Nature Inspired Creativity

Artist Johan Smith grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe. While studying agriculture (U.S.) he took up ceramics part time. Within two years, his work was selected for both the Regional and National exhibitions of the South African Potters Association. 

After moving to Bethlehem in 1987, (working as agricultural researcher) he set up his own ceramic studio. Soon the tedious production process and limited palette of ceramics frustrated him. This led to experiments in watercolour, pastel and etching. In 1995 Johan quit his job to practice art professionally. The vitality, boldness and versatility of oil intrigued him, and has become his sole passion.

Being self-taught, Johan has developed a very distinctive style. Thin application of oil resembles airbrush work which contrasts well with areas of thick impasto. Scratching through the paint creates perspective and texture. His interest in photography and love for nature serve as his main source of inspiration. 

His landscapes are uncomplicated, with little or no detail, resulting in a naive and quiet interpretation of our vast African sky.

I do not paint to make statements, I paint because I have a God-given talent which brings joy.

Johan SMith

In contrast, Johan’s florals are colourful, prolific and abundant. Johan has received widespread recognition for his work. In February 1998 the Gencor Gallery (RAU) invited him to show his work. 

Paintings of the artist have also been included in a number of public and corporate collections (SAA, RAU, Telcom, BOE Head Office, Free State Technicon Hotel School, Central East Agricultural Co-op). Johan’s positive outlook on life, strong Christian beliefs and support of his wife, Stienie, and their three sons, Lou, Sebastian and David, has enabled this young artist to make good progress in his career as a professional artist in a relatively short period.

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