Home sweet home
Nothing allows you to grow more than leaving your comfort zone and venturing out into the world by yourself. Dundee’s Vanesse Burns made the choice to step onto a plane and fly across the world to find her roots and discover who she really is. “I was born and raised in Dundee. This small town is all I’ve ever known. Our family is of Scottish descent and while I grew up, it was a dream of mine to go to Scotland to see where our family comes from. I saved up and after matric, before I set off to study, I made the trip. I chose to go by myself. Even though I was still really young, I wanted to push myself to do something terrifying. And looking back, I think it was a journey of self discovery. I loved Scotland, Ireland and England. It’s a magical place. While I was there, I stumbled upon an art gallery. It was not your usual art gallery; there was beautiful art hanging on the walls, sculptures of local artists and the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.
This inspired me and I just knew that one day I would open an art and photography gallery back home. I want my gallery to be different, fresh and modern, showcasing artwork from all over the province. Who knows… maybe one day my dream will turn into a franchise. Bringing art to people who would otherwise not be exposed to that culture. I think Northern KZN has many great artists, a lot of them taking photos, painting, drawing and sketching quietly without anyone knowing or having the chance to appreciate and enjoy their work, because they don’t know how to bring their work to the public. My art studio will give them that opportunity.”
It just didn’t feel like home to me. City life was something I couldn’t adapt to. Many people thrive in cities, even if they come from small towns, but I knew as soon as I was done studying I would go home. And driving back into Dundee, the peacefulness of the town embraced me with it’s charming arms. I was so happy to be home again
She returned to South Africa with many dreams for the future, but first it was the business of educating herself in the field she loves. “I set off to live in Durban, where I studied graphic design. My parents own a graphic, printing and web design company. I know it would be reasonable to think this is the only reason I studied design, but it’s not. I love designing, it’s in my heart and even if things were different and my parents were bankers, I would have followed this path.”
While living in Durban, things were not easy for this small town girl. “It just didn’t feel like home to me. City life was something I couldn’t adapt to. Many people thrive in cities, even if they come from small towns, but I knew as soon as I was done studying I would go home. And driving back into Dundee, the peacefulness of the town embraced me with it’s charming arms. I was so happy to be home again.”
She is not done building on her education; she is studying art and photography through correspondence. “I work in the family business. It’s hard working and studying, but I’m fortunate enough to have very supportive friends and family.”
She is not just all work and no play, as this enthusiastic artist loves the outdoors. “My photography takes me to nature. At the moment I’m very focused on nature photography, and I think we have amazing wildlife around us. We don’t have to travel very far to see the beauty of nature.”
When she is at home, she enjoys oil painting. “I like African themes, abstract painting is so much fun. I like the colours and possibilities.”
She credits her art teacher at school for her love and interest in painting. “I had a wonderful teacher, she was so inspirational.”
She is also a keen golfer. “Weekends I like to stay active, so my friends and I sometimes play a round of golf here at the Country Club. Golf is a hobby; I took golf lessons when I was younger. I don’t think I’m going to be the next Tiger Woods, but I can handle myself on the golf course. My friends and I also enjoy going to the Berg, camping and going on hikes. When it’s an ocean break we are after, Ballito is normally our go-to destination.”
She might have big projects in the pipeline for the future, but she will remain in Dundee. “I can’t see myself leaving here. I know most young people leave their small town homes the moment they finish school, never to return again, but I’m happy in Dundee. I can see a lot of possibilities in the future and I’m happy to give it a chance.
My father always told me that hard work eventually pays off, so I’m not giving up on my dreams.”
With modern technology what it is today, Vanesse feels there is nothing she cannot achieve from home. “When I moved into my own place, I ordered most of my furniture online. This means I have the availability people in cities have without the hassle of traffic! I also do most of my clothes shopping online.
Technology brings the world closer and it makes life easier. We don’t have to settle for less just because we are not in the thick of things.”
Northern KZN Get It June 2017