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The meaning of making art – a personal opinion, July 2015

Life is a journey and not a destination. The German version of this saying tolls: Der Weg ist das Ziel, which translates “the road is the destination”. Isn’t it ironical to consider myself African from a German decent…      (…does it leave a backdoor open? Why do i want to stay?…)

Making things and visualizing ideas is a journey. Often you end up in some bewildered place with no words or language to describe your creation and sometimes you discover a hidden valley of light and beauty. Such is the path of the creative.

At some stage you realize these truths. Failure is but a detour, an essential part of the journey, and success, an oasis to heal your parched lips. Then you set off on your next creative adventure. Your compass is the rising sun and often the itinerary changes as you go along. One thing is certain; you are constantly moving in a direction of accomplishment. When you should be standing still the possibility of progress and change is reduced, close to zero. So, best to keep on moving, keep on making and grow your abilities.

Learn through your process. Don’t be stupid. Although at first you will make many silly mistakes (which are an essential part of the process of learning and a sign that you are not standing still) your failures strengthen the determination of your focus.

You only have one life. There is only one moment to get the shit done. This fleeting moment must be used to its fullest potential. Make many mistakes. Don’t repeat them though. Most important, see your concept through. Finish what you started, even if it looks like a kak idea half way through. Finish it (and compensate). Remember, all you do is part of a journey. Make the most of it. There are destinations but the ultimate one is the journey itself. See your ideas through. Be determined in your travels, otherwise you’ll go around in circles.

Learn a craft. (Music, writing, drawing,…) Especially something challenging. Something that is not easy! Spend at least three years learning it from a master. Ask questions. Ask intelligent questions because you are intelligent. Sweep the floor and clean the tools. (I still do that every day.) Respect yourself and respect your work. Don’t chase a salary because that little monster will eat you alive… Love what you do and learn; you only learn when you are challenging yourself; you experience new adventures when life is a journey, so, its like holiday all the time… (…all above is based on perfect conditions and most of all a positive attitude …)    ….)a DreamScape narrative ecology…(…few actual holidays and lots of experiences…)
Q: Why do you do the shit you do?

(…global economy…? …are there alternatives?…)
I am not a religious person but do believe in spirituality. My Mother always said that god is in you. This gives me strength. God is in everyone!

It honestly is no clear-cut concept determining what one does for a life. Many factors play a roll. Should you take any random person on this planet and ask them why they are what they are they’ll …
Never mind that thought. Make up your own mind.

Why do I do the shit I do? I love the material I work with. I love the fact that so few people know how to work glass by hand. We all use it on a daily basis but have no idea of how it is made or where it comes from.
Mental Exercise: Remove glass from the world you live in… What do you see?

I feel special.

I am one of very few people on this planet that can do what I do. Within the makers of stuff this subcategory of: coldworkers, we all have our specialities. I use the materials at hand and apply the techniques which are known to me and enhance them. (Thank you to my Masters! Watching you and learning to be fearless is dawning on me.)

My sculptures refer to the above statements. They are part of my journey. I love what I do and every challenge gives me inspiration to complete and see the result of my labours; grow my knowledge of the process and material. Is it craft? Yes, ,maybe. Is it art, yes definitely. My work is a personal diary of the journey I am on through this fleeting moment called life.

When I am dead the journey ends.

My work is a personal map of my journey.



Images to follow.

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Tswaing crater just North of Pretoria is one of the greatest day hikes in my neck of the woods. Even the drive up to the old “Soutpan” takes you through unfamiliar terrain, instilling a sense of adventure. Taking the Soutpan road you pass through parts of Soshanguve, an ever growing settlement established by the previous regime. The name Soshanguve is an amalgamation of the various tribes names that were settled in the area back then. Sotho, Shangaan, Nguni and Venda.

I haven’t been up this way for some time and couldn’t miss the new shacks and houses that have emerged from the barren ground. This is the real South Africa. This is where most of the population lives, in townships, far away from the gated communities and golf estates.

The concrete fence of the Tswaing reserve is in tatters. Maybe the beams have been salvaged as construction material for the surrounding housing developments? (Incidentally, the friendly and helpful lady at reception mentioned that they struggle with poachers in the reserve.) Entering the gate you notice that part of the large Tswaing visitor’s center has been gutted by a fire. A skeletal ruin which will be echoed later on in the journey when one passes through the ruins of the old salination plants.

The Tswaing experience has never been cold and this hike was no exception. Although it is the middle of our Winter the mercury must have been in the mid twenties. Luckily I took a hat and lots of water.

