Online Art Gallery

Recently I was approached by Jennifer Reynolds from StateoftheArt online art gallery with the view of a meeting. I must say at that point I had never heard of this business venture and my interest was piqued. We met for a coffee and to say that she managed to catch my attention is an understatement. She markets her business with a strong passion for Art, bringing a somewhat unique flavour along with it.

Jennifer Reynolds of
Perseverance by Mila Posthumus

Q: Tell us more about the concept of…

A: I’m passionate about art and believe that art is an important and fundamental part of our society. Living with art and engaging with artists should be accessible to everyone, no matter what their budget. Physical gallery spaces incur overheads which mean that genuinely talented but undiscovered artists are rarely given a voice. I wanted to create a launch pad for these artists and provide them with a platform from which to earn a living while pursuing their creative vision. We showcase and sell works by fine arts graduates and emerging contemporary artists from around South Africa.  I see StateoftheArt as adding a new dimension to the current art-buying experience, opening the art world to people who in the past may have had limited opportunity to purchase and collect art – and because of our low commission rate, we are able to offer customers the opportunity to buy contemporary art – rather than commercial artwork from decor shops – at affordable prices.

Last year we launched Collectors Resale, an online secondary art market for art enthusiasts wishing to divest works from their private collections.

Conversations With My Dog by Sue Kaplan

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get involved in the art scene?

A: Having spent 18 years working for the number one financial news and information vendor in both South Africa and Europe, I was ready for a new challenge outside of the financial markets, and decided to use my savings to start my own business. Living in London I’d been used to shopping online for all kinds of products, including art.  Research showed that while there are many online art buying sites out there, few have strict quality controls, and none focused on South African fine arts graduates. I saw a gap between consumers’ desire to own affordable contemporary art and the need of local artists to make a living.

Bianca’s Hands III by Mila Posthumus

Q: Explain to us the StateoftheArt selection process and Curatorial Panel…

A: StateoftheArt is the only online gallery in South Africa to have a curatorial panel. The Curatorial Panel comprises six art professionals from around the country. We have a democratic selection process – the panel review the submitted applications then vote for the artists they would like to see represented in the gallery.  The panel carefully research each artist prior to inclusion to maintain a consistently high level of quality. They look for a combination of technical skill and unique style – and of course commitment – that they’re an artist by birth, not by choice.

Carousel of Extinction I by Danelle Malan

Q: What support do you offer the represented fledgling artists?

A: StateoftheArt’s commitment to it’s artists goes beyond simply posting their work online. We promote their work through a service called Art Specifier – an art discovery tool for the hospitality and design industry, as well as the corporate world (we recently completed an artwork refurbishment project for Pricewaterhouse Coopers at Century City placing over 130 works by our artists). We also spend a great deal of time marketing our artists to collectors, as well as through the media. Our recently introduced ‘Guest Curator’ series is an exciting promotional opportunity for the artists whose works are chosen for the curated collection. The series aims to help our customers build and shape their own art collections by exposing them to the insights of top tastemakers; people who have influenced culture through their ideas, words, art or business.

Untitled XIV Sea Point Promenade by Tarjei Langeland

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: Nothing beats the excitement of placing an artwork with a novice collector and receiving emails of appreciation from our customers. You CAN buy an original contemporary artwork for less than the cost of a visit to the hairdresser!

Q: What inspires you?

A: The creativity and design coming out of South Africa and local contemporary art – it’s incredibly exciting, it’s intellectual and it’s relevant to our generation.

Q: And your personal taste in Art – is there a certain style or artist you are drawn to?

A: I have a very eclectic taste in art but I like to focus on young talent and emerging local artists. And I’m drawn to the whole graffiti/street art movement – Faith 47 and Freddy Sam – we have an amazing public ‘gallery’ on the streets of Cape Town.

{click on images below to enlarge}

Q: Share with us, in your opinion, a few names of emerging South African artists we should be watching…

A: Adolf Tega, land artist Janet Botes (her nature-inspired Nuances works are sublime), Sophie Peters, Floris van Zyl, recent Michaelis graduate Liffey Speller, Jimmy Law, art photographer Yolanda van der Mescht, the list could go on and on…

Q: What do you have on your bedside table at the moment?

A: A book on the Okovango Delta (Okovango Journey by Robyn Keene-Young) as my partner and I are embarking on a long anticipated holiday to Botswana next month

Wilde Bergroos by Lizelle Kruger

Q:  What is your vision for StateoftheArt going forward?  Kinda like the proverbial ‘5 year plan’!

