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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Frans Cronjé
















Frans Cronjé

Having learnt the basic disciplines of working with watercolour, pencils, acrylics and oil paint, he quickly became bored with being limited to one specific medium on any given work. He began to experiment with paper as an art medium and started applying tiny bits of torn magazine scraps to make highly detailed portraits. Soon he started to use sand in his paint for extra texture, watercolour washes as backgrounds, aquarelle wax crayons for patterned wall papers, gel ink for fine lines and paper collage for main shapes.

In 2010 Cronje started experimenting with mixing together different mediums to create unique portraits. “I don’t love any specific medium more than another, I just happen to love whatever medium that loves me on any given day”, says Cronje. He also started incorporating other forms of paper such as street maps, playing cards, stamps and newspapers into his collages.

Cronje also started using the centuries old tradition of encaustic wax to seal the finished works.

“I melt the wax into a liquid form and then paint onto the canvas at a very rapid speed. The beauty of it lies in its translucent qualities and the way in which it ages the art work almost instantaneously,” says Cronje.

When the artist is creating collage portraits, they are seldom planned in advance. Cronje spills colour grabs of his choice at that moment onto a piece of board paper and then he starts to randomly build a neck, shoulders, head and ears out of bits of torn paper. Then he adds a mouth, nose, eye sockets and eyes. At this stage he still does not know whether he is busy creating a man or a woman. He simply allows the freedom of the creation to lead him to wherever it wants to go. The torn paper used could be anything from newspaper, playing cards, street maps to stamps.

Each portrait is presented with a story that brings the character to life. He does this by staring at the finished art work for a few minutes, whilst asking the questions; “Who are you? What is your name? What is your story? What makes you tick? Who do you remind me of? What feelings you awaken in me and what poem should be written about you?” These stories are then printed out and sold along with the paintings.

Now based in Pretoria, Cronje was born in Parys in the Free State in 1961. Following 4 years of private art lessons with Tania Summers for a year and then with Stella Olivier for 3 years, Cronje started exhibiting in 2011.He is currently a full time lay minister and founder of Lamb Ministries. His art practice was an expression of his need to deal with the stresses of his day to day work, as well as his own depression. He is passionate about teaching and would like to teach art in future when he retires from counselling and full-time ministry.

His creative accomplishments extend beyond his visual art practice. Amongst his achievements, Cronje has danced with Mercedes Molina Dance School as an accomplished Spanish dancer, has written a book and was a successful clothing designer for 15 years. He is also skilled in ironmongery, which he has applied to the production of sculptural works.










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