This month we get to know Grant Jurius, a very humble and grounded artist and Cape Town local. Not only will you find some of his murals out and about in the Mother City, but you might also have seen him feature as a DJ at some local events and even at Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (CTEMF2018) most recently.
After chatting with Grant for a while you realise that this man has some serious artistic skills and an immense knowledge of art and music. He is deeply passionate and curious about our past and likes to explore and expose this theme in his artwork to varying degrees. It is so easy to sit down and get carried away in conversation, but we managed to get through some of the important questions so you can get to know the artist.
Let’s jump right into it!
Where are you based? Why there?
I will say I am based in Cape Town and there has been a lot of consideration to move to another city, but I have a lot of love for this place as I was born and bred here. My work is deeply inspired by the land and spirituality of the city. As for where…? I must admit I move around Cape Town a lot as owning a property and being finally “located” somewhere is still a few solo exhibitions away…
What started you in your career of art? What sparked your interest in creating art?
A determination to do what comes naturally to me. I always knew I’d like to be an artist, but I feel like circumstances in my 20’s pushed me to strive for what comes natural to me. My interest in art was sparked very early in life – the first time I ever saw an artwork in the form of the animated movie, “Fantasia”. Other than that nature, the night sky and “the unknown” sparked my interests too.
What inspires you to create art?
Human determination and also life in general is a pretty huge inspiration. I’m surprised everybody is not painting!!! I also feel that creating, documenting, drawing life from life is a human condition and urge. It is an ancient practice and we’ll never break away from nature’s fabric.
How would you describe your creative process?
My work is meant to have a very organic feel about it. I feel that when I have truly achieved a completed artwork is when I completely allowed it to flow through me and not agonize over it because when I do, it feels less natural. I would say, I combine realism and surrealism a lot, mainly because I like to get a feeling of spirit in my work.
Looking at your latest body of work (and what flows from there) it feels like there is a very spritual connection there – what is going into this project that makes it feel so standout, like you are reaching back in time for some answers?
My work deals with the natural self, like the “Son Of A Mantis” series is trying to channel that shamanic character or insight that we all have hidden inside of us. That shaman breathes wisdom, light, art and creativity in everything or at least reminds us of that breath. I feel like these forms and customs traditionally bring us closer to our natural selves, a state that we are constantly separated from by issues and obstacles that trouble and distract us daily. Yet ancient tradition and practices still find a way to sneak into every area and aspect of life. I look at ways of channeling art, drawing, graffiti and DJ’ing as ancient practice in a way that is still relevant today and in a way that may be relevant in the future. Also where these traditions all fit in or rather stand out in an ever advancing technological world.
We know about the art side, but how would this all tie in with DJ’ing and your love for music?
As a DJ, I aim to relate and converge sonic concepts with my visual work. In that, the objective is to explore roots, indigenous and natural rhythms that are entrenched in music throughout time, specifically music recorded to vinyl records. I am a member of the Future Nostalgia collective who dig up & find vinyl records in order to archive cultural musical movements past, present as well as futuristic. We create and curate public events centered around these ideas.
What is your favorite medium/art form both to create and view/collect?
I was most intrigued from early on by surrealistic works and once I discovered more of its roots which are linked to indigenous folk art, it resonated even more. So yeah, I like to see my work take on this element of surrealism.
Do you have any formal training/education relating to art or are you self-taught?
When I decided to pursue this career/journey I knew I would have to be very serious about it as I had no funds to study formally, I did my own research and studies, reading up on the history of art from its various aspects and perspectives. Life, nature and spirituality is probably a good enough teacher too – at least for me, if I’m open to it there’s a whole universe to study…
Any plans/changes/exhibitions/projects/anything exciting on the horizon for the near future?
There are some plans for the future some which are still too early to share, just keep an eye on my social media sites for some exciting projects!
Mainly, collaborations for me is very important and there are quite a few in the pipeline this year. When I say collaborations I mean with multi-disciplinary artists from various backgrounds.
What has been your best memory/experience related to your art?
A stand out memory for me is a trip for which I was invited by a friend to paint her coffee shop in Sodwana Bay in northern Kwa Zulu Natal close to the border. It’s like a whole different planet out there. It was meant to be a two week trip and turned out to be a month and a half painting in Mozambique, spending some time in Durban and eventually ended up with me walking around Joburg city for one whole week with all my bags and painting almost anywhere I wanted along the way. It was also the first time I traveled on my own and spending a lot of time painting and in nature.
Who are some of your favorite artists (local and/or international)?
I have no real favorites but one of the artists that inspired me to finally get up and start my artistic journey is Brazilian artist, Herbert Baglione. An amazing artist, who paints everywhere and on every surface and in Brazil that’s very common. Artists paint on the ground, on the roofs even in the drains & sewers. Brazilian graffiti is one of my biggest inspirations but so is local graffiti, however Brazilian graffiti is like South African graffiti x1000!
What other interests/hobbies do you have?
Too much fun to be had out here!!!
What do you do in your spare time to relax and unwind?
Nature is the best, there is nothing like spending time in nature and just listening to it. The ocean, the mountains and even long flights or road trips (if I’m lucky enough to travel) where I just zone out and think about nothing.
We have been fortunate to have Grant DJ one of our First Thursday events before and will definitely have him back for more!!!
All of Grant’s works are available from our online store and can be viewed if you click here. As a bonus, some of these and other previously unreleased works are also going to be exhibited at both Shift Espresso Bar locations for the month of August so be sure to check it out as you have a chance to be the first to grab yourself a fresh (framed) print!