“My mother took me to a public library when I was about 5 years old to play with stationary and construct robots from milk bottles and toilet rolls.”
Wian must’ve really enjoyed it, because soon after he was attending art classes at a small studio in Cape Town for about 10 years. This is where he first realised that he wanted to do something creative with his life and that he could use his hands to make something beautiful.
Throughout high school, he concurrently attended two formal art schools after which he graduated with 100% and was awarded top art student in South Africa for 2007.
After high school he was heart set on studying architecture at the University of Cape Town, but In a moment of uncertainty changed to business management with economics and politics at Stellenbosch University. This was a necessary step and he is said to be thankful for it now.
Luckily however, that chapter also came to a close in 2012 when he moved to Scotland to study a Masters of Science degree in Design and Digital Media at the College of Art at the University of Edinburgh. A long way away from massaging pottery clay into the carpets of a public library, this is more or less when he started sharpening his focus on classical and contemporary art. He had easy access to the National Galleries in Scotland and even the big museums down in London. He’s also been to over 50 countries and art galleries have always been on the top of his list.
After graduating Wian moved back to South Africa and started working as a general creative wiz kid for FireID and later on became the creative lead for SnapScan. In 2017 he started working for his family business, In2ex. In2ex is a UK and South Africa based private investments corporation, focusing on wealth management, property, infrastructure and telecommunications.
As boring as that sounds, that is exactly why he’s entered the art market. "Never turn your passion into your career” his father used to say – and that’s exactly what he’s doing. He also runs a bespoke design & marketing studio called Design Factory.
Wian’s outlook is pretty conservative and anti-establishment when it comes to art. He believes art should be practical, sensible, emotional or fun – the rest is rubbish. Generally his theory is this:
If art requires to be in a gallery to be art, then it’s not art.
He’s a staunch follower of Stuckism: a movement that rose to prominence in the late 90’s. It stresses the value of painting as a medium, its use for communication, and the expression of emotion and experience – as opposed to what Stuckists see as the superficial novelty, nihilism and irony of conceptual art and postmodernism.
Opposed to his philosophy, Wian draws his inspiration from rather unconventional faculties: the unpracticality and harshness of USSR brutalism; the ultra-rationality behind the Swiss Helvetica movement; the application and technique of Fauvism; and the works of a few big names like Rembrandt, especially towards the end of his life, and a young Picasso (blue and rose periods). In almost everything Wian does you’ll also be able to find hints of iconography from the high renaissance.