Tell us a bit more about Grace de Kroon:
I’m 27 years old, was born and raised in Cape Town. I lived the majority of my life in my childhood home in Pinelands. After high school, I took a Gap year and lived in London. Following that, I studied interior Architecture because I have always absolutely loved interiors and wanted to have the skills to implement the structural design as well as the fun cushiony stuff. I worked for a year after my degree only to realise that the interior design world was not made for me i.e sitting behind a desk drawing lines and lines on the computer. Also men in that industry SUCK!
I had just ended an abusive relationship and had been suffering from depression (sorry if this is TMI) and decided to quit my job and start Junk & Disorderly (my vintage clothing brand) alongside pursuing a bit of fashion styling. I built this up for the next 4 years and it was absolutely amazing gaining my confidence back and to have a creative outlet that inspired me. By 2017 I was able to open up a retail space which was a dream come true. During the second year of having a physical retail space for J+D, I began feeling extremely depressed again, being stuck behind a desk and the immense pressure it takes to run a retail space.
I began drawing again for the first time since high school. It was really through colouring-in books that inspired me to do this. Eventually, I was sick of colouring in other peoples drawings and decided to draw my own to colour in. I found a deep love for posca pens and now have a massive collection. I closed my shop this year in March/April because I realised retail was no longer for me and I needed to make a change. Since then I have had an exhibition and a few commissions for my illustrations which is so exciting. I’m also going to be doing a graphic design course this month with Red and Yellow which I’m super excited about. I’ve just this week bought some acrylic paint which I’m going to try to get the confidence to try again. As well as trying a bit more with Gouache!
Finding a medium to work in could be quite a journey- what made you take to markers?
This links back to the colouring story. I literally wanted to colour in and these did the job. These markers have such a nice texture, being acrylic-based. They also create a nice matte look which I really like. It also helps that they have a limited colour range which for me is good because I feel like I could go overboard with colour if I had too many options. I have however recently been feeling a bit stuck with colour limitation, wanting to put in for detail and shadows. This is also why I’m thinking of pursuing the painting side of things with gouache and acrylic paint.
How on earth do you find time to run an entire shop and also to be an illustrator?
Well, since closing the shop I have soooo much more time. I’m pursuing Junk + Disorderly very slowly and being patient with myself in this regard. Choosing only what I like instead of what will sell and almost rebuilding the brand. I only do 2/3 markets a month which gives me time to draw as much as I like. I’m in a very transitional stage atm.
Are you finding your dream job or are you creating it?
I’d had so many ideas about what my dream is and honestly, it changes all the time. I thought to own a vintage shop was my absolute dream, and for a time it was. Sometimes you have to do something to realise what you actually want or what suits you/ your personality/ working style. I’m a busy body who likes to do different things all the time otherwise I become depressed. I want to keep evolving and creating new things. I would say I’m creating my dream job. My new dream is to be a creative consultant. Whether that be for interior design, helping someone create their branding, painting murals, illustration, styling and all things creative!
What or who lights you up?
Colour, colour colour. Texture upon texture. Dramatic things. Feelings.
My goddaughter Frankie. She has a way of making any bad day a good one!
To contact Grace for commissions: