If you can dream it, you can draw it. The artist imagining a new universe in technicolour


Ree Treweek never wanted to get out of the bath as a child. So her nanny pulled out the plug, telling a fantastical story. The swirling water was caused by a snake that lurked below, waiting to eat her. Later in life, Treweek used the story as the starting point for a comic strip. It also inspired another universe of strange but wonderful creatures in a realm that Treweek brings to life through illustration, graphic design, animation, puppetry and sculpture.

Treweek’s mother and grandmother – both painters – encouraged her creativity as a child. Since then, she has spent over a decade honing her craft, motivated by curiosity and a love for exploration. After receiving a Fine Arts diploma from the Durban University of Technology, Treweek delved into unfamiliar media, experimenting with shadow puppetry and teaching herself to animate. Together with a group of creatives in Cape Town, Treweek formed the Blackheart Gang, serving as concept developer and character designer. When the collective was invited to exhibit their creations at the Commonwealth Games in 2007, they began to attract international attention. The Tale of How, their animated short film, was recognised by the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and bagged 12 awards that year. The unexpected acclaim set Treweek’s career in motion. Today, she is the director of the award-winning concept and animation studio, Tulips and Chimneys.

Treweek is continuing to add to the local creative scene by turning her entire home into a museum filled with her creations. The wonderland of fantasy and adventure is a constant work in progress showcasing the endless possibilities that spring from Treweek’s mind. It’s also inspiring other artists to push the boundaries of creativity and imagination.