A: To include a physical space – a working building with a gallery, office space and artist’s studios. To continue to provide an online platform for artists to earn a living and pursue their artistic vision and creative careers without needing to supplement their income via other non-creative avenues. I expect to see a lot more growth on the web and through Tablets and Smartphones from people, especially younger collectors, who historically haven’t purchased from galleries in the past. Today’s collectors can learn about an artwork online or through a social network, see it and then buy it – all with a few flicks of the wrist. I see StateoftheArt Online Gallery becoming a key resource for an art collector beyond the usual venues such as galleries, auctions and art fairs.

One Day Art Exhibition - Invite

ONE DAY Art Exhibition

One Day Art Exhibition - Invite

When we interviewed artist and designer Ashley Wood a couple of months ago for our article on her latest brilliant product range, she was working on new artworks for a one day art exhibition, partially curated by her and fellow Ruth Prowse graduates, Kathrina Foster, Bianca de Klerk, Anya Kovacs and Adele van Heerden. Well, after months of work and preparation the exhibition date and location is set! Be sure to set aside the afternoon /evening of Saturday the 26th of November. Looks to be quite the awesome indie event – it’s got a little underground vibe to it.

For more info check out ONE DAY art’s facebook page: here

The image below was taken at a previous ONE DAY art event. Looks seriously cool!

Previous One Day Art Exhibition

Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

The Road To Greatness

“We have featured the works of Gavin Collins in the past (I am one of Gavin’s loyal fans).  He was the artist commissioned to paint the artwork for our one Irish hotel project.  At the time of the art installation, Gavin joined us in Ireland. Since we shared digs together, many a late night was spent talking into the wee hours of the morning over a few glasses of whiskey.  The net result – I got to know a little bit about Gavin, who is so unbelievably passionate about his art.
There being so much depth to Gavin, prompted me to ask him to come on board and write a guest post for us. In his article below, he opens up an issue that hounds most professionals, no matter what your field, myself included.
Introducing, (long drum roll and announcement made in that singsong voice!) Mr. Gavin Collins…”

Painting of Lower Main Road Salt River by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

 By Gavin Collins

Become an Artist, Interior Designer or Decorator in 6 weeks with this easy to understand course – RUBBISH!

You see this type of thing all the time and some people really believe that they can become good at something within a short period.  Ask yourself, who you know who is great at what he does and has not been doing it for more than 10 years. No designer, no decorator and no artist.  Most successful artists have been painting all their lives.

So you want to be an artist, you go out, you buy yourself some canvas, you print some business cards with your name in a nice artistic script with “Fine Artist” underneath it.  You start painting.  Clearly, things don’t go as well as you expected. The immediate most common route thereafter – you change your business card, which now reads like this: your name and “Abstract Artist” underneath it.  At this point after not selling a single painting, or maybe one or two to your great Aunt, you decide to try your hand at interior decorating.  Now your re-decorate your sister’s house free of charge, leading once again to a change of the business card details.

Once again – RUBBISH!!

Here is how it really works. 

Painting of Voilinist by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

Something ignites a tiny flame inside you and points you in a direction.  You start looking in that direction. You start yearning to understand it. You start reading and you start doing.  The desire gets stronger, the drive takes over and you don’t stop doing.  Nothing else matters, the lack in sales is a non-issue. You don’t need clients – you just love doing it.

 Then one day you begin to realize that if you had an ounce of talent when you started out , 6 or 7 years down the line, you begin realize you that can almost do this thing.  Clients find you, finances come and the drive gets even stronger.  That is how long it truly takes. Tiger Woods started playing golf when he was 4 years old.  It has taken him a lifetime to become great at it. It is no different for anyone you can think of who is great in their profession.  Imagine this- undergoing an operation by a person who decided to become a surgeon last week.  There is very little difference – he does or he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

I remember the day I decided to become an artist.  The smell of oil paint was the ignition. I remember painting through the night and then sleeping on my school desk in the day. I remember painting on every bed sheet my mother owned until I had to sleep on a mattress. I remember painting before eating, before drinking. It consumed me and still does to this day. There is no place in the world that I would rather be than standing behind an easel. It has been 26 years now and I finally understand what I am doing. I recently looked back at some of my earlier work done in the first few years as an artist (or my delusion of being an artist at the time) only to realize now, that I clearly knew very little at the time. I also realize that there is not enough time left to learn all I want to learn about art.

