Meet the Artist - Dené Smulders

Meet the Artist - Dené Smulders
One thing that makes African Apparel unique is the fact that we use hand drawn art for the designs on our t shirts, sweaters and hoodies.  We love the distinct detail that can only be portrayed by pen and paper.
Although drawing a t shirt design can be a timeous process, the results are always worth the wait. We love working with local artists and we want to use this platform to promote their portfolios and offer them the exposure they deserve. 
Dené Smulders is the artist behind The Signature Africa, The Marula, The Buffalo, & The Camp Life.
Dené is based in Pretoria, South Africa, and works as a Visual Arts teacher at Hoërskool FH Odendaal. She grew up in Benoni, South Africa and went to study BA Fine Arts at the University of Pretoria after which she obtained her PGCE qualification in Art Education.
When she was young, her and her brothers would spend many evenings and weekends around the kitchen table drawing things that interested us as well as creating our own games and stories. This developed into a passion for creating art, telling stories and portraying emotion through her art which she chose to continue doing throughout her life. Later, she developed an appreciation for art in the sense that it takes place all around us and encourages us to question, critique and admire the world around us. This passion she tries to share with and teach to her students.
Her art consists of an illustrative style with realistic elements. Her art focuses on capturing details and telling stories in an attempt to create and convey emotions affiliated with the subject in order to make her art relatable to the audience. She takes inspiration and influence from artists such as Roger Ballen, Lindsey Levendall, Diane Victor, Francesco de Goya, Salvador Dali, Amy Cutler, Neil Badenhorst, Octavia Roodt, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Rackham.
In her own words - "Designing for African Apparel gives me an opportunity to create cool designs which tell stories of the African landscape and the things that make us as South African’s unique. I always aim to capture details to highlight how special South Africa and all its wonders can be. My mediums consist of drawing and painting with pen, watercolours and oil paints. I have also explored in video and animation as a way to further my means of storytelling in art. In my spare time I am a fervent bookworm, amateur rock star and creator of drama in The Sims."
 Past Exhibitions:
Sculpture and photography first year group exhibition (2015)
 Second year first semester works group exhibition at Anton van Wouw House (2016) Top 100 Thami Mnyele Culture and Resistance Exhibition (2016)
Diane Victors Printmaking Students from Tukkies, Trent Gallery (2017)
Phase 2.1, Anton van Wouw House (2017)
TUKS: 3rd Year Students, Longstreet Art Lovers (2017)
Phase 3.44, Anton van Wouw House (2018)
Phase 4:0: Final Year Fine Arts Student Exhibition, University of Pretoria (2018)

Dené can be found on:
Instagram - @dene_smul
email -


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