Connect with us

Snapshots

Paton Penfold Studios: Sasi Paton & Michelle Penfold

Two artists turn their talent into a successful commercial art business

Juliet Pitman

Published

on

Sasi Paton & Michelle Penfold of Paton Penfold

Sometimes all it takes to spark a businessidea is the realisation that you can do what other people are already doing –only better. Sasi Paton and Michelle Penfold were both employed as artists atan American commercial art studio that was contracted to work on the Lost City.“I went back to South Africa to work on the project and realised that SouthAfrican companies were bringing in international commercial art studios becauseno one was offering the service locally,” recalls Sasi, “We saw a huge gap inthe market for people with skills like ours so we packed our bags to come backhome and set up our own local operation.”

With just R250 each, the partners startedPaton Penfold Studios out of a garage in Durban, offering commercial artservices to entertainment and retail developers. “We were young and veryambitious,” says Michelle, adding that their biggest challenge was to convinceclients that they were on a par with international companies. “They were usedto dealing with overseas operations like the one we had both worked for inRhode Island, so it took a great leap of faith for them to give us a chance.And when they did, the pressure was really on us to deliver excellent work.” And deliver they did. Their first big localproject was for the Gateway Shopping Centre. “They initially had Americanartists in mind to do the project but we convinced them we could do the projectourselves. It involved constructing the 6-metre high suspended figures that canbe seen at Gateway,” Michelle relates. The partners agree that one of thebiggest advantages of being involved in work that occupies a public space isthat it acts as a showcase for what your company can do. The Gateway projectgave Sasi and Michelle the foot in the door that their company needed andopened doors to bigger projects. “One of the projects we’re most proud of isthe work we did in the public viewing galleries downstairs at the aquariums atuShaka Marine World. When we started it was a blank cement wall and we createdthe entire themed environment, doing everything from the sculpting andinstallation of props to the scenic painting,” says Sasi.

She adds that, unlike set building for filmor theatre, commercial art needs to be lasting. “It’s not like creatingsomething that’s going to be dismantled after a couple of weeks and this meansthat we need to choose our materials very carefully. I believe that ourknowledge and use of different materials is definitely a key strength,” shesays. Although no longer the only player in the local market, Paton PenfoldStudios continues to maintain a competitive edge due, in part, to suchtechnical know-how. “There’s a lot more competition than there was when westarted but our competitors tend to do more of a mix of things, whereas weremain highly specialised in our field, particularly in the three-dimensionalwork that we do,” says Michelle. But it’s not all about creative flair ortechnical knowledge, as Sasi explains, “From an operational point of view, it’s an enormouslogistical challenge to co-ordinate projects of the size we are involved in. Itinvolves artistic, mathematical and engineering capabilities. We draw on a hugedatabase of creative people who we need to co-ordinate so that the whole thingcomes together in the end. Strong project management skills are vital to makeit in this industry.” She adds that it was a challenge initially to sourceexperienced local commercial artists, “But we solved that problem by employingpeople who had the artistic ability and then teaching them on the job. As longas they had the basic talent, we could develop them.”

The scale and type of work is physicallydemanding but Sasi and Michelle insist on a hands-on approach. “We are involvedin every aspect of the project from beginning to end. We are very committed toseeing things through personally and I think that has helped us to deliverexcellence in all our projects, including those that had very tight deadlines.”The completion of each new project adds to the company’s growing body of workand continues to open new doors.
Contact: +27 82 453 0701/2; www.ppstudios.co.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Snapshots

27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

Published

on

Prev1 of 28

27-of-the-richest-people-in-south-africa

Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
Prev1 of 28

Continue Reading

Snapshots

Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

Published

on

Prev1 of 51

top-black-entrepreneurs-to-watch

Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

Prev1 of 51

Continue Reading

Snapshots

Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

Published

on

Prev1 of 51

50-top-sa-small-businesses-to-watch

Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
Prev1 of 51

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending