The Art Of Making Mistakes – Floris Van Zyl
TO PAINT, YOU NEED THREE THINGS: THE EYE, THE HAND, AND THE HEART. COMBINING ALL THREE OF THESE INGREDIENTS, FLORIS VAN ZYL IS CHARTING HIS OWN DISTINCTIVE PATH WITH PAINT.
If there is one thing that making art has taught artist Floris van Zyl, it is not to be afraid of making mistakes. “The journey is constant, between listening to the inner voice and making the choice to take action. The minute you make a decision, if you feel it is disharmonious with some other plane of existence, only then should you go back and try again.”
Van Zyl did exactly this when he traded in his successful career as a graphic designer for a go at being a full-time artist. For 17 years,Van Zyl had put up with managing clients and delegating tasks, before finally throwing in the towel in 2008 when the global economic collapse was the perfect excuse to close up shop.“I’d had enough of running a business because, ultimately, the designers were doing all of the creative work, I just had the concepts.
“Ar t for me echoes life, it is a metaphor for all life.To create and to give brings purpose and reason for living.At some point in our evolutionary process, each of us begins to realise that it is not the having that fulfils our soul, but rather it is the act of creating that brings us satisfaction.”And so,Van Zyl decided that his happiness would lie in creating art, rather than just conceptualising it. He
sold all of his possessions and went on a bike trip through the country, soon discovering a different world, free from the mania of metropolitan life – the life of an artist living in a small town.
THE LIFE OF A PAINTING
In his work, Van Zyl migrates between realism and abstraction where, for him, true emotion lives somewhere between what the world would like to see and what he wants to portray. “My mind always wants to pull back to what it knows, constantly searching for the known, the safe, and the recognisable shapes in the abstraction processes. It takes courage to come to the edge, and jump, letting go and allowing the artwork to happen.”
When asked where he draws his inspiration from, Van Zyl references his surroundings and personal experiences. “I see our creations as a retranslation of experiences, through our senses and soul awareness, through our own unique expression. People try to like the same things, but the truth is that each of us sees things a little bit differently than others, and that is where we grow – when we come to value our differences more than our similarities.”
In some of his latest works, Van Zyl aims to depict the struggles faced by both animals and humans alike.“Humans, like animals, fight for a number of different reasons,” he explains. “Some of these fights may take place to keep rivals out of a good feeding area, or a parking spot at the mall. Within this is the concept of righteousness – a very delicate thing to work with, because it has an element of anger in it. Righteousness is judgmental. It is all about power and who is more powerful than somebody else.”
THE ROAD AHEAD
Looking ahead, Van Zyl hopes to spend another year in the Western Cape, working from his studio in McGregor – a quaint town well worth visiting if ever you are in the area. Van Zyl describes it as:“A place where everything becomes very clear and amplified energetically.A place where one comes to face yourself.”
Going forward,Van Zyl endeavours to face himself through his artwork.“I am truly starting to value the mess-ups more, as they teach me how to carry on, in tune and more on point with where and who I really am. Everyone should be courageous enough to make those mistakes, as they can teach us a lot.”
To view his work, and to find a list of galleries which feature his work, visit www.florisvanzyl.com.