Reece Swanepoel

Expressive, emotional, confronting..... are words that come from those who have viewed works by Reece Swanepoel. Reece is fully devoted to establishing himself in the South African art scene but has also fixed his eyes upon the international art market. There is no doubt that Reece has the potential to reach these goals with his neomodernism style and undeniable passion for creating art. We found out more about Phillip Reece Swanepoel.

What projects and plans do you have lined up for 2018?

Well, currently I am exhibiting at Johann van Heerden gallery in Pretoria, and also having my solo exhibition in Potchefstroom. I then have a big opening at the Le Roux gallery in Wilderness on the 4th of May. Two other solo exhibitions are also confirmed. One being in Robertson at Esona Game Lodge and the other at the house of Stuart Trent, owner of the well known Trent Gallery.

If you could own any one single artwork, which would it be?

I was steadfast on this answer for long but now I'm a bit unsure myself. It has been Mark Rothko's "No.3/No.13 Magenta, Black, Green on Orange" for a long time, but just recently Schalk van der Merwe made a painting titled "Forsaken" that has me by the gut. I absolutely melt into it so much. So I'd say the latter...

Who is your favourite artist living or dead?

My favourite artist of all time is arguably Jean-Michel Basquiat. First time I saw his work I retorted "what childish rubbish is this!?" to my own dismay. The more I read (and watched) about his life and how revolutionary it was I went from curious to smitten. His works are passionate and aesthetically indulging. 

What are the major themes of your work?

My themes change quite rapidly because of how sensitive I am to my surroundings and the pace I produce works, but I'd say the most major theme to my artworks is empathy. Real empathy.

A lot of people think I'm using the shock technique of Postmodernism to get attention to my work, or I'm trying to scare them. That certainly is not the case. Shock is good. Scared is good. I don't mind if that's your reaction but I'm truly trying to make you feel something. If you see an anguished young fellow in one of my artworks, I want to communicate that emotion so well that you can feel the severity of that anguish.

The interesting thing is that it's not an anguished young fellow. It's a piece of paper or canvas that represents such. It's not alive. This will leave you wonder why you can feel such empathy, but when you are in public your empathy levels fluctuate between apathy and somewhat.

Do you have any specific routine before you start creating in the studio?

No. Or yes, it depends. Sometimes the inspiration hits me at 3 a.m on a Saturday morning and I just jump out of bed, put my apron on, and begin. Other times I feel inspired for close to a month at once, in which case I use leverage on this inspiration to be as productive as possible. Then I would play my favourite music, spread all the works I'm going to begin or am busy with around the studio and have a go at each one for days. A good routine I have taught myself is to always clean every brush to near perfection after I'm done for the day. 

What are you currently listening and reading? 

At the moment I'm listening to Ludovico Einaudi, arguably the most able contemporary composer alive, and Kenny G. His melodies simply enchant me to the point of procreation.

I don't read a single book at a time. I have been reading up to 3 books interchangeably for years. So I'm reading 'Elon Musk' by Ashlee Vance, 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran and 'The Mind of a Fox' by Chantell Ilbury and Clem Sunter.

If you were not an artist, what would you have been?

If I was not an artist I'd be an art teacher.  Obviously this would jeopardize my ability to be a good art teacher if I myself was not an artist.

Tell us about the last work you created? 

My latest piece "The Pit" is a mixed media piece that investigates the hopelessness people get into when they don't have a purpose, something to use their time on. It's interesting to me how so many people complain that they don't want to work and that they need more holidays, but if they got what they wanted they miss working and building something/doing something of worth.

If you would like to view or purchase artworks available by Reece Swanepoel. You can buy here or visit the following address



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