Tony Gum on nourishing and celebrating your personal art

Still an undergraduate, Tony Gum calls herself an “artist in learning” and talks about how she is still learning to celebrate and understand her art.

Cape Town-based artist and it girl Tony Gum, still an undergraduate in film studies at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), confesses to the Design Indaba Conference 2016 audience that she is still learning to understand her own art.

Candid and composed, she tells the story of how she started her blog as a 15 year old with no access to trendy clothes or expensive camera equipment, but with a strong desire to be part of the creative world she exploring on the internet.  

In her first year at CPUT Gum took a fateful selfie with a crate of Coca Cola bottles on her head. She showed it to her lecturer, who showed it to Christopher Moller, a local gallery owner. This selfie turned into Gum's well known Black Coca series. Her career as an artist has since led to nominations, awards and shows in New York.

“Personally I couldn’t accept the title of artist. Mainly because I knew how serious it was and how serious it still is. I was rather more comfortable with the title ‘creative’,” says Gum.

I was scared of celebrating myself. I did not want to be perceived as self-centred, although it is quite ironic since I take selfies as my art.

Self-worth is an issue we deal with everyday, the trick – according to Gum – is to discover your own creative outlet. “Discover it, understand it and finally accept it.”

“I still do believe that I am an artist in learning and I am still at that understanding phase. “

Watch the Interview with Tony Gum