CRE­AT­ING POS­SI­BIL­I­TIES THROUGH EX­CEL­LENCE

Creative Feel - - CONTENTS -

Artist Proof Stu­dio is one of the most suc­cess­ful vis­ual arts ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties in South Africa, pro­duc­ing top-qual­ity artists and print­mak­ers who are re­spected world­wide. They are lead­ers in fine art print­mak­ing ex­cel­lence, spe­cial­is­ing in arts train­ing, print col­lab­o­ra­tions, part­ner­ships, sales and dis­tri­bu­tion of prints.

Artist Proof Stu­dio is one of the most suc­cess­ful vis­ual arts ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties in South Africa, pro­duc­ing top-qual­ity artists and print­mak­ers who are re­spected world­wide. They are lead­ers in fine art print­mak­ing ex­cel­lence, spe­cial­is­ing in arts train­ing, print col­lab­o­ra­tions, part­ner­ships, sales and the dis­tri­bu­tion of prints.

Artist Proof Stu­dio (APS) is a com­mu­nity-based print­mak­ing cen­tre in New­town, Jo­han­nes­burg, founded by Kim Ber­man and the late Nh­lanhla Xaba in 1991. One of the largest and most vi­brant print­mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties in South­ern Africa, the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s core func­tion is to cre­ate ‘pos­si­bil­i­ties through ex­cel­lence’. This ex­tends from their ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme, which sub­sidises and trains tal­ented young artists, to their alumni and associated artists.

APS’ ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme ac­com­mo­dates up to 100 stu­dents per year, 60 to 80 of which are fully sub­sidised by host­ing, pub­lish­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tive projects with many artists and or­gan­i­sa­tions each year. Some of these stu­dents are fur­ther spon­sored to achieve a univer­sity de­gree.

APS has 30 staff mem­bers and in­terns on its pay­rolls. The or­gan­i­sa­tion em­ploys its fourth-year grad­u­ates as in­terns. Through this pro­gramme, they re­ceive pro­fes­sional work experience and are ex­pected to in­de­pen­dently pro­duce work that can be show­cased on all of APS’ sales plat­forms.

Some of the cur­rent well-known young artists have ei­ther grad­u­ated from or been associated with APS, like Ni­cholas Hlobo who be­came a pro­tégé in the Rolex Men­tor and Pro­tégé pro­gramme and whose art­works can be seen

at ma­jor art fairs around the world. Phille­mon Hlung­wani, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Jan Tshikhuthula, Themba Khu­malo and Nel­son Makamo are a hand­ful of well-known APS alumni.

APS also has a team of master prin­ters who each have many years’ experience in col­lab­o­ra­tive print­mak­ing. Their deep com­mit­ment to ex­cel­lence en­ables alumni and artists who pub­lish with APS to pro­duce some of the most skil­ful, dy­namic and in­no­va­tive print­mak­ing work in the coun­try. Some artists who have used APS’ print­mak­ing ser­vices include Wil­liam Ken­tridge, Wal­ter Olt­mann, Nor­man Cather­ine, Diane Vic­tor, Ger­hard Marx, Willem Boshoff, Col­bert Mashile, Doris Bloom, and Mma­pula Mmak­gabo He­len Se­bidi, among many oth­ers.

By chance (or per­haps not), Cre­ative Feel has fea­tured art­works by APS alumni two months in a row now. Themba Khu­malo’s Let’s Fly To­gether As One graces our June cover – the print de­picts the iconic Tur­bine Hall with a flock of birds fly­ing over it in Khu­malo’s sig­na­ture style.

Khu­malo has be­come known for his emo­tive char­coal draw­ings that cap­ture busy cityscapes and the vast empty fields he ob­serves in and around Joburg where he lives. In an in­ter­view with Kholisa Thomas, Khu­malo said that ‘One of the themes be­hind my work is based on my re­la­tion­ships with people. In my work, I ex­plore feel­ings of con­nec­tiv­ity and iso­la­tion. My at­tempt is to build trust and close­ness with oth­ers through my art­work. There are never hu­man fig­ures in my im­ages. Elec­tric poles, plugs and ca­bles fea­ture a lot in my work, these are metaphors for life, en­ergy, hope and move­ment.

