Tracy Stokes

Cape Town, South Africa

Mediums: acrylic, pastel, oil pencil, ink

Style: primitive surrealism, contemporary folk art

Favorite Book: Women Who Run With The Wolves by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes


bird talk by tracy stokes

Bird Talk © Tracy Stokes
He wanted to talk to the birds but they didn’t understand him
acrylic, pastel, oil pencil & ink on paper
38cm x 28cm

Hi, my name is Tracy and I’m a mixed media artist living and working in Cape Town.  I paint and draw on paper, masonite board, canvas, reclaimed shelves, drawers and old canvas prints in fancy frames.


Please tell us about your first experience creating.

When I was a teenager, my mother & I painted jacaranda tree pods and made them into earrings that we sold at the monthly Saturday morning market in Windhoek. 


What music do you like to have playing while creating art?

Current favourites are Black Handed Kites, Bob Dylan, Manu Chau, Gomez & Leonard Cohen.


gaias tightrope by tracy stokes

Gaia’s Tightrope © Tracy Stokes
acrylic, pastel, oil pencil & ink on paper
38cm x 28cm


If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?

My other job is being a mom.  I work in the studio four mornings a week and the rest of the time I spread between family and household pursuits and marketing my art online


What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?

My paintings are stories about where we find ourselves as human beings in the 21st century.  Our planet is in decline, we mindlessly consume & our relationships with each other, with ourselves and with nature (of which we are part) have become distorted.  Some of my paintings are simply calls to consciousness, others offer solutions or show possibilities of a future where we’ve learned to live in a new gentler way on the Earth and with each other.


gone by tracy stokes

Gone © Tracy Stokes
acrylic, pastel, oil pencil & ink on paper
38cm x 28cm


Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.

I usually have around 10 paintings on the go at the same time, and I cycle through them over and over, spending how ever long I want to with a piece before moving to the next.  Some pieces take days to finish, others months.  Some stories are longer than others.   My process begins in a  spontaneous way, I feel the painting into existence rather than think about what I am putting down.  Once I have a feel for what the painting is trying to say, I consciously add symbols that support it’s story.  Then I alternate between these two different parts of my process, part spontaneous, part conscious,  layering on paint and pastel, oil pencil & ink, until I feel that the message is clear.


What things inspire you to create art?

My inspiration comes from an internal drive to tell the stories of what is happening around us and within us.  


Have you sold any of your artworks?

I started selling my paintings in February this year and I’ve sold 8 to date, some of the sales were on Etsy, and some through my Facebook page.


the journey home by tracy stokes

The Journey Home © Tracy Stokes
acrylic, pastel, oil pencil & ink on paper
38cm x 28cm


How do you promote your art on the internet?

I have a website and blog, an Etsy shop, a Facebook page, a gallery of my works on Tumblr, and I’m active on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.



I grew up in South Africa and Namibia and am influenced by the strong symbolism and narrative quality of the traditional art of indigenous people in the areas I’ve lived in.   


Can you recommend another artist?

Cynthia Korzekwa is an inspiring artist and someone who kindled my interest for art a few years ago.  Her blog “art for housewives” is full of drawings, textile art and recycling projects that ooze character and soul.  She’s a bright shining example of  how to channel creativity to turn your whole life into a work of art.


wild thing by tracy stokes

Wild Thing I Think I Love You © Tracy Stokes
acrylic, pastel, oil pencil & ink on paper
38cm x 28cm


Tell us something interesting in your life.

I once spent a night perched on a low wall at the edge of the Zambezi River in flood.  My hut had been flooded and being open to the river in front, had welcomed a visiting crocodile into it.


If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?

There were times I wish I had been kinder or considered things more deeply, but mostly everything has happened just the way it should.


What plans do you have for the future of your art?

To just keep painting and see where it takes me.


Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?

tracy stokes Being an emerging artistemerging artist myself, no. I’m learning as I go.


Tracy Stokes

Cape Town, South Africa

Website: Tracy Stokes Art | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Etsy

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  1. One of your paintings inspired my poem:


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