Neil Badenhorst (b. 1995) is an artist and illustrator based in Pretoria. He completed his Undergraduate and Honours degrees in Visual Communication with a major in Illustration at the Open Window, graduating in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Badenhorst began his Masters in Illustration in 2019 (which he is currently in the process of finishing), exploring ritual spaces and crisis heterotopias in illustrated fantasy books. Badenhorst has been pursuing a career as an independent artist since his early days at University, and has also worked as a freelance illustrator and designer, as well as a lecturer since then.
Badenhorst’s ultimate goal as a creative is to be a ‘jack of all trades, master of some’. Through formally taught in digital design and illustration, Badenhorst’s artistic practice extends into painting, collage, and more recently digital and traditional installation art. His practice is largely concerned with themes such as liminality, multi-layered space and experience, queer themes, ritual process and imaginary worlds. Badenhorst’s creative process relies heavily on intuition, and his dreamscapes are a desperate attempt to map out the eternally expanding internal landscape, and recollection of memories from other worlds and universes.
My masters study is concerned with ritual and heterotopic spaces within illustrated fantasy narratives, and how these may facilitate rites of passage for readers. My masters exhibition, between worlds, explores these themes in practice. The exhibition centres around fragments of a narrative I have been piecing together for most of my life, from recorded dreams and daydreams. The exhibition consists of illustrated pieces which tell stories about things I ‘remember’ in the otherworld. The gallery space ultimately becomes both a ritual space (a liminal space between this world and our own), but also becomes the book of sorts; as one must move through the space to follow and piece together the narrative. The narrative, and world, the pieces centre around was never exactly a intentional creation on my part. It developed naturally from dreams and my imagination, piecing itself together. Thus artmaking, here, became a deeply personal ritual process where I am almost desperately clinging to the memories of my life in the otherworld I encounter when asleep or daydreaming; and it is these stories and spaces that allow me to reflect and make better sense of my experiences within the ‘real’ world.