Yvette Hess about page image

"Hello, I'm Yvette and I've been an artist all my life. I just never realized it. I am grateful for all the roles and spaces I have occupied on my journey- including the ones that were uncomfortable, to finding myself, accepting myself and learn how to trust myself. Here, you'll find the artworks, or writing, I've made within my cycles of overwhelming emotions. But there's more." 

There's always more. 

Hi, my name is Yvette and I'm an artist. And that is all I want to be, for now. 

I have lived a full life. Even with my official diagnoses Bipolar disorder and severe anxiety, which has taken a huge toll on my life for many years, I have strived to do more, be more. Most of that doing and being, though, while well-intentioned, didn't include making art or being creative, which lead to me feeling starved. This about page includes a list of things I've done outside of art-making. I wanted to provide some background to the life I lived (and felt I had to live), the things I tried to do to help others and how I came to start painting in the first place in 2015.

My art practice was ignited in my adult years after becoming a mother for the third time. During one of my hospitalizations for Depression and mixed episodes of psychosis and Mania, my therapist suggested I attend an art class upon discharge. She said that I needed to create time and space for myself.

I attended one class and experienced strange physical sensations- my body alive, heart racing and steaming up my glasses. I could feel my skin. I jumped into it, my suit. I was there- I was in a moment. I experience Dissociation often- most of my life has felt like I was in a movie, a trance. So, mothering while under this spell, with busy boys-  a stay-at-home mother, was suffocating.

Fast forward a few years, I’ve completed more projects, made and sold more artworks than I could keep track of (thank goodness for Accountants and documenting everything on Instagram). I have initiated incredible collaborations like Abstract Expressions and Not Another Collective (an initiative powered by young creatives aiming to disrupt the way we do art, business and the space between these two worlds).

Interesting Facts About Me

  • My story has been told by the Cape Times, Cape Argus, Heart FM, The South African Depression and Anxiety Group, Beautiful News SA and Mercedes Benz SA and Klop on kykNET, the International Bipolar Foundation, BP Hope Magazine
  • I’m an AVA Gallery Art Reach Alumni 2018 and Society6 Artist.
  • I attended art school and majored in Fine Art for 1 year
  • Among my notable work is initiating the first West Coast Art Fair in 2016, printing a limited edition collection of affirmation journals in 2018, exhibiting at the #ThincAfrica Hospitality conference at the Westin, Gallery MOMO in Cape Town (both group exhibitions with Not Another Collective) and the #Thatswhatshesaid female artist exhibition with other select female artists in 2019.
  • My writing is documented extensively on my blog, Yve’s Corner, a collaborative blog called Our Lived Experience and now, on this website. Some of my memorable entries touch on being a single parent and being married with children, sobriety, manic episodes, sex, and suicide.
  • (Related to the above) I’m an "oversharer"
  • I used to be a dancer - Zulu dancing, modern and the Rumba. I travelled South Africa and even danced for the DA (No one is perfect)
  • I used to be a booking agent and manager of music bands while writing for music magazines (Grassy Spark was one of the bands I can mention)
  • I love using brackets because I thrive in in-between spaces

  I listed these as 'interesting facts', but often some of these things, like writing for music bands and being a booking agent were not at healthy times, or "normal". For example, while writing for the magazines, attending gigs and booking them (for four bands), I was also a full-time student in third year, a single parent, and active student leader chairing and initiating student societies, and working 20hours a week.  

I believe I make work- write or make art about that sense of stretching one's self- in a good way- that all is possible. That you can have multiple interests and engage in many aspects and that you have choice. But I also make art from that place where there are reasons for this over extension, this need to prove, to do, to work hard, to belong, to change to world, to be responsible, to sacrifice yourself for others. That, is me engaging with my trauma and my response to it.

 I see art as a way to understand what I feel and why- like a therapy. But art, I believe is a way of seeing the world. It is a way one experiences the world - sensitively, openly, seeing possibility, seeing potential in others - and seeing the truth between the lines. So I believe I'm an artist because that is who I am and who I have been - I just experienced creativity in a different way: through people and projects. 

In this phase of my life, I prioritize my satisfaction. I make art.