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Chris Cloete “die prentjie man” from Melkbosstrand lives in a self made village situated in the bush. Here his community exists with their own dynamics and ways of worldly workings. This is where his soul is at peace. In his world there are no technological advances or even “taken for granted” electricity - this is where he draws by candlelight. He is not interested in seeking for our modern needs; his adventure takes place in his own little village, as this is his inspiration and motivation for developing his gift from God.
He was born on the 6th day of April 1964 in Nieuwoudsville, where he left his hand and foot prints. Chris showed interest in the arts from an early age and painted his first picture round about at the age of 5 years. This painting was done in watercolors which he received as present for his 4th birthday. Although he didn’t have paint brushes he used cigarette buds to complete his first masterpiece. Chris gave this as a present to his mother, which she then pasted to the kitchen wall using bread dough. He is a dynamic person always wanting to learn more. If one keeps in mind that he has no formal training but is driven by pure passion and talent – it is amazing what he creates out of nothing.
He finished st. 6 and realized he had to help his dad make ends meat. He refers to these times as “the dark years”. Although he did hard labor for a few years, he was always drawn back to his paints and very much “saved for” brushes. In his own words “…a picture stays in the back of my head until I put it down on paper...”
Despite this God given talent Chris and his family battled financially, He worked in factories from Nieuwoudsville to Paardeneiland and later as a pump operator in Garies but he was always drawn back to his paints and brushes.
He sold his first painting for R40-00 in Vredendal and titled it “Die waterval” . He had painted this on fabric which he nailed to a self made frame and primed with paints he got from people restoring buildings. Ever since then …”something kicked me in the back of my head and then I started drawing...” he decided that painting is his destiny. Chris now moved into the “light” years.
This “bush” artist has established himself as a local and international success, with paintings hanging in South African and American homes. There is a growing interest and tremendous demand for the works of Chris Cloete.
Had to leave after st 6 to help his dad work
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