Artist’s Passion is “Sprinkling the World with Whimsy”

The Drive: What challenges have you overcome?

My son (9) was diagnosed with Aspergers / ADHD at 5. It has been an incredibly emotional and difficult journey. As a parent it is easy to lose perspective and forget “to put your own oxygen mask on first before you try and save the rest of the family”.

Personally I struggled with peri and postnatal depression and it took me a number of years before I recognised the need to set aside time for me to simply be me.

I don’t always get the balance right and have a daily battle with my conscience – the time I spend drawing, studying or developing my business is time not spent with my children and husband. I am a work in progress and I try to make peace with the days where things go to custard and all plans fall by the wayside – if I’m lucky I take 5 minutes and I draw.

Drawing saved my life and is how I meditate. I love that something that gives me a few hours of calm and mindfulness in turn brings a smile to someone else.

For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?

The struggle is real! Juggling family life, work and a small business is not for the faint-hearted! My biggest and ongoing challenge is the need for self-discipline and mindfulness. As I get older, I get better with letting go and trying again tomorrow.

Hopes and dreams: What next?

Sprinkling the world with whimsy – I am passionate about promoting both mental health and autism awareness. I have a series of drawings where any profit from the sales are donated to Autism NZ.

One aspect of my art that remains very close to my heart is where I create personalised illustrations for families with children on the autism spectrum. People with autism are not ill or broken, they simply have a unique view of the world – captured so well by the Māori word for autism ”Takiwātanga” which means in his/her own time and space.

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! Dr. Seuss

I want to do more of these – it is so rewarding and such a blessing to be able to give something back to parents and caregivers of special-needs children.

My work has never been about making money, instead it has given me the opportunity to connect with people and causes that I genuinely care about.

If you’ d like to see more of Melina van Wyk’s work, follow her on Facebook and Instagram and keep an eye out for her upcoming website. 

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