Jean De Wet
JEAN DE WET is an illustrator who works in a range of mediums. His graphic style is characterised by an intricate, labyrinthine line work. Whilst contemporary in execution and form, this type of line is also nostalgic in its references to older relief print methods and image creation before the digital age. This formal aspect of his work extends into his subjects that embody the dualities of psychic and physical spaces, humour and tragedy, or the bittersweet.
De Wet’s illustration style was schooled by the graphics of the punk scene that he embedded himself in whilst playing in garage bands during high school. Punk’s DIY ethos continues to inspire his attitude towards productivity and creativity, giving him a fearless drive to explore mediums and formats interchangeably. He always has a number of projects in production ranging from music to painting to undefined contraptions. He observes that, “There is something beautiful about discovering something new, testing it out and finally integrating the results into the larger context of your work.” His various influences include Hieronymus Bosch, Japanese printmaking and David Shrigley.
During October and November 2019, de Wet embarked on a collection of paintings from images captured photographically but processed through a series of self-created production limitations. The resultant form of what he calls ‘graphic-impressionism’ has greatly informed his art production to date. The natural world’s impulse to mutate and evolve finds expression in this formalist framework that continually develops through his experiences.
SELECTED PROJECTS & EXHIBITIONS
2019 – Wildflowers, end-of-year group salon in aid of Ilitha Labantu, Salon91; Night and Day (solo), Ogun, Cape Town; Turbine Art Fair, No End Contemporary Booth, Johannesburg. 2018 – Done to Death, Alliance Francaise, Cape Town; Turbine Art Fair, No End Contemporary Booth, Johannesburg. 2017 - Secret Messages (solo), No End Contemporary, Johannesburg. 2016 – Mutiny, CTCA Gallery, Cape Town; Oracle, Salon91. 2015 - Sentient Salad (solo), The Eye, Cape Town; Stellar at Salon91. 2014 - Short Run Comics Festival, Seattle, USA; Endgame, Gallery 33, New Zealand. 2013 - Cape Town Art Fair, Salon 91 Booth; Love and Hate, Kalashnikov Gallery, Johannesburg; Expose, Warren Editions Gallery, Cape Town. 2012 - Radar, Salon91; Cartoon Network 20th Anniversary, Jett Gallery, USA; Topic of Soda (solo), A Word of Art, Cape Town. 2011 - Winter Wonderland, Salon91; Picturebook Launch, Warren Editions, Cape Town.