‘The sub­jects are seen in dif­fer­ent con­texts, all out­side, in a city or land­scape. This gives the con­text and the at­mos­phere is cre­ated by the sky. I’m used to be­ing alone and be­ing with my­self. I think this is the rea­son why you will find that my work is so empty; it’s only now that it’s start­ing to have more move­ment and I’m adding hu­man fig­ures in my work. It’s a re­flec­tion of my up­bring­ing, that sense of be­ing alone and as I grow older that long­ing to find a con­nec­tion. I think this is some­thing people who like my work re­late to the most.

‘I have a dig­i­tal cam­era, which I take with me wher­ever I go. I of­ten doc­u­ment scenes be­tween Jo­han­nes­burg and Orange Farm. I take pic­tures of spa­ces and the sky at var­i­ous times of the day. These im­ages are used as a ref­er­ence and from there I de­velop char­coal draw­ings. I like us­ing char­coal be­cause it al­lows for ma­nip­u­la­tion of form and the blend­ing of tones.

‘Etch­ing is my cho­sen print­ing tech­nique be­cause it al­lows me to use the range of tones that are present in the

orig­i­nal char­coal draw­ings. Each work cre­ated is in­tended to cap­ture and evoke a dif­fer­ent mood and feel­ing.’

Since grad­u­at­ing from APS, Khu­malo has par­tic­i­pated in nu­mer­ous group ex­hi­bi­tions, solo ex­hi­bi­tions and had res­i­den­cies in places like France and Ger­many. ‘Artist Proof Stu­dio was one of the best things that hap­pened to me as an artist, I still go back there and it’s like home to me,’ he says.

This year, Khu­malo’s work will be for sale by APS and Gallery2 at RMB Tur­bine Art Fair.

The artist be­hind our July cover, Le­bo­hang Mo­taung stud­ied at both APS and the Vaal Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

A hair­styl­ist in ad­di­tion to be­ing an artist, Mo­taung’s work fo­cuses ‘on the ac­tiv­ity and process of do­ing hair, and the sig­nif­i­cance of hair­styles in women. I am mostly in­flu­enced by the con­ver­sa­tions I have with some of the people I plait.’ She works mostly in print­mak­ing and draw­ing, cen­tring around the theme of hair.

“This ex­hi­bi­tion will serve as a re­fresher on her work, and on the var­i­ous forms of still lifes and what they rep­re­sent”

An­other tech­nique that Mo­taung has de­vel­oped is us­ing syn­thetic hair fi­bres to cre­ate por­traits, with braids and plaits of­ten reach­ing off the can­vas.

Blaque Inq Con­tem­po­raries will present // MORIRI | We’re OUR­SELVES at RMB Tur­bine Art Fair. This will be a ‘hair’ themed solo booth of prints, draw­ings and pho­tog­ra­phy work by Mo­taung, along­side a spe­cial ex­per­i­men­tal hair plait­ing per­for­mance piece and be­hind the scenes short film doc­u­men­ta­tion of Mo­taung’s col­lab­o­ra­tors, in­flu­ences, in­spi­ra­tions and cre­ative process. The show cel­e­brates how hair has taken on many mean­ings in cul­tures across Africa and to­day – a fash­ion state­ment, a medium for beauty but also an ob­ject of loss, a sym­bol of pride, iden­tity, time pass­ing, and ul­ti­mately art.

Artist Proof Stu­dio’s stand at RMB Tur­bine Art Fair is a must visit; find some gems from some of South Africa’s top artists, or in­vest in some of the coun­try’s most promis­ing young artists.

Themba Khu­malo, Cre­ative Feel June 2018

Le­bo­hang Mo­taung, Cre­ative Feel July 2018

Kim Ber­man at work at Artist Proof Stu­dio

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