As the ‘Oscars’ of the student design world, it’s only fitting that the trophy for Caesarstone‘s Student Designer Competition be as grand as the golden statuette itself. After 13 years, a new floating trophy was needed, so we went on the hunt for a dynamic creative to assist. Dora Prévost is a JHB-based artist and sculptor whose passion for sculpting and the design world is perfectly matched to foundation of the competition. We took a few minutes to get to know the inspiring artist little bit better…
Above: Dora (third from left) stands alongside the 2020/21 winner, Gideon Williams, and the esteemed Caesarstone judging panel.
Q: What is the philosophy that guides your creations?
A: First and foremost, it’s about consistency. You need to dedicate time for production, have self discipline, and create deadlines. Ever since I discovered my passion for sculpture I go in my studio either for fixing, painting a work, or creating. My philosophy? I believe that the artist owes it to him/herself, above all things, to be as true to themselves and toward others.
Q: What elements define your style and where do you find inspiration?
A: I like to say that what you see is what you get as I’m authentic in my style. I am bold and daring, and constantly inspired by reality whether its social, cultural, or political. I play with contrast and exaggeration and this is probably the common theme running through my work. Art allows me to express my feelings and it also starts conversations about several social issues.
Q: What do you find most challenging about creating your sculptures?
A: Art is about connecting with people’s emotions but it’s not always easy to transmit the message you want. That’s where it gets interesting as it encourages dialogue. I like having conversations with viewers and seeing the work from their perspective. I trust that my sculptures will give the audience an opportunity to wonder, question, and make their own interpretation.
Q: What did you enjoy about the process of designing the Caesarstone trophy?
When Caesarstone told me that they had the idea of a hand representing the trophy, it resonated with me immediately. I saw this idea of emerging talent, and thought about a hand coming from earth – I saw greatness emerging from a rock. I have been inspired also by the concept of ‘adaptive reuse’, which is this year’s brief. Here, I used the contrast of the smooth golden hand and the rough stone. I must say I really enjoyed it, and the whole team was fantastic, a very pleasant journey.
Above: 2020/21 winner, Gideon Williams, proudly holds up our new Student Designer floating trophy, designed & created by Dora.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career as an artist?
I have endless amounts of fun and experience great joy in my studio. I am enjoying the freedom of being able to express my creativity. I try to be very socially thoughtful and politically aware of my surroundings. Whenever I experience feelings of discomfort in my life, I translate those feelings through my art and feel I can be heard this way.
Q: What have been some of your favourite pieces to date?
I have a piece called Metamorphosis, it’s a human portrait. There’s a golden face appearing to replace the old skin and on the head there are horns, which are used as a metaphor to show our power. Horns for an animal is an obvious defence mechanism, it’s associated with strength, virility, and beauty.
The transformation here is completed once you accept yourself the way you are. This also means honouring the beauty and the dignity of our unique personalities. I like this piece because it talks about the subjectivity of beauty and its underlying message of authenticity; very much what I aspire to in life.
Q: If there were no limits, what would you do right now?
Travel the world, work with different artists, and have a beautiful exchange of ideas. For me this creates artistic growth, empathy, and new understandings.
Q: Who are your favourite creators to follow on Instagram?
Q: What advice do you have for young designers reading this interview?
Find your unique voice. Yes, it takes time but keep creating, be confident and believe in yourself; be authentic and true to yourself. Enter competitions to keep yourself challenged and out there. Get a refusal…enter again the following year…that’s the only way to keep going, never give up. What do you have to lose?
Thank you to Dora for creating a gorgeous trophy for our Student Designer Competition!
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