JBay ‘Van Gogh’ inspired by the waves

2019-04-11 06:00
Bright, bold and vibrant describe the artwork (insert) of local artist David Rossouw who exhibits his colourful paintings at the Art Palette next to Tampa Bay Spur in Jeffreys Bay.               Photos:MARINDA VISSER-HOUGH

Bright, bold and vibrant describe the artwork (insert) of local artist David Rossouw who exhibits his colourful paintings at the Art Palette next to Tampa Bay Spur in Jeffreys Bay. Photos:MARINDA VISSER-HOUGH

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BRIGHT, bold and vibrant describe the artwork of David Rossouw who exhibits at the Art Palette next to Spur in Jeffreys Bay.

The Kouga Express caught up with Dave at the gallery, which displays the works of local artists at a nominal fee to cover rates and rent. He has been exhibiting here for the past 18 years.

Dave first visited JBay in 1968: “It was a fishing village,” he chortles. “It cost 10c to stay at Point.” But he couldn’t stay away. In 1970, Dave rented a room at R30 a month for six months. “I tried to be an artist as I could not afford to be a hippie”, laughs Dave.

At the time he worked in a sports shop in Cape Town where he hails from. “I started out as an assistant, but eventually became manager.” He reconciled the artist in him with the sport shop concept by reminding me that he did sell surfboards and Country Feeling t-shirts. “I would visit JBay and collect them from owner Cheron (Kraak) directly.”

For the next thirty years, Dave spent holidays in Jeffreys. Time constraints dictated that he only did pencil drawings. And a whopping thirty years after his first visit, he moved here in 1998. “I could at long last started painting the waves as I had always wanted to . . .”

The waves on canvas are infused with light and colour.

A bright blue t-shirt sets off his flowing white hair and beard. “I’m a blue colour person.” That truly translates into his artwork.

The genial Dave will be 71 years old this year, and only stopped surfing some two years ago. That does not diminish his tangible love for the ocean – all evident in his work.


A cliché all creative people are asked is: what inspires you?

For Dave it is a no-brainer: “I am inspired by the waves and surfing.” He becomes quite philosophical when asked what makes him tick. “Life is like the ocean. The continuous waves change constantly - from small one day to big the next. Or the sea can be a big lake on certain days. Tomorrow is not the same for anyone. But like with the waves – there is always hope for more.”

And the light in Dave’s work has an equally fascinating origin.

“I had a near-death experience when I was 22. I crashed my motorbike and the handlebar ended up in my stomach. They had to remove a kidney and I almost died twice on the operating table.”

True to Dave, he laughs delivering this line: “I saw light at the end of the tunnel.”

Really, he says. “The light came towards me, into my head and I found myself to be inside the light. There were voices, but One spoke to me and said: “It is not your time yet. Go back!”

Then the banter again: “I wasn’t a good motorbike rider to begin.”

Nevertheless, even though Dave thought it was a dream, it changed his lifestyle – and his art. “Now that light shines through in the paintings.”

Van Gogh

A Dutch couple that visits Jeffreys Bay every year, hailed Dave as the Van Gogh in town - but he just chuckles. “Van Gogh did not sell many paintings in his lifetime.”

“My technique is to work with a pencil point brush, so it takes hours to get the effect I want.” Dave loves spring and autumn and finds the glare of the sun to be too bright in summer, and too dark in winter.

“I believe in making memories, not collecting material things which are expendable,” Dave says. JBay is a brilliant place – and friends, surfer buddies, those from Art Palette, Cape Town and elsewhere surround Dave. “I have no parents, am an only child and have no wife or kids,” yet Dave seems much loved.

Christa Gouws, chairperson of the art Palette “family”, says, “My son loves Dave’s work . . . the colour.

“All our paintings are from local artists, but Dave and Nicolene Gericke are of the originals from September 2000.

“We showcase local talent and, as a non-profit organisation, survive on membership fees and some commission to cover the rent and rates.”

Dave says, “The group started with the shell festival - and we never left . . .”


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