The most common question asked when someone stands in front of my work is, how long does it take to paint a piece.  It is difficult to answer without getting annoyed because it took a lifetime.  What I would call a Master Series Painting now takes me only hours to complete because of years of understanding what paint does.  Every brush stroke is now exact and intentional, whereas in the beginning it was hit and miss.

Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

It takes desire, it takes drive, and it takes hours and hours and hours of practice.

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master.  For this reason, mastery demands all of a person” – Albert Einstei

So, to consistently create great sellable artworks and note I said consistently, give yourself 6 years at least before you print your business cards.  This goes for pretty much any profession that takes skill of the hand or eye.

There is no protection left in the world for the unknowing consumer.  Gone are the days when an artisan had to do a long apprenticeship under a Master or a designer had to belong to a Designer’s Guild. Your decorator may be able to wing a conversation on the latest colour trends but can he/she measure your curtains?

In conclusion, let me leave you with this thought – the next time you hire a surgeon, decorator, interior designer or artist, consider whether they have all it takes to do the job consistently well.

Beautiful Abstract Painting By Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

P.S.  This is my very first blog, so if is not done well wait 6 or 7 years…

Tretchikoff: The People’s Painter

Being a thoroughbred Cape Townian, I was exposed to the frequent press that Vladimir Tretchikoff received through the 60’ to 80’s period. The awareness that we had a controversial artist living in our midst somehow made its impression upon me.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Self-Portrait (1944/1950) Image via Iziko Museums, Photographer, Carina Beyer.

I always liked his work – despite having very little understanding and appreciation for art in my youth and early adulthood, his vivid imagery and sharp colours, always managed to capture my attention. I guess I was one of those ‘people out there’ towards whom he was directing his work.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Chinese Girl (1952) Image via Iziko Museums, Photographer, Carina Beyer.

It almost seemed unfair that he was labelled “King of Kitsch” when he was taking his work to the people, by having exhibitions in the most unusual public places, such a department stores – locally and abroad.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Portraits. Images via Tretchikoff Foundation

Well at a time when kitsch is no longer a swear word and when all that was previously considered kitsch has become trendy, being labelled “King of Kitsch” could actually have a positive spin for Tretchikoff as an artist, as opposed to the unnecessary undermining effect of the past.

The Vladimir Tretchikoff Exhibition at the IZIKO National Art Gallery in Cape Town. Image via Iziko Museums, Photographer, Carina Beyer.

When news of the exhibition hit my ears, I was determined to make my way to the Iziko National Art Gallery in the Cape Town Gardens. I wanted to experience the man as well as his original pieces.  I had an urge to de-mystify the artist.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, Melon Boy. Image via Tretchikoff Foundation
Vladimir Tretchikoff, Kwela Boy. Image via Tretchikoff Foundation

I was not disappointed at all – his vivid imagery and colours still did it for me.  Together with a brief encounter with the exhibition curator, Andrew Lamprecht and the many newspaper clippings, my appreciation for his work was re-kindled.  With one exception – that of the image series he painted to portray his take on the Ten Commandments – they did not do it for me. But viewed in the context of 90 odd images, it is but a minor.

Curator Andrew Lamprecht gestures at a press preview during a retrospective on Vladimir Tretchikoff on April 25, 2011 at the IZIKO National Gallery in Cape Town. Photo courtesy: AFP

To top it all, I actually discovered via a blog article written by his granddaughter, Natasha of the Tretchikoff Trust, that he embraced the same life philosophy as I do. To quote: “Life is about finding something you love doing so much that you don’t even notice time passing. SIMPLY DO WHAT YOU LOVE NO MATTER WHAT”.

Check out this excellent clip VISI compiled of the Exhibition.


His life’s journey as a local and international artist bore testimony to this philosophy. Despite all the challenges and opposition the People’s Artist experienced, he continued to do what he loved, making money while doing it and going on to become a legend of his time.

These famous flower prints where sold in the thousands.

I would urge you not to miss out on the opportunity that we have been afforded through this Tretchikoff Exhibition – go for your own reasons, but go!

