What started you in your career of art? What sparked your interest in creating art?
Art has always been a way for me to communicate. It’s a way of conveying my underlying thoughts, and through expressing my ideas and emotions I feel a sense of catharsis and resolution. I have had many positive influences but my high school art teacher, Mrs Van Wyk, was the first major influence. She would encourage me to express myself freely and always motivated me to develop the work to its full potential. She helped me understand that by dedicating time to the work I could help it grow and evolve. Through this I was able to discover that I have all the resources I need in my proverbial toolbox.
Where are you based? Why there?
I am currently based in Cape Town. I have a strong connection to this place. After living in Korea for 6 years I felt a calling to come home and recharge my batteries for a while. Cape Town has many layers and each layer has a defining energy, right now I’m making the best of the calmness it has to offer.
How would you describe your art?
It falls into the category of Installation Art. My objectives for each project are different and I incorporate drawings and sculptures into one installation. I add earth elements at times too. Grass and soil add a subtle naturalness to the work. The drawings have an abstract expressionistic quality to them, mixing swaths of ink with fine marks drawn with a micron pen. My sculptures are often made up of lenses, wood and metal.
What inspires you to create art?
Everything I see and absorb inspires me. Other people’s unique views serve as a litmus test when regarding my own limited vision and perspective. This lapse in a universal understanding of the way we experience the world is a valuable driver for the work. I’m also inspired by nature; everything that grows and has a story influences my work.
What has been your best memory/experience related to your art?
I have many positive memories and experiences related to art! However, my experience at Artist Residency TEMI is one of my fondest. The art residency was based in Daejeon. Fellow artists were always supportive and the space as a whole was a great place for the incubation of new ideas. It also set me up for other great opportunities such as exhibiting at Project Space Sarubia and being involved in the Young Artist’s Project in Daegu.
Another meaningful experience was when I was at Cheongju Art Studio and had the space to expand my creative processes as well as experiment with my drawing style. Both spaces helped propel my thinking and production of new ideas.
Do you have any formal training/education relating to art or are you self-taught?
I studied at UCT at the Michaelis School of Fine Art and received a Bachelor in Fine Arts.
Any plans/changes/exhibitions/projects/anything exciting on the horizon for the near future?
The horizon is bright with opportunity! Firstly, I am part of an art auction called Pieces for Paws on 16th March 2019 at the Atlantic Golf Course. I have a sculpture that will be auctioned and I am proud to be part of the initiative as it covers so many worthwhile causes.
The auction is in aid of three animal welfare charities: Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Wolwerivier Outreach Works and SANCCOB. It’ll be run by the Giving is Living initiative.
I have also been accepted to an art residency in Busan, South Korea, called Hongti Art Center. I will have the opportunity to concentrate on a body of work for three months. I’m ecstatic to be involved in this space and experiment as much as I can. I can’t wait to see how I can develop my work, especially through interactions with other artists.
Lastly I am working on a project called The See Through Project dealing with sensory experiences. I have always been interested in perception, focusing mostly on vision as a starting point. Incorporating conversations about the effects of refractive eye disorders and reliance on sound and touch to navigate the world, I hope to include other peoples’ stories while developing further research into the subject.
Who are some of your favorite artists (local and/or international)?
Oh, Wanseok is one of my favourite artists. I once walked over one of his installations by mistake and was really embarrassed. He was really nice about it though and kindly pointed out what I had done. He streamlines ideas like no other individual that I know.
I like the way that An Yuri makes poetic videography that draws you in and how Roh Gyeongmin uses the colour red as a subtle but rich mode of depicting ‘Love Motels.’
Khehla Chepape Makgato is another artist who has left a lasting impression on me. His work is evidence of his insight into South African culture and how he seeks to understand his subjects and people in general. He is also an advocate for truth and shows this in his work by displaying his work uncensored.
What other interests/hobbies do you have?
I am passionate about hiking and especially enjoy sunrise hikes.
Temple life in Korea has also always interested me, especially how quiet and perfect for meditation the surroundings are. Meeting other people and collaborating with them through music making and other modes of storytelling such as drawing and doing research has become a hobby in itself.
Collaborating and listening have been great ways to generate positive energy, and it is this energy that helps spur new ideas and connections. I intend on making many more connections!
Jurgen is currently exhibiting a body of work at the Shift Espress Bar in Green Point and Waterway House (near V&A Waterfront) in Cape Town. The exhibition is up until the 5th of February and is well worth a visit.
These works truely showcase the talent and life experiences of this artist melting together and will transport you into a world far away. A small selection of the works are also available online here.