Comic touch to paintings

2016-11-15 06:00
 Cartoonist Gavin Thomson with work that will be on show in his first solo art exhibition.

Cartoonist Gavin Thomson with work that will be on show in his first solo art exhibition.

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Noordhoek resident Gavin Thomson, well-known locally as the illustrator behind the popular Treknet and Mama Taxi cartoons, will be holding his first solo art exhibition this month.

Titled Starry Nights over False Bay, the exhibition casts new light on classic works of art as Gavin reinterprets them with a comic approach.

It opens at the Arthaus in Kalk Bay on Saturday 26 November.

In the past decade, Gavin has made a name for himself as one of South Africa’s foremost cartoonists. He is the illustrator of Treknet in partnership with writer Dave Gomersall, also a Noordhoek resident, and illustrates Mama Taxi in partnership with Deni Brown, a Lakeside resident. Treknet and Mama Taxi are published in newspapers and magazines across the country.

He is also a published editorial cartoonist whose work was commended at a national level at the 2013 Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards.

Gavin returned with earnestness to the easel about three years ago when he joined an art group for people wanting to meet and explore their creative side away from the business of daily life.

While doing a rendition of The Starry Night for a cartoon, Gavin found himself drawn into rediscovering the phenomenal work of Van Gogh, whose painting of the pre-dawn sky seen through the troubled artist’s asylum room is one of the most recognised paintings in modern times.

Gavin lingered a little in the essence of Van Gogh and went on to produce a series of paintings of The Starry Night from different perspectives. Of course, with his unique sense of humour as companion, Gavin brought in Boet, John and Brak from Treknet to enjoy the otherworldly state of Van Gogh’s paintings.

These characters are also in Gavin’s explorations of other iconic paintings, with Brak taking the central role in Roy Lichtenstein’s Wham! and Boet taking centre stage in Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

“I have always liked the idea of mixing comics with ‘classic’ art,” Gavin says. “I am painting what I would like to hang on my walls – something with a bit of humour and fun in an often serious business. I have in any case always seen cartoons as art in their own right.”

In addition to Gavin’s unique take on the classics, the exhibition will also feature what he calls “repurposed art”, in which he adds a comic twist to old paintings of land and seascapes found in second-hand shops.

“It’s a way of breathing new life into otherwise forgotten and discarded paintings,” he says.

Starry Nights Over False Bay can be viewed at the Arthaus in Kalk Bay at 3 Belmont Street from Saturday 26 November until Monday 5 December. The opening night function begins at 18:00. For more information call Gavin Thomson on 021 789 0274.


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