A ‘painting a day’, back in 2013, was the aim for Lorraine Loots, miniaturist artist, wife and mom. That ‘small project’ 365 Paintings for Ants launched a career that’s been anything but small.

You’ve had a successful career thus far, why did you not want to pursue art as a career when you are naturally so talented?

I guess I just never believed I had it in me. I felt like there were certain boxes I’d need to tick to be able to be an artist, and I didn’t tick those. Also, I nearly failed Illustration at University so that wasn’t exactly a big confidence boost!

Which career were you hoping to pursue?

I really had no idea. I always envied the people around me with clear dreams, who could plot out their futures to an extent. I didn’t know that the career I’d end up in (an Instagramming miniaturist) didn’t even exist back then.

You have a pretty big following on Instagram. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by it or have Imposter Syndrome?

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all of it! The messages, the emails, the orders, comments, all of it. I find it incredibly overwhelming and hard to believe this is my reality. So yes, definitely a bit of Imposter Syndrome going on over here.

You have exhibited in places like New York, Singapore, Sydney (to name but a few). Do you have a dream location where you would like to exhibit one day?


How do you balance your personal and professional life?

I don’t! I think the idea of balance is a myth (see: The Four Burners Theory). As a mom I constantly feel pulled in many different directions. I’m also horrific at multi-tasking, so the best I can do is just try to be as present as possible in whatever I’m doing at any moment in time. That’s hard enough as it is, never mind trying to have it all in perfect balance. That said, I’m lucky to have a lot of help, and have built in layers of support. My husband’s company, Artist Admin, handles every last bit of the administrative part of my business (scanning, printing, framing, shipping, client liaison, website building and management, all of it).

I literally just need to paint and sign prints, books and posters. That way I can spend the rest of my time being a mom, wife, and just my own individual human. We have a fantastic nanny, my parents are wonderful hands-on grandparents and my husband and I split parenting and household things 50/50 (or as close as possible!).

In what ways has motherhood changed you?

In every way. Motherhood has been really hard for me, so it’s forced me to do a lot of work – processing childhood/ generational trauma, learning how to be emotionally aware and in tune with my child – the tough stuff, you know. I’ve also had to learn to be incredibly intentional with my time. I could write a whole book on this question, but those are the things that come to mind.

A few years ago (2017) you road-tripped with your family across the US. How was that? Did that experience teach you anything?

Yes – that a road trip across a country with a 1-year-old is a bad idea! My husband would disagree with that but at the time I was unknowingly dealing with raging anxiety, putting WAY too much pressure on myself, taking too much on. It’s very hard to enjoy yourself with all of that going on. That said, it was definitely one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I’m really grateful for everything I got to see and learn.

Share three lessons with the readers the pandemic has taught you.

This is going to sound cheesy, but the whole “live in the moment” thing has become very real for me. I’ve gone from someone who likes to plan far in advance to someone with a blank calendar. Especially when it comes to things like travel, exhibitions etc. I think if you want to do something, do it ASAP, while you can. You never know what variant’s going to be discovered tomorrow.

Your paintings are on such a small scale yet so detailed. What are the challenges compared to creating art on a bigger scale?

The only challenges for me would be the amount of strain it puts on my eyes and body. Other than that it’s a dream. I need very few materials and can easily take my work everywhere. I love that.

Whose artwork would you like to own?

Zandile Shabalala, Kirsten Sims, Banele Khoza, Nelson Makamo, Zarah Cassim.

What are you currently working on and are there any upcoming exhibitions?

I have just exhibited in Paris for Small is Beautiful and will potentially be showing elsewhere in Europe and/or the US this year (2022).

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Ron Mueck.

What has been your biggest highlight thus far?

Probably my first international show in New York in 2015. Or my first ever solo show in Cape Town in 2014? Or being invited to exhibit alongside some of the world’s most brilliant miniaturists in Paris? There are so many. Everything feels like a bonus because I wasn’t expecting any of it.

Connect with the artist:

Instagram: @lorraineloots

Website: www.lorraineloots.com

Written by Candice Esben, interview conducted in 2022