The passion for art started when I was in Junior Primary School in the early 1970's. I entered a 'Design & Color' competition which was held at my school. It took days of involvement; and I got lost in the experience of design. I loved it! A few weeks later I was surprised to be called to the front of the hall during assembly for being awarded a trophy for first place. I was dumbstruck by the recognition!
Later, still during my years in Primary school, I had an interest in doing leather work. I produced belts and hand bags working from the designs in my imagination. When the whole family met at my grand parents home for a social event I would disappear; and would be found later in my Grandfather's workshop. It was my "heaven". I would find scraps of materials, use tools to work on the scraps and make tools that would aid my work with leather. These home-made tools enabled me to put unique designs on my leather work.
In High School, Art was my favorite subject. My peers would compliment my designs and paintings and I was sometimes asked to paint something on the back of the bags they wore on their backs. I earned a distinction in my Art practical in Grade 12.
After High School I studied Mechanical Engineering at the Military College during military training. In stead of the compulsory 2 years, I did 4.5 years. In addition, I made jewelry in my spare time. I started by acquiring scrap brass, copper and nickle. I also used random objects which I had collected. Objects like stone and wood were used to design a piece of jewelry made up of mixed media. My work was well received in Pretoria at that time and then later in different areas around South Africa. Some of my designs were placed on models at fashion shows in Pretoria, Sun City and in Durban. I was thrilled to introduce my "creations" in Amsterdam, Munich and South Hampton, England.
While still in the military I was involved in a serious motor accident and was told by doctors that I might lose the use of my hands! In addition I had experienced bad head injury which resulted in short term memory loss problems. During rehabilitation at the hospital, while doing practical exercises, I was awarded a distinction for some '3D' work I did. The doctors were amazed when comparing my medical reports and the art that was in front of them. More tests were done which found that my practical IQ was above average. I thank God for this and for my hands!
After leaving the Military College I started sculpting with brass, copper and mixed media.
Due to this accident I was unable to complete my studies. I then purchased a van and trailer, drove around the country and exhibited my art, jewelry and sculptures at different places all around South Africa.
Many years later I discovered the Garden Route. I moved and stayed in the Knysna, Sedgefield area for about 27 years, sculpting, selling and exhibiting in that area. It was also during this time that I worked as a Goldsmith at different Jewelers in that area, for a couple of years.
After my wife bought me a bonsai as a gift one year I became interested in bonsai and started sculpting trees, slowly developing them into those"wonderous" little trees. After only about 4 years learning about bonsai I entered into a regional competition in the Garden Route area. I was awarded second place. The scores were so close that both myself and the vice chairman of the club qualified for the finals of the SABA (South African Bonsai Association) to represent our area in the "Young Designers New Talent" competition. I was awarded first place in that National competition! I then developed a Bonsai and Brass Gallery in Sedgefield, Western Cape.
My wife and I now live in Betty's Bay, allong the Whale Coast in the Overberg area, Western Cape. I've also developed a Bonsai Nursery and Gallery here in my garden. In addition, I have started sculpting again! In fact I'm "over the moon" I'm loving it!!! I am Sculpting in Brass and in sculptors Wax, then having my work cast in Bronze.
Living here and doing the work I do, from Bonsai to sculpting and having the relationship I have with my wife and incredible children, I think this is the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling time of my life!
Thanks again to God my father.