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How many South African artists can you name without having to use Google for assistance? It’s an unfortunate fact that not many South Africans get to know who the country’s local shining creative stars are. It’s safe to say that South African artists don’t get enough praise for their creativity. Some artists, not just in South Africa, only achieve fame and fortune for their works after they have passed on. Let’s help South African artists receive just a little more attention for what they do and how they manage to brighten our days. Today, we would like to focus on Lorraine Loots.

Meet Lorraine Loots

Who is Lorraine Loots?

If you aren’t one of the 292 000 people following Lorraine Loots on Instagram, now is a great time to show a little support for one of South Africa’s most talented and well-respected artists.  

One thing you need to know is that Lorraine Loots is not your average artist. She is an artist and miniaturist from Cape Town with an apparent zest for life and an eye for funky, thought-provoking, and fun works of art. Each of her pieces is the type of art that makes you stop and take a second look. She describes her kind of art as “selective attention to detail”, which you will fully understand once you see some of the paintings she has created.

You might have heard of her when she launched her Painting for Ants project in 2013. Since then, she has been featured by The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, CNN, Gizmodo, BuzzFeed, and The Evening Standard.

Lorraine Loots’ art career: A happy accident

What’s interesting about Lorraine Loots is that she considers her art career a happy accident. It’s not that she didn’t have an interest in art – she attended Art School at Stellenbosch University in 2010 – but she never intended to take it further as a career choice. Years later, after choosing to follow a non-art-related career path as a production manager at photoshoots, Lorraine Loots decided to work on a side project called 365 Paintings for Ants, which unexpectedly gained tremendous international interest and response. The project wasn’t meant to become famous. It was Lorraine’s way of staying in touch with her creative side by spending just 1 hour a day painting something. She describes her project as a “borderline OCD project.” As part of the project, she created a miniature painting every single day, for an entire year. As it grew in popularity, members of the public could book a specific date of the year, and the artwork she created on that day would belong to them.

What is unique about Lorraine’s art?

What makes Lorraine Loots’ artwork so unique is that every perfectly created piece is no larger than your thumbnail. That means that each painting is somewhere between 8mm and 30mm. Can you imagine creating such perfection at such a minute size? Because of this, her art is considered “paintings for ants”. The project’s success is quite obvious when you think about the intricate work that Lorraine had to do on each picture she has painted.

It was such a successful project that she went on to launch her 365 Postcards for Ants projectin 2014. The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design designated Cape the World Design Capital in 2014. Lorraine dedicated her 365 Postcards for Ants to this designation as a celebration. The postcards featured her hometown city’s native birds and exotic landscapes.

Lorraine Loots’ success

It’s quite interesting to note just how famous Lorraine Loots has become, even after having no real desire to be a professional artist. She is undoubtedly flying the South African artist banner high, especially after the launch of her 2015 project, 100 Paintings for Ants, which was similar to the first two projects except with a far more flexible schedule. At the time, Lorraine was invited to exhibit her work at leading exhibitions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Los Angeles, Chicago, and even New York. Even in 2015, Lorraine Loots was going places!

However, in 2019, Lorraine made a real name for herself in the global art world by hosting her largest exhibition. It was hosted in London and featured over 900 of her miniature paintings.

Where is Lorraine now? Even after her success, Lorraine and her husband, Mark, still reside in Cape Town.

Lorraine Loots books

One thing is for sure, a Lorraine Loots book makes for the perfect gift for a family member or loved one back in South Africa or a new colleague or friend overseas, so keep that in mind when doing a little festive shopping. Her books are featured on her website and range from approximately R680 to R3500.

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