I have been following the work of Steve Erwin (Stencilworx) for some time now and for good reason, he’s a talented artist with creativity and passion that’s expressed through his art time and again and it’s no surprise, this man is going places. As it turns out, there’s a new ink parlour in town and for the first time ever, Stencilworx was in the public eye at the official opening of the Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio in Muizenberg, Cape Town.
Tattoo enthusiasts, artists and the general public turned up to soak up the art and music which set the scene for an enjoyable evening. Steve was one of many artists who had their art on display as part of the art exhibition which also featured a live spray painting session and an entertaining burlesque show.
Despite the hustle and bustle of the event, I managed to have a few words with Steve who was visibly chuffed to have his work on display for the first time and here’s what he had to say, “I am stoked to have my first art piece up on display at an exhibition, I hope people like it. It’s a stencil and spray paint piece on a skateboard deck that I have loosely dubbed ‘Heaven, Hell and everything in between”.
“I was a bit nervous to put my work on display at first but now I am relaxed about it and am just enjoying the evening. I also want to thank Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio for allowing me to display my work, I think it’s a great opportunity”. Steve’s piece effectively displayed how stencils and spray paint can be used to create unique artwork that is impossible to replicate.
If you have read The Steve Erwin Interview – The Wave Hunter, then you know that Steve is a talented artist, whether he’s sketching in a notepad, spray-painting on a canvass or making funky T-shirts, his art stands out as being bold and unique. I had the pleasure of witnessing Steve (Stencilworx) in action recently and here’s what he was up to.
When I first saw the canvass, I was confused as to where Steve was going with this piece but he assured me that the stencil was going to ‘pull the whole thing together’. Steve did his work while I watched the canvass come to life and the end result was impressive. “I am going to call it Something’s In The Water” he tells me. “Because it’s the first of many to come,” he adds.
Inspiration for the work came from his brother, Gavin Erwin, an excellent all-round fisherman and fishing artist who resides in Johannesburg and also quite possibly from Steve’s recent fly fishing trip to Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway. Steve’s work demonstrates the artistic value of using stencils within the art creation process and in this particular case, adding a whole new level of depth and clarity to this piece while also revealing endless creative possibilities. That creativity often spills off the canvass and onto the chair which is not surprising because art runs deep in the Erwin family. Welcome to the new home of Fish Art…
Meet Steve Erwin! Now I know what you thinking. Steve Erwin, the crocodile hunter? No, Steve Erwin, the surfer, the legend. As the fires of industry burned on in Johannesburg, a young soul stirred. Having tasted the fruit the ocean bears, the waves beckoned him closer, and closer. Steve discovered surfing, and this jewel of a find has not only made Steve who he is today but has also led to the creation of some pretty cool surf art and shirt designs. Steve’s a talented man and I wanted to find out more about what he does and how he spreads his paint.
[GL] So Steve, tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your deal?
[SE] I’m an entrepreneur living in Cape Town and have been working as a freelance graphic and interior designer. For the past two years I have also been working on my own clothing label called Stencilworx. I was born and bred in Johannesburg but decided that the big land-locked city was not on my vibe. Having discovered surfing while living in Joburg, I decided that Cape Town was where I wanted to live and I have been in Cape Town for four years already.
[GL] That’s a brave move Steve. Please tell us more about Stencilworx?
[SE] As a promising illustrator and designer, I created graphics to print onto shirts but soon discovered that screen printing was not a viable option for me. After experimenting with different printing techniques, I discovered that hand-cut stencils solved a lot of printing problems. This developed into what is now known as the Stencilworx brand, which utilises stencils as the main focus for printing.
[GL] What makes Stencilworx unique?
[SE] The stencils are hand-cut and the clothing is hand-printed, offering limited runs and a customer-specific product. Each product has a personalised touch and no two items are ever the same and every item is unique.
[GL] What other techniques do you use and what other art do you create?
[SE] I experiment with pencil and ink drawings combined with water colour and computer rendering to produce my artwork. I also experiment with various other illustrations and paintings but I pretty much draw, paint and print whatever inspires me at a particular time.
[GL]On the subject of inspiration, where do you draw your inspiration from to create your art?
[SE] Much of my inspiration comes from surfing and surf culture, but also from life, experiences, books and watching too much WWE (laughs).
[GL] Interesting, but how did you get into surfing?
[SE] I was driving home from university one day and came across a pawn shop in Troyeville, Johannesburg, that was selling a surfboard for R30. It was an ancient 6’6 Andrew Carter, not much of a surfboard, more like a plank, but I couldn’t resist buying it. I learnt to surf in Kasouga in the Eastern Cape and as many of my friends caught onto surfing, surf trips became a ritual at every opportunity that presented itself. Seven-years later, I live in Cape Town and I’m a surf instructor at the Surf Shack in Muizenberg, so surfing has been part of my life ever since.
[GL] That’ a great story Steve, I can relate, because I learnt to surf with you and we went on many surf trips together. But tell us, where have you surfed and what is your favorite wave in South Africa?
[SE] My surfing adventures have taken me to Durban, the South Coast, the Wild Coast (Transkei), Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape, the Southern Cape, the Cape Peninsula and the West Coast. Of all these places, as a goofy footer with a appetite for crayfish and sleeping in a tent, I would have to say that Elands Bay is the place that holds fond memories for me. However, I enjoy surfing in Muizenberg too and I love it for its own reasons.
[GL] Nice. What surfboards are you riding at the moment?
[SE] I am currently riding a 6’4 thruster but also ride a 7’6 mini-mal from time to time. I also have a 6’6 thruster that I use regularly as well as a old-school Mike Larmont single fin that I use for special occasions.
[GL] And now for the most important question of all, I’ve left the best for last, do you have a girlfriend?
[SE] (Laughs) No, I am currently single but I am willing to entertain any ladies who are intrigued by this interview.
[GL] Well I hope that works out for you Steve and wish you all the best in everything you do, I look forward to surfing with you again…(laughs).
[SE] Thanks for your interest in my endeavors and hope to see you in the water soon, ciao.
If you are interested in Stencilworx, visit www.stencilworx.co.za and if you want to place a very special order, e-mail Steve on firstname.lastname@example.org. Ladies, this hunk of a man is up for grabs so if you want to speak to Steve directly and book a date with him, you can contact him on +27 084 762 7803 (laughs). As an alternative, you can also find Stencilworx on Facebook.