Mary-An Hampton – INTERVIEW

Picture-Sloth. Event posters – Us Kids, John Ellis, Thomas Krane. Event Poster for Desmond and the Tutus.

Local creative Mary-An Hampton shares with CS about her illustrations, Hruki and much more.
Mary-An’s work dances all over Durban and surrounds in forms of posters, clothing, music, novels, branding and much more. She owns the clothing label Hruki and that ventures into many other streams as well as being involved with the marketing of Unit 11 here in Durban. Mary-An’s work is distinct, it’s got humour and it’s got character. I’m hoping to pop into the “Buy Art Not Drugs” Art Group Show that will be up and running in December above Spiga D’ora on Florida Road, which Mary-Anne is involved in and hopefully meet her face to face then.
Please tell us a little about your creative background. When did illustration start becoming your passion? I’ve been scribbling things for as long as I can remember, so I guess I took to it naturally, which always helps with a passion.
You play the tambourine? Please do tell? It is a joke. No one takes a tambourinist seriously. Except maybe that guy from Spoon. But he’s more of a percussionist per say, although I do think tambourining is his true gift. But I’m in a band called Thomas Krane, where I almost picked up a tambourine once. (I got sold a lemon)

How old are you and do you think ist too late to get into illustration as means of making a living, if you never started earlier? I’m 26, and no? There’s that quote about Julia Child only starting cooking when she was 37, which seems to comfort people. We mostly all live for ages now. There’s plenty of time for things.

What is a normal day like for you? I answer emails, and then work on whatever project is most pressing. In between doodling small animals, day-dreaming and squandering time on the internet. But each day is a little unpredictable, which is one of the joys of being freelance and not having a strict 9-5er.

If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be? Um. er. not sure. (crap that’s four.)
If you could describe illustrating or creativity in 3 words, what would they be? Repeat above answer.
Please tell us a bit more about Hruki? Hruki is a music based street wear label. We work with different bands, they provide us with a little music, we make a design for them, and sell a shirt and album as  a sweet package deal.
Where can people get their paws on Hruki clothing? From Look & Listen, Idols in Durban and our site.
Wedding Invitation. Dear Reader illustration. Illustration for kids book The Beard that swallowed the World.
I love your work and think you are extremely talented. What advise can you give an illustrator trying to get into the market. And to someone who has talent but not sure where to start? Thanks! I’m afraid I don’t think I have it all down at this point. I’m not sure I ever will. But having a site up is a number one priority, as you need somewhere to point people when they want to see what you’ve done and whether they can find a use for you.
Where can we buy your  work or get in touch? My site and you can order posters and whatnot personally from me at I’m also involved in a budget art group show, ‘Buy Art not Drugs,’  which is going to happen in the space above Spiga D’ora in Florida Road sometime in December (for some christmas shopping.)
What are you working on? I’m working on a cover for a teenage romance novel, some branding for a coffee operation in Burundi, and a whole bunch of posters for various gigs. So some variety! Which is always nice.
Hruki shirt design.

Do you have a few of your favourite illustration that have been your most memorable creating it or history behind it? I like the winter trees design I did for a Hruki shirt. It’s simple and striking, and came easily. I find designs I have to fight with don’t age gracefully.  There isn’t much of a story behind it, besides a fascination with snow and bears. Being from Durban I haven’t seen all that  much of either.
I really like the Dear Reader illustration, tell us a bit about that one? It was made for Dear Reader, a great band from Joburg now based in Berlin. They write really beautiful songs. This illustration was loosely based on art they had for their 2nd album, Replace why with funny, which was quite a dreamlike landscape with various monsters. It’s a girl with a large, protective imaginary friend. 
Who is your favourite artist? I love the art of Gaugain, such intense colour. He was a bit of a __  though.

Can you tell us what inspires you? Most of the natural world. I find a lot of what I do is just a childish copy of something God did a whole lot better.

What does it mean to be creative, in your eyes? Creativity is such a strange thing, it’s hard to know exactly what the point of it is or why I feel like I have to scribble things. So that’s not really an answer. 

Where do you get your ideas from? Have you always had such amazing imagination? I wasn’t allowed to watch TV till I was 12, so I was forced to develop an imagination. Bit cruel of my parents. Talking to other kids at school was such hard work! No common ground. No Ninja Turtles.


Hruki Shirt designs.


What is your favourite things to do on a sunday? Sunday is one of my most predictable days! In a nice way. I go to my church, Oasis, in Amanzimtoti, which is such a wonderful mix of all sorts of unlikely people. Then I have big fat family lunch at my folks house. And then a recovery nap. Every Sunday. Pretty much.
If you were an animal, you would be…Something small that could hide underground. I would like it to be a fox, but it would probably be more of a rodent.
…..Is the best book to read. Tough! I think it would have to be Winnie the Pooh. Now that stuff is profound. And timeless.

Today is…Friday.

The best thing about where I live is….My bay window! It’s amazing. I quite like my digs mates too. I’d like them even more if they washed the dishes sometimes.

If you want to see more , check out her website here.

Thanks Mary-An for sharing a bit about yourself and your work! I am looking forward to seeing your illustrations throughout the world!


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