Salma Price-Nell gravitates toward patterns, harnessing their aesthetic and metaphorical properties through ink drawings. Currently based in the U.K., the Cape Malay illustrator painstakingly renders wispy willow tendrils, gnarled trunks, and wide, sloping canopies with delicate crosshatching and linework.
She tells Colossal that her interest in natural motifs—and those found in trees, in particular—was born from mediation and a realization that everything is connected. “All matter is made from the same elements, and although every individual thing is a different composition of those substances, we are all results of a sequence of patterns that have formed and been refined over time, billions of years of time,” she shares. “These patterns have established our laws of physics and many invisible laws that we are bound to.”
Price-Nell’s practice reflects these ideas as she draws small, recurring forms like individual leaves or the crinkles in tree bark to form larger scenes. She finds peace and calm in this slow, repetitive process, and the resulting works reflect what the illustrator most admires about her subject matter. “Trees seem to have developed some of the most harmonious and admirable traits during the course of their evolution,” she says. “Of course, I am not a tree and can never be one, but I can aspire to be more resilient, generous, nurturing, independent, patient, present, grounded, secure, humble, balanced, nonjudgemental, peaceful, graceful.”
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