“The ability to paint is something special within you,” were the words of Paul Botes, the chairman of the Benoni Art Society who has been involved in the world of art for more than 50 years.
His 50-year run in the industry has enabled him to become knowledgeable in how art in the town has changed and transformed over the years.
Although painting was initially just a hobby, it transformed into his biggest passion, and his message is clear: “Know your subject.”
“You have to know what you want to paint.
“There are people who are interested in nature and those who are interested in body painting (tattoos).
“Each artist is unique, but they have to understand and know their subject,” he said.
Botes, who was initially rejected for his artwork in his earlier years, said the rejection only made him want to better his work.
“If I wasn’t good enough, I had to make sure I got better and developed my skills,” he said.
Being meticulous is a concept Botes abides by.
“If you want to do something you have to do it right,” he said.
The artist said art is not just a word but a feeling, one that should be explored and understood.
He also said that art is not about the money. He gave examples of late artists from earlier eras whose works were only appreciated long after their deaths.
“I had my day job and painting was a hobby where I would sell my pieces in the 60s and 70s at R24 each, which back then was acceptable pricing.
“But to say that you can make a fortune while you are alive is a bit extreme,” he said
Botes said there is only one regret he has, and that is the town of Benoni, and artists around the East Rand, do not have a public viewing place where they can freely exhibit their work.
“We have always wanted a place where we could exhibit our work.
“Even if it just a small room, I think all the artists would agree it is unfortunate that we don’t have a place in the town that could be used as art and culture exhibition venue,” he said.
Botes has exhibitions at his home and has travelled the country for his work sake.
He has taught in workshops and contributed to many works like Benoni Yesteryears by Glynis Cox Millet-Clay.
In his lifetime Botes says he has created around 5 700 art pieces.
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