Hanging out with Trevor Stuurman

Trevor Stuurman.
Trevor Stuurman.
Image: Supplied.

While everyone wants a piece of this contemporary multimedia visual artist, the golden boy of Kimberley owns his African story, showcasing his heritage and perspective through his camera lens, the internet, and travel diaries. 

On career highlights

I have worked with Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell, and Barack Obama. Working closely with such icons and leaders does something to your humanity and spirit. It serves as a reminder of your own personal power that you sometimes overlook and undervalue. It unlocks your potential and raises the glass ceiling for your dreams and goals. 

Life lessons

I look at being a creative in the same light as being an athlete. You always have to be in practice and in training. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get stuck and feel uninspired at times. It’s something I’m learning to work on. Stay motivated and focused, even if it’s not your season yet.

Understand that everything is seasonal. This is a concept that you have to learn when you’re a freelancer. Life and experience have taught me that. It has stretched me spiritually to always believe in more and know that a better tomorrow is promised. 

Push through it all. Never give up, no matter how tough things get. The creative industry and process is never easy. There is always someone who won’t believe in you — don’t let that person be you. 

Capturing African stories

African history has always been written by others. Which makes me wonder, does that even make it African history? It is only right that we tell our own stories in honour of our ancestors and for future generations. 

I am constantly documenting our stories and sharing them online. This way they can never die. They will outlive me and that will be my legacy. 

The power of the internet

The internet is a democratic space. Everyone has a voice and it is important that young Black creatives take advantage of the power of their voice and the space they occupy online. 

I have empowered myself by taking up space on every single platform available to amplify my voice and skills. This is accompanied by consistency in terms of posting and visibility. It doesn’t help to be online and not be active and present.

My career was solely built online. It started back in high school with Facebook and Mxit where I would share my photography, and later moved to Tumblr and Instagram when I was in varsity. It is through this that I have been able to build a sustainable and successful career. 

The effects of the pandemic

I had to adapt to the times and keep things moving in a new way. My work used to involve a great deal of travelling and now that has stopped. This had a direct knock on my inspiration, process, and creativity, as I get a lot of my inspiration from travelling. 

I have learnt to be more secure in myself. To always believe in doing the most with the little I have, wherever I am. During these times everything is temporary, so you have to be ready for anything. For me, it has been more of a mental and spiritual shift.

Advice for creatives

Put in the hours. There is no substitute for hard work and persistence. 

Stay focused. As a creative living and operating in a digital age, you are under pressure to post and shine all the time. This is unfair to yourself. Do what works for you and your mental health. Don’t fall into the trap of the internet and be constantly slaying. Stay true to your story and always remember why you started. 

Enjoy the journey. This means taking time to be grateful. Ambition can sometimes steal the opportunity to be grateful. 

The future of African luxury

Africa has always been the home of luxury. Everything in Africa has always been handmade with love, and that for me is the ultimate luxury. The future of African luxury lies in the hands of its rightful owners — Africans.