Meet Mike Haffenden:

  • award-winning professional artist and teacher
  • studied in United Kingdom
  • runs his own art school
  • taught in schools and collegeprofile pic

And the best thing is when you join my classes (every Tuesday and Thursday @ 18:00 – 20:00 (other time’s negotiable) I’ll share my professional art secrets with you.

I believe everybody has the ability to create great paintings and drawings.  The true trick though is knowing how to see with an artist’s eye and this, I can teach you.

Interview with Mike Haffenden:

A little bit about Mike: 

It all began at the age of 7, at Sunday school, when I won a set of colouring pencils for, dare I say, stunning drawing of a bedside lamp with a picture of a lady on it. From here on in I was hooked.

I was born in Eastbourne, Sussex in 1952, near the English coast. My mother always encouraged me, so from a young age I have always been inspired by creating a piece of art from humble beginnings.

Every Drawing, Painting, Design and even digital drawings, All “start with a pencil”. And the way pigment and canvas can be put together to create a picture fascinates me as much now as it did then.

A little bit about what Mike offers our Community:

Mike hosts Art Retreats on a bi-annual basis. These retreats are designed for those of us Photo from Nestene Botha (3).jpgwho’d pay anything to just to get away for a bit, and not just physically, but completely (mind, body and soul). They usually last about a week and are hosted in Shelly Point or the Atlantic Beach Resort (accommodation is included, with a semi-private beach). Here, Mike uses Art to facilitate relaxation. Art is an immersive way to engage the mind and express ourselves.

art therapy 1.jpegHe also offers weekly art classes, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 18:00 to 21:00 (other times can be arranged via whatsapp/ facebook/ email). During classes he works with each person individually. Classes are priced at R150 per class attended, payable in advance.

He also makes and sells beautiful greeting cards Mike's greeting cards image 2.jpgfeaturing his art and the art of his students. Students may wish to sell their art in this way to generate a little bit of extra income, support a charity and/or start making a name for themselves in the world of design.

His One Day “Exclusive Art Experience” is in the process of being listed on Airbnb. Keep your eyes open. This will attract more tourists to our community. For the benefits of supporting tourism initiatives please checkout this post.

Where did you Learn to Draw, Paint, Design?

 I worked as a chef to put myself through art school at Eastbourne Art College (Sussex, UK). I studied Fine Art and Design both at Foundation and Degree level, acquiring a BA degree with distinctions.color elephant.jpg

So then where did you learn to teach?

I got into teaching by teaching Apprentice’s for MAPPPSETA, Varsity & Damelin (South Africa). This was formal training at the highest level which proved to me how important good tuition is and how hard it is to come by. That inspired me to do what I do today.

Where have you worked?

Once I gained my BA in Fine Arts, I embarked on a formal career in design, hungry to see the world. Work included exhibitions and large trade shows. I ventured overseas working all over Europe, sketching, designing and drawing everywhere I went.

On returning to the UK, I got into tutoring other art students. In 1997 I immigrated to South Africa to pursue a career in digital media at NASPERS. During this time I completed several practical courses and exams at MAPPSETA who then convinced me to start writing learning manuals for, and teach on these courses. The more I taught the more I realised that I have a very special and unique talent. I can give people an insight into the world of art and INSPIRE the hidden creativity hiding within them. I was soon approached by Damelin (Varsity College) where I became a senior lecturer. The subjects that I taught included Drawing techniques, Computer design, History of art, Journalism, Fashion design and Interior design (essentially the whole Arts Faculty). Again, it was a great privilege for me to pass on my knowledge to those eager to learn.buck.jpg

I’d always drawn and painted on the weekends and being able to pass on my knowledge and experience reminded me of my love of drawing and paint.  The natural next step, when I retired, was to set-up a Studio, Gallery and Art School with my wife and great love, Renee. which gave me the creative freedom I’d been missing.

What Inspired You To Become an Artist?

The excitement of seeing (what were just) colours on a palette transform into a face or a landscape that transports you to another place. Creating. To this day it never fails to amaze and excite me. For me, art wasn’t a conscious decision; it’s been something I’ve always done and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Ever since I can remember I’ve always been creating things, being fascinated and drawn to inspiring images. Contrast and colour in nature; a cracking sunset, a cloud just changing shape, the nostalgia of seaside holidays and the coast. How can you not be inspired by that? I could be drawn to a shape, see an interesting shadow, or a splash of colour. Often it has an element of Chiaroscuro or a contrast of colour.

Mike's greeting cards image 3.jpgI also just love the process of painting. Using raw pigments to create perfect colours is a fascinating process. I often become immersed in the process of creating colours. Sometimes I even dream about pigments.

Artists who inspire me include, but are not limited to, Velasquez, John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Joseph Wright of Derby, Turner, Gerhard Richter, Bouguereau. I could go on and on… I also am a great fan of cinematography, especially the work of Darius Khondji, Roger Deakins and Christopher Doyle.

What’s A Typical Day Like?

I usually get up early and go open Renee’s school (she runs a day-care centre next door). In the evening we go for a walk with our dogs or to our lovely favourite beach. It’s a great time to get inspired, talk and take in the day. She helps keep my over active imagination somewhat attached to reality! I usually have about 20 new, exciting, genius ideas every day! Another favourite pastime of mine is researching old texts on traditional painting techniques and I often see Renee’s eyes rolling when I tell her the amazing properties of Indian Red!IMG-20170225-WA0010

The evenings usually draw me to the studio where I teach, draw and paint, often late into the night. I enjoy the ritual of setting out the drawing materials and paints. The textures and smells fills me up with healthy energy. I work on drawings, landscapes and portraits and often have numerous drawings and paintings lying around the studio, usually precariously propped! In-between drawing and painting I research painting digital media techniques and find it enormously rewarding to pass on knowledge to eager students.”

To get in touch with Mike:


Whatsapp: +27 78 975 7836




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