IZIKO South African National Gallery
Rooms 4,5,6 and the Liberman Room
For more Images and Info check out the following:
Tretchikoff Foundation Website
IZIKO National Gallery Facebook Page

8 Paintings In 8 Days

Our followers will know that we recently posted an article on artist Gavin Collins. Well it seems that Gavin is being kept very busy of late with portraits of his highly collectable ‘Street Scenes’ (one of my favourite genres of his works) rolling out of the studio.

Day 1

The reason for the roll out – he is preparing to host a City Street Exhibition in 2 months time.  In the past Gavin only painted District Six, Bo-Kaap and Cape Town scenes and has recently added into the fray New York and Cuba.

Day 2

The first time I encountered one of Gavin’s Street scenes I was totally bowled over, so much so that we gave that painting a place of prominence in the Manhattan-style Absolute Hotel in Limerick, Ireland.

Gavin's Street Scene painting selected for the Absolute Hotel & Spa in Limerick, Ireland

However, not only has Gavin taken on the challenge of producing the art within a short period, but he has also challenged himself on a personal level – he is endeavouring to produce at least one street scene a day (eight paintings in eight days). For me that is like bait would be to a fish – very appealing.

Day 3

The news gets better. Gavin is going to be donating one of these street scene paintings to The Sunflower Fund for their Winter Charity Ball that they are having at the Mount Nelson in July. This will be up for auction.

One of Gavin's paintings will be auctioned off at The Sunflower Fund's Winter Charity Ball - what a worthy cause.

Saving the best for last, and moving away from the street scenes – I cannot resist including the image of this painting – The Chariot Race – full of movement and challenge.

Chariot Race

For the last week or so, we here at the Tabloid have been on a bit of an art trail. So watch this space.

A lovely weekend to you all.

Gavin Collins – Contemporary Artist

I don’t profess to be an art fundi or even remotely expert in this field, but in all my recent years of being active with interior design and decoration, and more recently through the magazine articles I wrote, my passion for art is on the up and up.

Gavin Collins

So, last Friday, it was with great excitement that I trundled off (mitt hubby) to an exhibition held at the Westlake Gallery of Contemporary Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.  Gavin and I go back about 6 years. During this time, I had been a huge fan of his work, regularly including his work in our projects.

Gavin Collins

Some of those projects include the large number of pieces which we installed in the Irish hotel projects, leaving us all extremely Proudly South Africa being able to display abroad such a fine SA Artist.

Gavin Collins

Over the years I have watched Gavin’s work evolve and what I saw at the Exhibition was really very pleasing to the soul.  He captures contemporary colours and textures, remaining faithful to the Fine Art Genre.  Colours such as silver and hints of that jewel blue we see emerging into our accessories more and more lately.

Gavin Collins

He has that skill of being able to capture horses on canvas, including those in motion. Putting such a touch of reality into those images, that it leaves me feeling a part of the scene so completely.

Gavin Collins

This exhibition delivered his latest “Horse” image. Due to the enormity of its size, the painting holds a very prominent place in the Gallery.  When I approached it, I felt as if I should turn on my heels and run, so realistic looking is this image – I could almost hear the snorting of these horses.

Then, Gavin did something that I have never encountered at an exhibition yet (not that I go to that many mind you). On a big wall there was a huge blank canvas, with a table full of artist’s tools and paints.  Well, was not too long before Gavin whipped up his brushes and his grubby towel to set to work, filling that blank canvas.

Gavin Collins

It was totally awesome and inspiring to watch him go about his work so effortlessly and to be able to watch the image unfold before your very eyes.  Needless to say, we were all total converts thereafter.

Gavin At Work In His Studio

A quickie Bio on Gavin:

He grew up the son of a farmer, not much into the academics of the time, choosing rather to work with his hands, drawing and painting. At age 16 (after already having his first exhibition at 14yrs) his encouraging parents sent him off the Ruth Prowse School of Art.

Gavin who has a passion for past maters of Art, studied their styles and techniques. Over the course of time and much experimentation (like a true master) he achieved a style of his own.  He uses pleasing pastel colours, thinned to create an almost water colour effect.

Words of Wisdom spoken by Gavin:

“If the important elements such as depth, form, contrast, light and space are not present, then call it what u want, but do not call it art”.

Gavin, like all good men, has a truly amazing lady by his side – pop into the Westlake Gallery where you should meet Amanda – his greatest supporter.

Please do yourself a HUGE favour and click on the various images to view the paintings on a bigger scale – the detail is simply amazing!

Visit his website: www.