Francois Gouws

Born in Molteno, South Africa on 30 October 1959.

Spent childhood years on a farm near Molteno in the Eastern Cape province. The roots of his interest in art were developed by the strong influence of well known South African writer and painter Johannes Meintjes, who was his first art tutor.

Matriculate in 1977 in Molteno. Obtain B.Pharm. degree at the Potchefstroom University of from 1978 - 1981.

Formal art training started in 1990 at the WITS Technikon Fine Art department in Johannesburg, during which period he obtained the following awards: 1990 - Best first year student, 1991 - Award for print making (2nd Yr.), 1992 - Award for drawing (3rd Yr.). During this period Francois was strongly influenced by teacher and print maker Philipa Hobbs.

Francois' present work is strongly influenced by internationally renowned pop artist Andy Warhol, although his approach is more painterly and the silkscreen effect less obvious.


Francois Gouws SA Pop

I am a South African Pop Artist. The emblems and images of popular culture fascinate me. I enjoy the fact that these images encompass a wide array of subjects from advertisements, industry, politics and even sport. Although these images often seem banal and superficially beautiful on closer inspection one will always find that they address much larger issues of mankind and what it entails to be a human being in this New World.

The celebrity portrait alludes to our culture’s obsession with glamour, celebrity and physical beauty. Beauty and celebrity have become a universal world currency – stronger than the pound or the dollar. Because of over exposure to the aesthetised images of cinema and television, the younger generation always respond to a successful Pop image, since they understand the underlying aesthetic (even if only on a subliminal level).

In my art making process I felt compelled to use the techniques and philosophy of Warhol as of a point of departure. Even after all this time Warhol’s work seems current and it is still impossible to ignore. Warhol acutely understood the power of beauty and celebrity and add to that his insights into the workings of modern day industry and finance. The techniques of Warhol allows me to manipulate photography, painting and printmaking to create work that falls firmly within the Pop tradition. I do not rely solely on the silkscreen process and my academic training as a painter allows me to execute images solely by hand.

Among my portraits include Mr. Nelson Mandela. Two pieces were presented to him on his 84th birthday by the African National Congress.

Gallery Kusmikim in Amsterdam commissioned a series of the Dutch crown couple Willem-Alexander and Maxima.