauma into these beautiful works of art is really inspiring.
Where can our audience purchase or find out more about your work?
You can find out more about me and my work on my website at www.lindokhandela.com I am also on social media, you can follow me on Instagram @khandelaart.