“Short Version”

I don’t like to “brand” myself or put myself in a box, I am just… Me, it is ALL that I know how to be… I Am what I Am.

Life is just a story of self discovery and self-expression and this is a bit about my journey up to now:

I grew up and was educated in the Free State province of South Africa. I started my national service in 1986 and decided to stay in the SANDF until 1995 after which I studied jewellery design & manufacturing for just over a year and did an apprenticeship as a goldsmith for another 2 years. I then taught myself how to weld and started Steel By Hugo with the aim of “up-scaling” what I associated within jewellery creation however, I got stuck in the construction side of steel work and never really got the chance to express and discover my true heart’s potential with steel… It was during this period in my life I reached a personal crossroad, “What is life all about, and what is My Purpose here”?

Since 1995 I stayed an active member in the Reserve Forces of the SANDF, packed up my life as it were and volunteered for a United Nations peace keeping mission which was stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After that, in 2006, I ended my relationship with the SANDF, packed all my earthly belongings and went to Cape Town to become an “artist”, well, that kite did not fly…

Unbeknownst to me at this stage, a process of self discovery and setting myself free had begun… In the pursuit of money, I worked for the longest 7 months of my life as a Call Center Manager in Stellenbosch, where I changed my mind about money and started to pursue my own happiness and what gives me joy and entered the world of Outdoor Adventure.

Living in a functional “abandoned” farmhouse, I “threw” people off a bridge and got paid for doing it, ha ha. I managed a Bridge Swing operation at Gouritz River Bridge where I moved on to become a camp manager, then got qualified and started freelancing as a river guide, all whilst being the in house cook, guide and facilitator living next to the Breede River. During the off-peak seasons I started being creative with steel again, also venturing into making lights with “treasures” and beads. My journey then took me to Botswana where I worked and stayed on an island in the middle of the Okavango Delta, after which I experienced the vastness of the Makghadigadi pans where this journey ended and took me back to Gauteng (the place I left in 2006).

While waiting for a suitable working opportunity somewhere in Africa, I started experimenting and being creative with rustic woodwork and further experimenting with beaded lights. Unable to financially sustain myself I accepted a corporate garden maintenance position in a business (owned by my brother) and during this period, I started making my Rustic Steel Aloes. I resigned from this position hoping to be self-sustainable with my Aloes, but it was not yet meant to be…

I am currently staying on a farm in North West, where I:

MAKE USE OF DISCARDED ITEMS [no longer considered (to some) useful or desirable], MATERIALS (the matter/medium/substance or substances from which an object is/was or can be made up of or composed of) and TREASURES (objects that have been discovered, accumulated – several “things” grouped together or considered as a whole unit) – turning them into RUSTICATED (made in a plain and simple fashion, in particular: homely, unsophisticated, homespun, peasant, rough & ready – having a rough or textured appearance) FUNCTIONAL
(designed to be practical and useful – having a special activity, purpose, or task ) handcrated WORKING PIECES (articles, “things”, objects, units, modules, commodities, products, elements) – giving it/them a SECOND CHANCE (another opportunity, second try, another take) at LIFE



My inspiration comes from old “things” – something with character!

For example;

Steel, Wood, Glass, Beads, Old Furniture, Mirrors and the likes of, I don’t know, I just know it when I see it… You know, like steel that rusted, shiny, deformed, bent or broken. Different components, forms, shapes and sizes – the older the better really…

Wood that is weathered cracked, painted and aged…

Glass of various colors, shapes, sizes and textures, whether broken or not, I see the beauty and potential and can, have done so and will make it work.

Scrap yards, certain rubbish dumps, second hand shops, thrift shops and pawn shops excite me with all the potential waiting to be rediscovered, rescued and recreated into something renewed.

I Am Passionate About

Recycling, Revamping, Refunctioning, Reinventing, Repurposing, Rebirthing, Restyling, Rescueing, Refurbishing discovered elements into one-of-a-kind BESPOKE handcrafted working pieces that have purpose and serve one, if not more functions.

I don’t really design or draw anything beforehand, it just kinda comes to me as if I just know what to do with it or when and where to use it. You know, like when you’re “in the zone”?

Artistic Goals For My Work

Handcrafting purposeful bespoke pieces, individually crafted with care, passion, love and devotion which bring beauty, joy, contentment and positive energy into the viewer’s and one’s home and life.

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