Artist Proof Studio (APS) is an innovative and engaged community printmaking centre of excellence founded in 1991. The organisation focuses on all aspects of professional printmaking: creation, sales, training, and community engagement.
Over the years, APS has built a positive reputation as the place to visit for emerging talent, with enormous growth and investment potential for galleries and investors. New buyers to the market are interested in work that is affordable and accessible that they can display on their walls that says something about who they are and the world they live in. ‘Investment potential’ has become increasingly important for buyers who want to ensure that the value of their purchase will increase with time. For return buyers and newcomers to the market, APS provides all the possibilities.
Exposure from platforms like the RMB Turbine Art Fair (TAF) plays a crucial role in ensuring successful art careers for our graduates. RMB TAF provides APS with an avenue to introduce new audiences to our brand while also providing opportunities to develop new relationships through partnership exhibitions. For instance, the Strauss & Co collaborations that APS has participated in since 2017. With over 60 artists represented on the APS stand this year and a range of over 25 new artworks made especially for RMB TAF, audiences are spoilt for choice when it comes to accessing art, being able to afford it, and buying the work of tomorrow’s next rising star.
Many APS alumni have become local and international sensations. Phillemon Hlungwani, Nelson Makamo, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Bambo Sibiya, Themba Khumalo and Sizwe Khoza are a few who have reached high levels of success in their careers who started out and established themselves through APS.
An extraordinary artist who has recently emerged through the Strauss & Co collaboration project (supported by City Lodge in 2018) is Raymond Fuyana. In 2017, while he was a second-year student, he submitted a range of gorgeous watercolour monoprints largely inspired by JH Pierneef’s pinky hues. These were exhibited alongside a collection of Pierneef original works. In 2018, Fuyana won the first prize in the printmaking category for the Strauss & Co Life Force: The Still Lifes of Irma Stern competition. The pieces exhibited were promptly sold out by day two of RMB TAF 2018.
Fuyana was born in 1995 in Zimbabwe and is deaf. He moved to Johannesburg in 2009 seeking a good deaf school. He attended St Vincent School for the Deaf in Rosebank and, while at school, worked with artists at the Bag Factory for a year. Fuyana joined the Saturday Youth Portfolio Development at APS in 2015 and completed his third year in 2018. He is currently an intern and artist at APS.
‘As a deaf person, my experience of the world and the hearing community can be seen in the work I make. I create dreamlike landscapes to express my feelings and mood. The spaces I create can be viewed upside down and right up. In this body of work, I have used elements of classical architecture fused with African landscapes. The emoticons add a contemporary element and refer to how we communicate emotions using technology. I focus on capturing the confusion and communication breakdown I experience daily.’
Another rising star who has grown quickly from graduate to promising artist through determination and hard work is Cromwell Ngobeni, a Limpopo-born artist who graduated three years ago and works with our team of master printers in APS’s Professional Print Studio. Ngobeni has an interest in storytelling and uses a combination of linocut and monotype to express the emotion and intense energy that he captures in his images of boy children. His integrity as an artist and person has made him a valued and reliable member of the APS team. Regarding his artwork, he says:
‘My work investigates emotional reactions. I portray writhing human figures on an open space to express joy, anger, fear and sadness that depends on the character of an image that I want to bring out. According to my experience, I believe that as children we practice what we were taught or things that happen around us in everyday life. My work is influenced by the way I was raised as a child who grew up around violence and how it became a huge challenge for me to find myself. I use my work as catharsis as well as raising awareness.’
For many artists like Fuyana and Ngobeni, printmaking and the complex nature of the process provides a way to work through the complexities of life.
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