Snapshot! Abi Heyneke

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by Tara Swiger

Snapshot! Abi Heyneke


Abi Heyneke is an Illustrator, currently living South of the river (Thames that is).  She is British born and bred, but if you detect an accent it's because she spent 4 years living and studying in Cape Town. She believes communication is about much more than words and nature has built us to read and interpret images with effortless speed.  She loves Illustration because it taps into this innate skill and also provides the gateway to seeing things in new ways.  Find out more about Abi here.


What is your most prized creation—the coolest thing you've ever crafted, with your own nimble hands?


At the moment it's probably an illustration I did that was inspired by "Une Charogne" (A Carcass), by Charles Baudelaire.  I found the poem fascinating because it is quite compelling and repulsive at the same time.  Once inspiration hit (and after a few traumatic google image searches) it was pretty obvious to me where I was headed with the picture. 

It seems to be one of my more popular pieces of work, but maybe it's because it has that car crash factor; you just can't look away.


What's the worst piece of business advice you've ever been given?

It made me laugh out loud when I read that "If you want to go freelance, don't just quit your day job".  It's not necessarily bad advice, it's just that I had already done the opposite and quit my shop job to be an Illustrator.  I had saved up and was practical about how long it might take to earn a living, so it didn't seem like a gamble to me.

All advice is well intentioned, but it doesn't mean you have to follow it all.  Just pay attention to the gold dust that is relevant to you.


What was the biggest entrepreneurial epiphany of your career?


Maybe when I realised that if you want to make a living out of something, you have to just do it, practice, get good, keep going.  There's always a demand for people who are good at what they do.  (I like to think the best epiphanies are yet to come though.)


Give us your Top 3 indie designers to watch.


The Vamoose - I love jewellery so much, and The Vamoose make unique and super-wearable pieces for amazing prices.  The shop is accompanied by a fantastically inspiring blog.


Missi Baba - Missi Baba makes luxury leather accessories in Cape Town. I just love the Wild West influence.  Also available through Etsy.


Unto This Last   - London designed and built plywood furniture with a lean mean production philosophy.  They believe in making the most of innovative digital tools in a small workshop setting.  Beautiful designs and no packaging!


If you could offer one snippet of sage wisdom to aspiring designers, crafters & artisans, what would it be?


I think it's crucial to balance your time between making more of what sells and is popular, and developing new ideas.  For creatives, personal development is a sound investment.  When you're self employed no one is going to pay you for drawing in your sketchbook, but innovation is at the heart of what we do and it pays off in the end!


Hang out with Abi on Twitter.


Photo Credit :: Abi Heyneke