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Thumbs up for Young EC Digital Artist

Kei-Ella Loewe, boasting more than 71,000 international followers on Instagram, shares her journey


Eastern Cape-raised creative Kei-Ella Loewe, 29, is soaring in the global realm of digital art. Originally from Makhanda and named after the Kei river and beyond, Loewe has succeeded in moving from canvas and stage into a booming social media arena. With an international follow- ing of more than 71,000 people on Instagram, Loewe, who is back in her home province, shared her journey. The work is intricately de- tailed. I use vibrant colours and dreamlike shapes to reimagine the female form as either del- icately vulnerable or fiercely heroic. I share a lot online about my relationship with my own cre- ativity, and that is connected to how I feel about myself, how I feel about being an artist.”

Loewe, who was educated at Diocesan School for Girls and at UCT, where she obtained her honours in theatre and per- formance, relocated to the Netherlands on the cusp of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

“During lockdown I was liv- ing in a 70m² apartment in Utrecht and I really had a blank canvas to decide what it was I wanted to do as a career, some- thing that could bring my life meaning but with financial se- curity, so I decided to learn how to be a graphic designer. I spent a few months learn- ing how the software works and realised I was wasting the opportunity to dream bigger and I thought what I would really like to do is to become an illustrator. I admired the kinds of il- lustrations on book covers and magazines that spoke to me a lot more than the idea of just laying out brochures or posters. I took a big risk and I did something that I thought would be more difficult but more ful- filling. I come from a family of artists so I was encouraged to be creative from a very young age. “I never felt like being creative was a waste of time or not a credible pursuit.”

Loewe draws on an iPad with a stylus pen on Procreate, a graphics editor app for digital painting.

“I did a bit of research and I really liked how organic the workflow with Procreate is. I thought I would be able to recreate a more organic tra- ditional visual art workflow us- ing the iPad and I saw a lot of my favourite artists online used it. I got the grasp of the soft- ware in a month or two but now I’m spending energy trying to refine my style and find my I share a lot online about my relationship with my own creativity, and that is connected to how I feel about myself, how I feel about being an artist illustrative voice. It’s all a process of explo- ration and failing, every time I do something I think is a failure, it’s just an indicator saying that is not my style.”

Loewe first went viral with short animated clips highlight- ing the impact of seismic blast- ing on whales, Coelacanths and other sea life during the global protest against Shell’s proposed seismic survey along the Wild Coast in 2021.

“I was feeling very helpless sitting far away hearing about the looming plans from Shell to seismically survey the coastline off my home in the Eastern Cape. I realised I have the tools to spread awareness on the issue from abroad. I got the information from the Save the Wild Coast What- sApp group — I thought it would be impactful if people could get to understand the scale of this sound and these creatures — they navigate through sound and if these bomb blasts go off, how dam- aging it could be. I made the animation but didn’t put my signature on the video. At that time, I had 300 followers. I’d never had anything shared that many times, thou- sands of people were sharing it via WhatsApp and it was com- pletely out of my control. Greenpeace shared the video and credited me, as did a few other eco pages. I think I gained 500 followers max because I never put my name or signature on the video. I’ll never make that mistake again.”

Find Loewe’s work on In- stagram            at            @kei_ella_             or https://keiella.art/ (https://keiella.art/)

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Source: Daily Dispatch Live 



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