Ruan Jooste

I was born and raised in Nigel, a small town in Gauteng southeast of Johannesburg. As a young child I was always drawing, seeking creative outlets. Initially pursuing a passion in fashion design, but soon turned my focus to photography, teaching myself the necessary skills. This previous experience in design and photography culminated in my current digital art practice over recent years. I’ve also had the privilege to work and live in different places in the world. I have lived in Pretoria, Toronto, Joburg, Phuket, and now Cape town. I believe all these different places have given me a perspective of human nature and a philosophy that I apply to my everyday life, which is that we as human beings are more the same than we are different.

I have always edited my photographs with a pen and pad, so it was a logical transition to painting digitally. The process is essentially similar to traditional painting on a canvas, starting with drawing outlines, layers are then painted with various ‘brushes’, layered, details added.

My approach is the playful blending of luxury fashion elements and South African brand iconography. The nostalgia these well-known local brands hold for so many of us a reminder of our shared memories and associations, a connecting device. “We as South Africans so often focus on what makes us different that we forget how much we are alike. In my mind I want my subjects to form a part of a united tribe, one of courage, positivity, and joy.”

I always want to add a sense of charm, sass and attitude in my fictional portraits that allude to Magic Realism, but with a local, urban grit. The subjects convey an unapologetic sense of pride, freedom, and self-love. I like to craft a real-world context around these created characters informed by the backstory imagined for each subject while creating and composing the image. With many of the images employing principles of classic portraiture, there is also an unapologetic self-assurance and playfulness that grounds the work in the present. A composition and pose at once acknowledge the Classic tradition, but simultaneously embrace the ‘selfie’ culture of today.

I had my first solo exhibition in October 2021, which lasted a month and a half. The feedback was wonderful. I was also featured on the cover of the Sunday Times’ Lifestyle section, with an article inside. I was featured in the Art times.

Throughout my artistic journey, I have been fortunate to exhibit my work in diverse locations, including Cape Town and Paris. These opportunities have allowed me to share my art with audiences from various cultural backgrounds, contributing to a rich tapestry of artistic experiences. Furthermore, I have been truly humbled by the support and enthusiasm of a global clientele, with art enthusiasts from around the world acquiring my artwork.

“I want to continue to invite you into my world where anything and everything is possible, where old meets new, where no one is bound by the shackles of societal pressure.”

Update cookies preferences