“Summer is my happy space,” says graphic designer Xia Carstens, who goes by the moniker Xee Summer. “I thought it would be a good pseudonym because I want people to feel warm when they look at my work.” Her art does just that, with mustard, pink, orange and comforting blue tones appearing as the main thread in her 60s and 70s-inspired patterns and illustrations.
Although art is a hobby for the Capetonian, who is the senior graphic designer at OneDayOnly, this side hustle is ingrained in her lifestyle. “Some people do yoga or run. This is my fix. It’s my form of expression and has become like therapy for me – taking one or two hours every day to play around, forget about everything in the world and do something for myself.”
She likens her Instagram feed to a daily journal. “I can remember what I was feeling when I look back at my work. I’m not good with words, so this is my story, like a visual diary.” Xee’s fascination with the psychedelic era and the trippy visuals that accompanied it stems from her father, who she calls a “bit of a hippie and non-conformist”.
She, too, has always tried to do what others are not doing. “I’m trying to find ways of expression that I don’t see in my circles and around the people I follow. When things become mainstream, I tend to swim the other way. I don’t ever want to put myself in a box; I want to keep evolving while being true to myself.”
100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.