– Toorjan –
Toorjan is a treasured nickname from school that I have assumed for my creative identity. I separate my creative-imaginative-painting life from my ordinary,day-to-day, working life, and using a different name serves this separation well.
I live in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, in the Upper/Great Karoo Region, on a working livestock farm. I am however no farmer by any stretch of the imagination, I work as bookkeeper-of-sorts at a local accounting firm in the neighbouring small town. I love living on the farm because it is peaceful, quiet, slow-paced and fulfills my reclusive nature. I paint usually at night, after work, and on weekends.
I paint exclusively in watercolours on paper and have done so ever since I started painting as a young boy. Colour is extremely important to me, I love bright, bold, contrasting and impactful. I also like my colours to be unambiguous, for example: cobalt blue is identifiably cobalt blue – I do not mix paints to obtain a different hue. I assume my love for colour is a subliminal reaction to: my fairly mundane/routine existence (9-to-5 work day, Monday to Friday) and the area I live in (the Karoo is very rural, very dry and arid, and perpetually brown – which I also love, but one does need a break!). I therefore have the best of both worlds: a colourful, vibrant world of painting, and a peaceful and subdued/restrained world of dusty hues, both stimulating in their own way.
As a subject I have been focused on the human figure, primarily the male figure, for the last couple of years. And also, a bit more recent, portraiture-of-sorts.
I always place subjects in front of structured, patterned, well-defined, linear-oriented backgrounds. I think this is because I like, in life, “things” to be clear, defined and unambiguous.
HOWEVER, I try not to overthink my painting(s) too much. In life, I tend to overthink everything, which always leads to confusion, indecision and apathy – and I dare not bring That to the thing I love most. In the end, it’s just about having fun and giving myself a good time!
Why do I paint? I paint to give myself much needed love, joy, satisfaction, escapism and purpose. Without painting, life will most definitely be dull, less than and purposeless. I am eternally grateful for this priceless gift of imagination and creation.
I am also extremely grateful also to Unsung Art for providing me a platform to show my paintings. Living so remotely as I do, and being the person that I am, it is an opportunity and exposure I will struggle to create for myself. It is an indescribable thrill to know that my paintings can literally travel the world, providing joy to anyone, anywhere. I often, in a quiet moment, catch myself thinking of how a painting I created can be enjoyed at that very moment, by someone whom I do not know, possibly in a foreign country far away, possibly even on a different continent. I find this very surreal, exciting and inspirational.