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Tonight, 02 July 2015, sees the opening of Jozi(Pty)Ltd. at Art It Is Gallery. This is a group sculpture exhibition featuring Lucas Thobejane, Gordon Froud, John Moore and Lothar Böttcher. Several younger and upcoming artists are also taking part in this contemporary collective of creative explorations.

The show will run till beginning August. Please follow this link to Art It Is for more information.

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Halifax Art in Parkhurst is hosting an eclectic art group exhibition.
Participating artists include:
Lynette van Tonder
Gerrie van Tonder
Themba Khumalo
Eric Eatwell
Braam van Wyk
Louise Barnard
Marina Louw
Lothar Böttcher
…and more.

The show will run for a limited time only. A walkabout evening with participating artists will be announced.

Several of new and previous work of mine are represented at this show.

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I am tired. Today has been a long, strenuous day. We live across the road from an informal settlement. Rumours were flying last night about a possible protest march and blockade of the main artery from Moloto, ferrying workers to their various destinations of employment throughout Pretoria.
At eight thirty p.m confirmation of the possible disruption was broadcast by our local police chief through community WhatsApp channels.
Night had already thrown its thick cold blanket over us. Tension was building inside and outside our house. The intended march was to start at 02:00am and uncertainty muddied our thoughts on potential disaster.
Two o’clock came and we slept lightly. At 03:30 our power went off. No electricity, restlessness mounting its steed…
By four a.m. the WhatsApp channels were buzzing with messages of crowds and barricades on the Moloto road. SAPS, Metro and POPS were ready for them and managed to disperse and prevent a major blockage, on this very busy thoroughfare. It could have been an ugly situation but alas it didn’t turn that way.
At five I was up and made a coffee by gaslight. I could hear shots and shouting from the roadside, “rubber bullets and tear gas” I was told later in the day.
By seven the kids had breakfast and Nicki left the house. I checked the road before they left and there was no way they could get through the throng of people and barricades placed on our Spioenkop road. The best would be to turn righ, away from the main road and take a detour, around the block and along Maroela ave. towards the R573.
They did and Nicki phoned later on after she dropped the children at school that she was intimidated by some of these roughnecks to turn back home. Knowing her she ignored their demands and carried on driving, luckily not over them…
Inglin had to move some stones placed as obstacles to get through to Maroela ave. and they were out of here.
I presume the march and protest is in connection with housing demands of the tenants of the informal settlement on Plot 175. Some rumours also state it is about job opportunities and cancelled projects. Either way, people are fed up. They are fed up because nothing has changed much for the good or better in the last 20 years.

The urban influx of people is accelerating throughout Africa. We cannot deny this fact…
The economy is slowing, unemployment and inflation are destroying prospects of hope. Education has been a farce and still is with greater divides between public and private schooling.
Our dependence on the”super hero” state machinery has become almost comical. We have been indoctrinated that the state of this fine republic has all the answers and will solve all our problems. It has managed to diminish the potential we all have as individuals, to learn and achieve greatness, to respect each other and to be selflessly involved in building our communities.

I want to see independence, growth and opportunities for everyone. A country where people respect and are respected.
I see a country that has a state working for its people and not the people working to keep the status quo.
I see a nation filled with pride and possibilities, fearless and caring. A future with great potential.
I also see a lot of work. We all have to lend a hand, without expecting immediate return, with a vision of a future where we can be one, South Africans, proud and strong.

“8” is the title of my latest instalment on the Anomaly series. Reference is made to the eight sides of this solid optical crystal sculpture, a criptical allusion to the infinite (∞) views and ways light is stretched, pushed and bent before it enters your eye.
To rationalise my work through scientific means would only define a small portion of its essence. The science could be ascribed to the original drawing or concept but the true essence lies in the process, the journey.
This is where intuition, experience and the human touch meticulously shape the surface to reveal the inner magic, an unexplainable experience of not quite understanding but being drawn in at the wonderment of our universe.
I am on journey to define and experience the here and now through my sculptures.

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It is Sunday morning. The dogs have howled twice already, signalling their desire to be fed (actually telling us to get the hell up and feed them).
Its going to be a busy day. Several exhibition openings starting with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia at Alliance Française de Pretoria . An amazing programme of Music, Art & Photography exhibitions and discussions will be presented.
Then later today Beautifull will host their Grand Opening at the Factory on Grant, Norwood, Johannesburg. Several artists (including yours truly) will be exhibiting along side Willem Jansen van Vuuren’s “Beautifull” décor and spectacular visual delights. This promises to be one of those unforgettable & talked about seminal collaborative events … (

Happy Sunday to all!

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