• Nicolas De Jesus

    Nicolas De Jesus
    • Artist Statement
      • “It’s 5 am, lying in my bed, wiping my eyes as the salty breeze makes itself noticed, hearing waves break, you would think I’m on an island. I’m not, I’m in a seafront apartment in Cape Town, no 207, with my brother in the next room. I shout across our small studio: “Surf?”. We are pretty much out the door, in the car, phoning friends who have already set off in the same direction, because we all know the waves could be amazing! Before long, we are crossing into the private land of a farmer, permission given to surfers in order to gain access to a particular stretch of beach. There’s no telling what that “feeling” at 5 am was, it just is”.

        Observing the seas and its environment, learning about the changes in the atmosphere, furthered my intuitive understanding of the ocean and how she might behave for the simple pleasure of riding one of her waves. Cultivated by a shared knowledge and experience, as a surfer the connection to the ocean and its coastlines are innate.

        Exploring our land and sea, observational drawing combined with intuitive mark making and perpetuated by a visceral response to data, questions, memories and my immediate environment, make up the foundations to each collection. Working on several pieces at the same time, outdoors and within the studio, allows me to propagate the techniques rendered in each environment. Charcoal, pastel and oil, a shifting monochromatic pallet influenced by my history with photography and, in particular, with 19th-century photography. The practices and philosophies of the French Barbizon painters from the same era, inspire my own working practices.
    • Biography

      • After honing his craft as a Staff Photographer and Art Director for an independent action sports magazine in his hometown of Cape Town, Nic emigrated to London in 2007. He spent the following years developing his techniques and researching Art History. It was Nic’s first sold-out solo exhibition in December 2015 titled Mare Incognitum in Brighton, UK that propelled him into his current drawing and painting practice as Artist & Tutor.

        Nic’s work is concerned with the deminishing line between man & nature. He is currently at work on his collections, ‘Mare Incognitum’, ‘A Light In The Valley’ and ‘The Fire Next Time’. His work is in private collections around the world.

        2017
        Artist In Residence, Saltmarsh House, East Sussex, UK 2017
        2015/16
        Solo Exhibition – Brighton, UK

        2017
        Nitram Charcoal Creative World, Germany, commission 2017 - Nitram Charcoal artist film

    • Interview

      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        William Kentridge.

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        I'm still exploring this plethora of wonderful South African artists

        If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
        'The Return of the Prodigal Son' by Rembrandt

        How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
        I never considered the word 'Artist' when I was growing up. I was, however, always making things and sharing them with my family. I have always been sensitive and receptive to my surroundings and finding ways to translate that observed and felt a sense, I think it has a lot to do with growing up in a surfing community where I often tried to describe what the surf was like to my parents and friends. So, I guess in a way I was gravitating to continuing just that - sharing what I've experienced through my craft.

        What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
        My work looks at firstly my own relationship with the world through the lens of Landscape Drawing and Painting. I explore the cycles of our natural weather systems including an accelerating climate and an altered landscape through our history as a species on this planet. The core theme in my work is the diminishing line between the natural world and our species resulting in a more symbiotic relationship with the natural world.

        What inspired your latest body of work?
        'The Fire Next Time' my recent collection was brought about when I returned to Cape Town in 2018 after 10 years abroad. While on the airplane from London I met a property investor explaining to me that he has to return to Cape Town to sort out a borehole due to the lack of water. I then encountered a landscape altered by wildfires. These were the jumping off points to my recent collection.

        Tell us more about your creative process.
        My process is simple, really. I draw daily and I make time for Five phases to occur, I'll surmise. (1)ON THE ROAD: a period of looking and presence, this can take place while surfing, running in the mountains or walking with a loved one or watering my plants – It's physical & sensory. (2) THE PALACE: I look at this as subconsciously moving parts that are being organized without me consciously interfering. (3) NURTURE: This is exploring the rooms of the 'Palace' the experiences, visuals, and emotions, then drawing or painting them out through various mediums. (4) THE RIVER: Deciding which series the new drawing/painting sketch could be further explored - Technically or conceptually or will it be a standalone composition or something I'll re-visit later for a potential new collection. (5) THE WATERFALL: Committing to the final composition which has its own process.

        What drives you as an artist?
        Nourishing my relationship between craft and the natural world. Sharing my discoveries which in turn I hope will stimulate further research and dialogue for the collectors of my work. The idea that one can be his/her own archeologist and through a systematic process of discovery returns with artifacts for consideration.

        Do you have a favorite or most meaningful work?
        I don't, all the work I've made continue to hold a special place.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        Drawing has always been an integral part of my artistic structure and at the beginning of 2015, I began a body of work titled Mare Incognitum. It was presented in the form of a solo exhibition in Brighton, UK. The show was accompanied by an originally composed album titled Seascapes by James Fiddes Smith. I would say this is my greatest artistic accomplishment.

        What are your aspirations for the future?
        In terms of my practice, I'd like to further the development of my current teaching program – A contemporary land & Sea Atelier with the focus of assisting students on the development of their craft – drawing and painting. In terms of the more immediate, however, it's to continue the collaboration with nature and the further development each of my collections.

  • Beside The River - Painting by Nicolas De Jesus NICOLAS DE JESUS
    Beside The River
    Painting / 22 x 22 cm
    $430
  • Coast - 01 - Painting by Nicolas De Jesus NICOLAS DE JESUS
    Coast - 01
    Painting / 62 x 63 cm
    $1 070
  • The Village - Painting by Nicolas De Jesus NICOLAS DE JESUS
    The Village
    Painting / 30 x 30 cm
    $570
  • Mare Incognitum: XV - Drawing by Nicolas De Jesus NICOLAS DE JESUS
    Mare Incognitum: XV
    Drawing / 64 x 63 cm
    $710