I often paint political themes, and on the occasion of Freedom Day, I thought I’d draw up a quick sketch. 19 years ago I voted in South Africa’s first democratic elections. Freedom is no guarantee of happiness, of course; we are free to be our own worst enemies.
I wouldn’t have painted this if I didn’t need an illustration for a blog entry reflecting on the way in which I’ve used my freedom to make awful mistakes. Relationships, jobs, career choices, marriage: all things of great hope which have devolved into a ghastly mess. So the monochromatic abyss, filled with monsters and statements about the freedom to fuck up dominates. There’s a patch of red, but that’s accidental, an occupational hazard of painting with a medium that doesn’t give you much control. Above, a secretary bird (which forms part of the South African coat of arms) takes off into the sky: a tiny, tiny bit of hope that things will get better, both for me personally and the country.
It’s very difficult for me to justify painting because it uses time and energy and expensive materials, and there is no need for it. I’m just another amateur churning out crap that nobody wants. If it weren’t for that blog post, I wouldn’t have bothered. I fantasize about burning everything I’ve ever painted (except for what has been framed – logistically that’s more of a challenge) and the only thing that stops me is that it would be bad for the environment.