The Adventures of Karel Kat

Karel Schickerling also known as “adventures_of_karel_kat” does not use the color black in his paintings because it represents shadows to him. This choice invites contemplation of a deeper meaning. Could it symbolize a childhood trauma and the painful loss of a loved one that, like our shadows, follow him relentlessly? Perhaps the absence of black serves as the artist’s unique way of embarking on a journey of healing, with each stroke of color a transformative process to break free from the shadows that haunt him.

His ability to express himself through various forms of art captures the essence of himself. “From a very young age, I knew art would be with me for the rest of my life, whether it is singing, dancing, painting, or performing,” Karel Kat shares. This realization marked the beginning of a lifelong artistic journey that would encompass a myriad of creative expressions.

Karel’s artistic journey began with his art teacher, Sanet van Zijl, whom he affectionately describes as his spiritual mother. “She really had a profound influence on my art,” he says. “I could speak to her about anything.” Her guidance and support during his school years laid the foundation for his artistic endeavours.

Karel’s love for the stage led him to study theatre at AFDA Film School in Cape Town, obtaining his BA Honors in Motion Picture Medium. It was a transformative experience that challenged his Christian upbringing, but he soon found a supportive church community that became like family. Through this church, he began addressing the trauma of being molested in his youth, a pivotal step in his healing journey.


“I am now open about talking about that dark period as I realize I can help other people in the same situation by talking about it. If you do not address it, it festers in you. It’s like drinking the poison that you intended for your perpetrator, but instead of being a victim, I have fully forgiven my abuser, and that has set me free.”

Karel and girlfriend Lindie van der Merwe whom he lost to breast cancer.

During his time in Cape Town, Karel also discovered a new sense of belonging within the art community. “I found my tribe in the art community.” He also found the love of his life, someone he thought he would spend the rest of his life with. “Her name was Lindie, but she sadly passed away because of breast cancer,” he recounts. Her loss plunged him into a deep mourning period.

Karel’s response to this grief was a passionate immersion in painting. “I would sit and paint for hours, not realizing the time is passing,” he recalls. Colour became a symbol of healing, a visual representation of his journey to emerge from the shadows of his past. During the mourning process, Karel also found solace in a furry companion, a cat named after his late girlfriend. “She used to sleep on my chest, which was something I really needed,” he shares. “The warmth and presence of the cat provided a comforting sense of companionship.”

Karel hosts "Paint n Sip” evenings across the country where people get together to make art under his skillful guidance, while enjoying a glass of wine and snacks.

Karel’s artistic talents extend beyond painting. He has a flair for fashion and styling, often creating his own costumes and outfits. His unique sense of style reflects his authenticity, and he takes pride in being himself, both on and off the stage. “I believe you must stay true to yourself; it is the key to becoming your authentic self.”

Musical theatre is his favourite performing art. “Anything to do with music and theatre brings me alive,” he says. One of Karel’s artistic highlights was playing the genie in the theatrical production of Aladdin. “I did the makeup myself, which took hours to paint my body blue,” he recounts. His dedication to the role and his artistry shone brightly on the stage. He has also released two songs on YouTube, which he did with his friend and Namibian rap artist Dee’A, called Human (which deals with gender-based violence) and Endless Love.

Social media often showcases only the perfect aspects of life, but Karel chooses to be different, “I would like to show my perfect and imperfect life. I love God, and I love art.” He acknowledges the dramatic chapters of his life, but he refuses to let those define him. Instead, his art and his faith become the defining forces.

At the "Coastal Talent Show" he stunned the audience with his performance of Bohemian Rapsody of Queen.

As his nickname suggests, Karel Kat is an adventurer in every sense, with a life characterized by constant exploration of creativity and self-discovery. Whether it’s traveling, trying new art forms, or immersing himself in the vibrant Namibian culture, Karel embraces every opportunity to grow and learn. 

He has an undeniable fashion flair, always turning heads with his unique style. Whether he’s on or off stage, he is his true authentic self, never conforming to anyone else’s expectations.

The adventures of Karel Kat are far from over!


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