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Stand firm and fiery in your beliefs, trusting that everything that is has the power to change minds and concepts – yours and the world’s as the future it’s written on. When your life plans swoop you into a path unrecognised by your inexperience; it will carry you over to where you should be, carving out the intrinsic pieces designed to be your ultimate purpose. It may take some time to find yourself in the chaos but when you eventually do, it will always make sense.

Rendani Nemakhavani has an innate talent that doesn’t shout for recognition. Instead, it draws you close to pay attention and admire its sugary murmur. She shows off and reveals her remarkable insight of her world and how peculiar life really is and yet so simple enough to live. Talent is uneducated, and it takes listening close enough to not ignore the silent deep confessions of the heart to know what’s true. She eavesdrops on all her senses and waits to be inspired and then explores her creative senses, treading carefully in its revelations.

I spent P-hive Minutes with Rendani Nemakhavani feeling encouraged to embrace the future and its prospects by living in the present and taking life experiences as they come.

How would you describe your childhood? Were you always attracted to the arts?

My childhood was great but it had its awkward moments as most childhoods do –or so I think. I can’t call my passion for illustrating an as attraction to the arts, it’s how I’ve always been. I’ve always been creative. My whole being has been art. This is my purpose and I’ve been chosen to do this, I wouldn’t have any other way.

Rewind back to how you were introduced to taking up a career as an illustrator and graphic designer. Has it always been part of the plan?

I didn't have clarity as to what graphic design was or that it existed. I didn’t know I could do this for the rest of my life. In my last year of high school, I did research on careers I could do and be part of the creative industries. I enrolled at the University of Johannesburg for the Graphic Design course and the way graphic design was explained seemed simple enough but I wasn't very good at drawing. I avoided participating in any free-hand drawing classes but to my disappointment, that’s exactly what happened. I got through it and in my final year, I found my style. There wasn't a grand plan; I just didn't want to end up in a 9 to 5 job that would force me to have a solid routine. I'm terrible at following a routine.

Product design is also one of your interests, such as furniture and textile designing. How are those plans coming along?

Yes, product design is what I’d like to focus on in the near future. Those plans are under wraps right now so I can’t say much about them. Keep an ear to the ground.

What’s the idea behind ‘JoburgMyHomeburg’? What sparked it and what was your initial aim and the direction you wanted to take with it?

The idea behind ‘JoburgMyHomeburg’ is my love for the city. It's my personal narrative of how I move around and interact with people and the activities within it. Being a taxi commuter sparked the idea. I started taking photos on my iPod and the rest was magic really. I didn’t have a particular direction when I started working on the idea because I felt as though if I had planned everything in detail, I would only be limiting myself. So I allowed the idea to flow when everything works together.

You were part of a successful collaboration with other talented artists in the ‘30 Days and a City’ exhibition in 2014; what did you take away from the experience and do you plan on working on more collaborations in the near future?

As the initiator and curator of 30 Days and a City, the project was an enormous learning curve for me and the artists that were part of it. We had two exhibitions; the first was launched online in 2014 and thereafter we collaborated with Studio X Johannesburg and had a tangible exhibition where all the featured artists showcased their work. The results were amazing! All the work submitted by the participants was better than what I had expected it to be. This is definitely a project that will continue in the future.

What was most interesting about ‘30 Days and a City’?

Everything about it was exciting! This was a dream coming to fruition and I was doing what I love most. Even with all the stress, preparations and admin that had to be done, it was fulfilling. Learning from first-hand experience is always worthwhile.

How do you manage to remain level-headed and focused when you work? Do you ever feel pressured to always produce great artwork?

I don't allow myself to succumb to the pressures of the world. I know what I want and how I want it done, so I always work at my own pace. It's the only way that I can get things done and the way they should be done. The only pressure I feel is the pressure that I put on myself. I always aspire to create a better version of my previous creations and of myself.

How do you deal with the attention you’ve been receiving? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by it?

It can get overwhelming because I tend to be withdrawn. My interactions are somewhat selective and maybe it's an energy thing – but I do enjoy meeting new people. I may come across as strange at first encounter and I'll admit to being socially awkward at times. I try by all means to not let the attention get to my head but I do enjoy it, I feel appreciated.

Outside of your work as an illustrator and graphic designer; what else are you involved in? How does it contribute to your success?

I'm involved in my life and everything I’m doing! I don't always get to do the things that I want to do that much anymore; like hangout and spend time with my family. So whenever I can get the chance, I get to it. These are the people who created a part of who I am and witnessing their happiness contributes immensely to my success.

What do you find most challenging about being an illustrator? How do you work through the difficulties?

When I create the work, there’s nothing particularly challenging in getting the work out and finding the appropriate platforms to present the finished work. Inventing various methods to produce work that isn't repetitive is what I find to be a challenge, but I work through it. I continue exploring myself and the environments I find myself in because I always aspire to create work that carries a whiff of novelty.

Are there any creatives you’d like to work with on collaborations? What projects would you like to work on?

I could name them all, I really would but there are so many people I’d like work with. I have this dream that needs fulfilling and it involves exploring Africa in order for it to happen. I want to work with amazing African artists because there’s so much talent here and there’s still so much to do and create within the industry. I’d also love to collaborate with other various artists outside of Africa; brands that are especially depend on sub-cultures to stay relevant.

How do you think you’re changing people’s minds and concepts about life experiences through your work? What do you want to contribute to the arts?

I think that the way that I see the world assists in contributing to conversations about the parts of life that some people – and by some people I mean elite people – don't get to see. I also don't think of it as a matter of changing people’s minds because it's more of me building an awareness of what’s going on. The world isn't black and white because there‘s always activity in the grey areas and that's what I'm bringing into the light. I am contributing real life events to the arts. I'm contributing myself to the arts.

Was there ever a time when you wanted to quit your work and pursue another career? What changed your mind otherwise?

Yes of course. I sat down and weighed out the advantages and disadvantages of what I wanted to do versus what I was able to do at that moment. In the position I was in; a vile voice would tend to sneak up on me and make me doubt myself. But because I know that I can't spend the rest of my life building someone else's dream, I can't give up on the reality of my own. Giving up is never an option because I come from a clan of hard workers and maximum achievers. I couldn't be the one who breaks the chain.

Apart from being an illustrator; what other career prospects would you like to pursue?

I'm working towards being a lecturer. I really want to teach design and illustration. There's so much I wish I had been introduced to when I was in varsity that I only came across after I graduated. I'm also going into product designing, as I believe in evolving in my craft. There’s no staggering for me from here onwards. #spiritualawakening #life #selfless #now #presence 

As an illustrator and graphic designer, what is art to you?

Art is life. As long as something is created, it becomes art. It may not always be pretty to look at, but it does exist.When you are encouraged to be what you’ve always wanted to become, you take on a refreshing definition of being your true self. This ownership is life-changing and worthwhile and no one can take it from you. Do what you’ve always looked forward to experiencing, holding nothing back from all possibilities. You are who you are for a reason; denying your purpose will only kill your spirit and that helps no one. Embrace yourself and it’ll be easy to accept and love everything that is a part of you.

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