Æiden Swan was born in the Eastern Cape. With a diverse list of interests and occupations throughout her career, her adventures include living on a yacht, working as a graphic designer in the late nineties, owning her own couture house for 18 years, until 2017 when “the call of the wild” finally became too strong and she returned to her artistic roots.
Swan works predominantly with ink as a painter, performance artist and leatherworker. When she is not painting, she crafts artefacts for fictional worlds in the film industry. She also boasts a vast collection of vintage science fiction novels.
With this body of work Swan explores humanity’s increasingly fragile connection to the natural world and its cycles, as well as our own ancestry, through a veil of dream imagery constructed in charcoal, ink, and tempera. She creates many of the liquid pigments used in her work from wild substances that she gathers and harvests herself.
She draws inspiration from her dreams, drawing animals as they would appear; often as messengers of transformation; or creatures that scavenge or sacrifice themselves so that new life may grow. The red pigment used throughout her work is ochre, this iron-rich soil-based pigment is used by cultures all over the world for make-up, protection, and ceremony.
The act of transferring a handprint is considered as one of the most ancient forms of human expression – as found in ancient cave paintings – this act is key to our human need to create and assert our place in the world. Furthermore, by using her hands as a distinguishing component between human/artist and animals – Swan reminds us to consider our unique imprint and the impact we have on the natural world. For her each work serves as “a letter, both to and from a collective elemental past – the place where soul, myth and mysticism once intertwined with the physical; a time before consumerism and mass production laid waste to that which nourishes us”.