By Melissa Cohen
With a squirt of paint here and a blotch of colour there, South African comedian Casper De Vries has turned to fine art for a boost of creative inspiration. The Artscape Theatre Foyer is hosting De Vries’s self-titled exhibition until April 20.
“I have been working as a comedian for over twenty five years and I have discovered that the thoughts and images I want to create are sometimes easier to put on canvas,” explains the entertainer. Although his rise to fame was in performance, De Vries has recently decided to step off the stage and instead finds himself in the garden or on the couch in front of his easel.
“I have been fascinated by the methods of painting because it is so raw,” mentions De Vries. A lot of the creations he is currently exhibiting pay homage to his ancestry and people who have lived before him by making use of the raw finger painting styles and techniques used during that time.
Many of the paintings in the exhibition are layer-infused with colours and different textures. “I love the thickness of paint and I want people to come up to my paintings and touch them,” says De Vries. From big bulges of random objects protruding from canvases to the layers of earth and syrup that De Vries dried on the paintings and then scrapped off with a coin, it’s clear he let his imagination run wild.
With a bit of satire incorporated in his works, it’s easy to put a name to the face with his two self-portraits that he painted to show the two sides of himself: one humorous, and the other more stern. These aren’t the only arresting images; his paintings also feature his dogs, his aforementioned ancestry and even a bastard king, just to name a few.
The exhibition is suffused with humour, colour and is aesthetically pleasing – all qualities that embody De Vries and the various made up personas of his. “My art is a mixture of my own dish I would say that contains a pinch of expressionism, a teaspoon of impressionism, a cup of abstract and a jug full of imagination,” says De Vries with a grin.