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I have no formal art training. The world of the artist has nothing to do with your upbringing, it has everything to do with hype. Van Gogh was poor, Picasso was poor, we were all poor at some point.
In 1987 I left school and was forced to do two years national service. It was a waste of time to me, except the army taught me respect. In 1989 I got a job as a trainee Technical Illustrator. You know, those guys that draw exploded views of engines and stuff. I spent two years drawing small nuts and bolts as I slowly moved up the ranks to be in charge of 10 people.
In 2001, I played around for a while to find the right medium, style and use of colour that would get my feelings across.
I wanted to show the world, through my art, that I disliked conditioning. This has resulted in what we today term human society. The whole human element brought on by greed and policing have led to the building of barriers between what we think is freedom and what real freedom is. I wanted to be unique. I wanted to take the lead. I wanted to produce my thoughts through objects in the most simple, colourful and pure way.
I have always had a passion to create, now I had found how I could marry my hatred of conditioning with my love of art. Art was my answer. This was a great day. An even greater day when I dropped off five paintings at Hout Bay Gallery and the owner, John Hargitai, agreed to hang my paintings in his gallery.
John’s partner Marika bought my first painting, right there and then, for R300. The other four were sold in the same week. Seven more sold in the following three weeks, and 112 in the next 10 months. Two years later, sales topped 500. In the beginning, I remember looking at the art in Hout Bay Gallery wishing I could hang there. Now I read ArtReview and wish I could hang there.
If I look back now as I read about art, I realise that the work of most artists worldwide follows a theme close to them or their country. I was passionate about being universal and not taking on a label. I steer clear of issues and focus on simplicity and colour. I want people to enjoy my art on their walls, not spend hours trying to figure out the issue, meaning or hidden message. Maybe as you become more renowned, it cannot be avoided. With this in mind, I realise art is a game. I was hooked and loved the game of art. Yet, for me, the game had only just begun.
I found myself painting white with thick black lines surrounded with solid vibrant colour. Partly thanks to Paul Gauguin, who once told a student “if you see pure vermilion, paint pure vermilion”, and mostly thanks to me wanting to get a my message across.
The white represents the pureness of the subject. The secret world within the subject, the secret world within every object and creature, big or small. The secrets we, as humans, only bare to those very close to us. The world that we know so little about. Society has conditioned us to ignore this and focus on the outer shell, the colourful outer shell. We only expose the pureness when we break down our lines and can no longer cope with the situation society has presented us with.
We choose to see the colourful side of subjects. It all stems from evolution and our origination from apes. A place where the colourful and strong creatures get to eat and mate to ensure survival.
Society has conditioned humans to draw such hard thick lines between our outer and inner beings, that we cannot see the white for the colour. Humans even do this with nature and man-made objects. We choose to ignore the animal life and mountains and forests. We choose not to see the pureness of these subjects, we choose to kill and cut down to use in our colourful society. Our conditioned society.