Artists in Swellendam
We are shedding light on artists in Swellendam this month. While Swellendam is best known for its architecture, agriculture and adventure activities, it is also home to a handful of immensely talented artists.
Meet Andrew James Hofmeyr, also known as ‘The Foxman’ to those who have become familiar with his work. Blurring the lines between illustrator and painter (oh, we won’t put you in a box, Mr Fox) Andrew has made waves with his unique artwork. Waves have also been the inspiration behind some of his latest work, but his most distinguished work takes inspiration from the British Red Fox. Andrew’s work is distinctive not only for his use of raw wooden blocks as canvas but also for his illustrative style.
The Foxman is an English Literature major and spent nearly twelve years living and working as a teacher abroad (in the UK and Taiwan amongst others). Not something he stumbled upon, education is a great passion of Andrew and that he is an educator by heart becomes evident when you first meet him. A born and bred Johannesburger, Andrew found himself in Swellendam after helping his retired parents settle in to their new home near Buffeljagsrivier.
However it was during his time in the UK that he took an interest in the British Red Fox. He observed and encountered these wonderful yet somewhat marginalized “fuzzy balls of magic” scouring and scoffing their way through the urban jungle. Very appropriately Andrew’s first international exhibition was also in the UK. This exhibition, Into the Wild, celebrated the British Red Fox.
Taking inspiration from the fox’s ability to live off what seems to most as old and thrown out food and material, most of Andrew’s work is based on raw wooden blocks instead of smooth white canvas. Originally, he sourced the blocks from scaffolding companies in the UK throwing out their old, ‘useless’ boards. Since moving to Swellendam he’s been supporting local business by sourcing the raw wood and boards he uses for his paintings from the local saw mill in Swellendam.
The texture that the wooden blocks add to his work more often than not intrigues viewers to want to touch and feel the painting – something that is usually discouraged by artists. However, Andrew is all for tangible interaction with his work. In fact, he often includes small sculptures in his exhibitions and he has even included a little treasure hunt in his 2017 exhibition, The Fox Odyssey, at the Magpie Art Collective in Barrydale.
Andrew means that “art is not passive”. We couldn’t agree more with the Foxman’s statement. His work is certainly more than a beautiful painting fixed on a wall – it’s intriguing, yet relatable, open-minded and very joyful. Very much like the educator in Andrew, his work will have you contemplating for days after you’ve viewed it and will leave you with a renewed perspective.
We’re so lucky to have you in our midst and look forward to seeing what mind-boggling beauty you dream up next, Andrew!