IOL Lifestyle |The Mercury | Colleen Dardagan:
Durban – In the 1960s, “discerning” middle- class decorators would rather be seen dead than hanging a Vladimir Tretchikoff original, or God forbid, a print of one of the now famous artist’s “kitsch” on their teal walls.
Fulton School for the Deaf matriculant, Nikita Pillay’s sculpture on display after it was bought by a Durban homeowner. Picture: Colleen Dardagan
Far better to have a Gabriel or Tinus de Jongh. But at a long-ago cocktail party, a rather discerning wag was overheard describing these painters’ grand oils as bearing a distinct likeness to spinach and scrambled eggs.
Today those scrambled eggs fetch a fortune and Tretchikoff’s “kitsch”, owned mainly by two brothers in Joburg, is worth as much as the economy of a not-so-small country.
Real art is perceived to be the domain of the clever and rich, and so, out of reach for lesser mortals.
Pretending in an art gallery to get what the artist is trying to say can be intimidating, because most of the time we don’t get it at all. Art appreciation is a snobby business. On top of that it’s just too expensive. How can the middle-class justify spending R26 000 on an artwork when the home is in desperate need of renovation?
Fact: art is still and always will be one of the best long-term financial investments. But, it is important to know who the trending artists are, and what aficionados predict as treasures of the distant future. Investing in art is that little nest egg for the day it doesn’t only rain but the geyser bursts as well.
Westville Boys’ High School pupil and SA Olympic swimming sensation, Calyvyn Justus, whose artworks are creating waves in the design world. The youngster recently designed the cover for the Arena international promotional magazine on swimming kit.SUPPLIED
But, to hell with the huge investment, forget about luminosity and colourism, or Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s realist phase. To be frank, we do live in a world where plastic junk rules. So let’s not be too hasty to throw out the original and the authentic.
No one can deny that original artworks are beautiful. And the adage – only if an item is truly beautiful is it worthy of display – remains true.
For some reason many of us choose the super kitsch of this technologically-charged environment.
Art is all about the eye of the beholder, but having something real, handmade and interpretative takes interior decorating and the quality of living in that space, to another level.
And, yes, there is a place to find this fabulous art
– diarise September and pop down to your closest high school.
The value of high school pupils’ art is so often neglected and overlooked by the know-it-alls, it’s annoying.
Today’s schoolchildren who take art as a serious career choice are producing pieces that are knock-out stunning. They show a maturity – oh, the snobbery – through their pieces that often evokes raw and unchartered emotion. Their creations are brave and unfettered, brimming with a youthful confidence. Every Durban school worth its salt has an annual exhibition – usually in September – and the work is on sale. Bottom line, these pieces are stunning and serious conversation pieces. They have the potential of making an interior decorating project amazing.
Diarise and make an evening of it. Take a friend and slowly cruise the halls for pieces that catch your eye. Deep introspection or conversation of what the teenager was trying to express at an emotional level is not obligatory.
Just think: beautiful art piece, you like it, it’s original, it won’t cost much and who knows, you may just have bought that future Tretchikoff
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