I’m Wian and I paint expressionist portraits and landscapes about themes unique to Cape Town and South Africa. I generally work with earthy colours and I apply it generously on locally made, custom stretched canvases. Lately, I’ve been making large and emotionally striking pieces that I exhibit in Cape Town and Hermanus.


My story

Throughout high school, I attended two art schools after which I graduated with 100% and was awarded top art student in South Africa for 2007. After high school I was heart set on studying architecture at UCT, but In a moment of uncertainty I changed to Bachelors of Business Management at Stellenbosch University.

4 years later I started a Masters of Science in Design and Digital Media at the College of Art at the University of Edinburgh. This is more or less when I started sharpening my focus on classical and contemporary art. I had easy access to the National Galleries in Scotland and even the big museums down in London.

After graduation I worked in the startup space for FireID and SnapScan. Lately however, I’ve been working primarily with my family in our shared investments company, IN2EX. We’re a UK and South Africa based VC focusing on wealth management, property, infrastructure and telecommunications. As boring as this sounds, it frees me up to focus on my artistic career..

I travel as much as I’m allowed to and I’ve recently crossed the 50 countries mark. Art galleries and exhibitions are always featured at the top of my list.

My philosophy

My outlook is pretty conservative and anti-establishment when it comes to art. I believe art should be practical, sensible, emotional or fun – the rest is rubbish: If art requires to be in a gallery to be art, then it’s not art.

I’m a follower of Stuckism, which stresses the value of painting as a medium, its use for communication and the expression of emotion and experience – as opposed to the superficial novelty, nihilism and irony of conceptual art and postmodernism.

My inspiration

Opposed to my philosophy, I draw my inspiration from a very wide range of sources: the practicality and harshness of USSR brutalism; the ultra-rationality behind the Swiss Helvetica movement; the application and technique of expressionism and Fauvism; and the works of a few big names like Rembrandt, especially towards the end of his career, and a young Picasso (blue and rose periods). In almost everything I do you’ll also be able to find hints of Raphael’s depiction of the renaissance.


Instagram: @Signed_WH