22 - Schalk van der Merve: Courage wears a velvet dress

December 3rd 2018

Schalk Willem Jacobus Van Der Merwe is as (white) South African as you can get. By name only. Born and raised in Bellville, Cape Town in the 70’s, he ironically credits Apartheid, the National Party and the N.G. Kerk as his greatest influences. He believes you don’t have to be a struggling artist to be a good artist. He describes his work as raw, honest, emotional and visceral, and without bullshit. From a velvet dress-wearing musician, turned advertising mogul, turned full-time artist, (with enough Instagram followers to fill a rugby stadium), he shares insight into how his art has made it onto the global stage.

Schalk Van De Merwe chose happiness over job security, and leapt from the advertising industry into being a full-time artist. However, he doesn’t discredit the boardroom lessons he learnt along the way, knowing that the way we interact with art in modern times is constantly evolving, and that building a brand is crucial for success.

On being a Universalist: I’m Schalk, I’m on a rock and I’m flying through space at the moment. If I die and there is a heaven, I guess I am going to be very embarrassed.