My art studio is in a permaculture food forest garden that we started growing over a decade ago. It is situated next to a river in Wellington, South Africa. I live there with my childhood sweetheart and her two children.
She was a ballet student at our art school, later accepted into the Royal Ballet, London and now works as a healer, herbalist, psychologist, and guides people in forest bathing.
Recently I completed eight large oil paintings on belgian linen, a first for me and a learning curve as I previously used canvas.
My new sculpture is fairly large and made from baby soft toilet paper, cement, clay, plaster, etcetera type mix that I have developed over the years. The concept of this sculpture called Blue Buddha is based on the same principles as my oil paintings.
The EMIT collage has been cut into several pieces ready to be made larger once I can afford the appropriate indoor space. This work is also based on my oil painting concept/ expression. Although this work has been exhibited for many years it is incomplete and needs to be at least three times the size for the substance to function as intended, probably about twenty meters by fifteen.
From a very early age I began to realise that society was a minefield and could not be trusted. From the weekly teachings of the Catholic church being incongruent with how people behaved towards each other, the inequality of Aparthied and so on.
Although I tried to avoid or oppose these pitfalls of society, by not signing up for the military to go and fight my black brothers and sisters or preserving the integrity of my passion, talent and vision to serve society. It eventually got the better of me, preying upon my vulnerability of the love and parental bond I shared with my daughter. With our societal gender discriminating laws they abducted my three year old daughter from my care while using her as a weapon to extract money from me for their judicial system.
Prior to meeting her mother when I went to sell art at the Grahamstown arts festival. I showed my art to the Goodman art gallery and Everard Read art gallery in Johannesburg. They were very interested and wanted to see the progression of my work in a year's time. I have not been able to go back since and that was about thirty years ago.
My art career went all over the place as I met and married a woman who has psychological problems and wreaks havoc with everyone she encounters. I was the primary caregiver to our daughter who at three years old became a victim of what is described as the worst possible case of parental alienation syndrome. She was also a victim of parental child abduction twice. I tried to fight for her rights for over ten years but eventually decided to stop before it killed me.
During this time I had to sell my artist's soul so to speak, painting under a number of different names in a number of different abstract and realism styles that were commercially in demand at the time. Hyde park and Sandton type commercial galleries were the selling grounds for these works that fed my lawyers.
My collage artwork called EMIT was the only artwork chosen from Durban for the Spier art competition. Later it became part of a traveling exhibition titled Twenty: Art in the Time of Democracy, Contemporary Art From South Africa. This is one of the works that emanated out of the loss of my daughter.
It was shown at the Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA for six months. The Pretoria Art Museum and the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery. Prior to this EMIT was exhibited at Young Blood Arts and Culture Development Foundation Cape Town and at Grande Provence Art Gallery, Franschhoek, Western Cape for two years.
I exhibited at group shows and sold works at Gallery 88 Paarl, Ebony Art Gallery, Art @ the waterfront and Angels 6 exhibition at Grande Provence Art Gallery.
A solo sculpture exhibition at Creation Wines, Hermanus Fynarts Festival and painting sculpture and collage exhibition at Grande Provence Art Gallery, Franschhoek.
Although I don't agree with art competitions, I went crazy one year and entered a few. I thought if I won one it may be a way to catch up and circumvent the fact that I have not followed the expected path of the appropriate solo exhibitions in the right places.
Certificate of recognition awarded for the artwork 'Metaphorical African' at the Young Concrete Sculptor Awards Art Competition sponsored by PPC Cement.
Finalist at Vuleka Art Competition, group exhibition at Art.b Art Gallery Bellville Cape Town.
Finalist at Hermanus Fine Arts Competition.
While fighting for my daughters best interests I had to move a lot. I had an art studio above Artspace Durban and made and sold work from there.
Solo exhibitions at the Nederburg Knysna Art Experience, another at the Old Arts Gallery in the University of Pretoria curated byThea van Schalkwyk and Carfax art gallery.
Group exhibition at the Visual Arts Foundation Gallery in Johannesburg where British Petroleum acquired one of my works.
My first solo exhibition 'The Introspective Mirror', sponsored by BMW at the Auto Atlantic Art Gallery Cape Town happened about a year or so after the collapse of Aparhied.
Before this I was in a type of exile from military conscription and living as an illegal alien in London for four years and Barcelona for a year.
The perfect way to study art is from the original. This I did constantly at galleries, exhibitions and sculpture parks in London, Florence, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Montreal, New York and Washington.
Exhibit at group exhibition in Regent Square Art Gallery London.
Informal exhibitions in Barcelona Spain.
Traveled to Belfast, Greece, Turkey, Amsterdam and Peru for about a year.
Studied fine art at The Byam Shaw College of Art London.
Diploma course in fine art at the Durban Technikon, some of my art teachers there, Penny Siopis and Andries Botha.
Johannesburg Art, Ballet, Music and Drama School for three years. An open minded school where we were able to do art for more than half of each day. I got distinctions in all art subjects.
Two of my main caregivers during childhood Apartheid time were Clara, my biological mom who was a strong creative and Anna, my Basotho mom.
Anna was wise and spiritual and we all loved her, that is my four older sisters and two brothers. My father was Italian who left Italy to escape fighting in the second world war.
At seventeen Anna modeled for a life size portrait about oppression, my first anti Aparthied painting.
We lived in Johannesburg where their was a fair amount of anti-apartheid art in a Braamfontein art gallery my schoolfriends father and mentor Wolfgang Weinik managed and at Wits university art gallery where my girlfriend studied.
Aside from my first art teacher who became angry, screaming at me for drawing bunny rabbits too realistically because she could not understand how I could draw so well. I have been encouraged and supported throughout my life.
My second art teacher, Ms Tomei, allowed me free reign of the art room while the rest of my class did other subjects that she deemed not necessary. She taught me how to make batiks, lino and woodblock prints, paint, sculpt in clay and plaster of paris and other mediums.