Jan Raats

Visual artist
Be inspired by the high-energy art of award winning artist, jandre
“I’ve often watched Jan paint in his studio, but its only for a minute or two while we chat about domestic logistics. Being in the hotel room with him while we were hemmed in with the typhoon is an an entirely different experience. The energy in the air changed so much I couldn’t focus on my reading. The concentration, intensity and finer-dashing was exhausting viewing. I held my breath for minutes until he changed colour or finger before dabbing madly again. With different colours on his different fingers his hands moved like old fashioned typists who knew the qwerty keyboard blindfolded. How does he remember which colour is on which finger? It was mesmerising. And when he comes up for air, his eyes refocus to reorientate to a world with a wife in it. Where does he go?
The entertaining aspect is how he settles down or disentangles himself from a wet canvas, a palette with colours escaped from their indentations – to the sides, underneath, his knees, fingers, floor, chair, wrist and occasionally his clothes. The dance to get everything wiped clean is as frenetic as the painting itself. And then we both deserve a beer, and I can breathe again.’
Terry ‘Hoi An, Vietnam’
In my time I have been an electronics and power system and nuclear engineer, a strategist, a project manager, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking.
In ill health after my Mission in South Sudan with the United Nations, I was diagnosed with Type 1 late-onset diabetes. Which I manage through lifestyle, supported by medication. A strict low carbohydrate diet and vigorous exercise minimises the need for medication and controls my trampolining blood sugars. I still have frozen fingers and toes and get grumpy too often, however, I’m able to enjoy a glass of wine and run and cycle like a madman.
Engage in the unforgettable conversations behind each art piece, while observing my painting style, using only my fingers to create vibrantly colourful Impressionistic images. Jarring angles and intense colours give way to flowing curves and pockets of calm. Capturing a moment, a feeling, an expression.
Covid has influenced my current body of work that incorporates recycled plastic water bottle butterflies.
With these works, I incorporate butterflies, partly for their link to regeneration, a sustainable, resilient recovery, hinting at the volatility of life, drawing attention to the scourge of single use plastic that pollutes the delicate ecosystem of the Knysna Estuary. 
In this new, post COVID world, with its controls and restrictions threatening to undermine our freedoms, there is something liberating in the uncontrolled mark-making of the paint on the plastic butterflies using salt-bush (An indigenous plant that grows in the Forests of Knysna). 
During Lock-down, I was inspired by the Abstract Expressionists. In particular the woman Abstract Expressionist artists, Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell and Yayoi Kusama.
The hand cut butterflies lent themselves to geometric abstraction of the Abstract Expressionist artists. The evolving of the purely pictorial, according to the principal of horizontal-vertical vertical lines, to convey ‘absolute reality’.
While there are visual hints of the compositions and colour palettes, taken from my reference paintings, I apply the paint to the back of the plastic butterflies, which means the image of the final art piece is the reverse of these gestural marks, their own reality of power and energy through space.
Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, I have won numerous international awards, exhibited nationally and internationally. I can be found in my studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.
Contact Information
T +27786105104

Solo Exhibitions:

2017 ‘Homeless’ Avo Pomme Gallery, Knysna
2016 ‘Homeless still have dignity’ Knysna Arts Festival, Knysna

2015 ‘Eye Contact’ Knysna Arts Festival, Knysna

2009 ‘Floral Respective’, Zevenwacht Village, Stellenbosch

2008 ‘From Boland to Botswana’, Zevenwacht Village, Stellenbosch


Selected Group Exhibitions:

2021 ‘Visual Expressions’ SCAVA George

2020 ‘Old Masters’ SCAVA, George

2018 ‘Monochromatic’, Old Goal Gallery, Knysna

2018 ‘Unblocked’, Old Goal Gallery, Knysna

2017 Annual Knysna Art Sociaety Exhibition
2008 Botswana artists of the Year, Thapong Gallery, Gabarone, Botswana

2007 ‘Art from the Heart’ ARTSCAPE; Cape Town.

2007 ‘Landscapes from my Heart’ ARTSCAPE; Cape Town.

UN City, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Works held in private collections in Japan, Dubai, Switzerland, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the United States, Denmark, England and South Africa.


Honours and Awards:

2021 Official Selection ‘One of the Best’ 2020 Edition London International Creative Competition.

2021 Special Recognition for ‘Outstanding Art’ International 12th Abstract Art Exhibition

2020 Special Recognition for ‘Outstanding Art’ International 10th Landscapes Art Exhibition

2020 Special Recognition for ‘Outstanding Art’ International 10th Anniversary Art Exhibition

2020 Special Recognition for Art of Outstanding Quality International Created in Isolation Art Exhibition

2020 Finalist International Art in Isolation Exhibition

2020 Finalist 5th International Animal Kingdom Exhibition

2020 Honourable Mention 8th International Botanicals Exhibition

2020 Honourable Mention 10th International Figurative Art Exhibition

2019 Special Merit Award for ‘Art of Outstanding Quality’ LST Figurative Art Exhibition.

2018 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2017 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2016 Special Merit Award for ‘Art of Outstanding Quality’ LST Open Art Exhibition, USA.

2016 Honourable Mention LST Open Art Exhibition, USA

2016 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2015 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2014 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2013 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2011 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2009 Honourable Mention London International Creative Competition

2008 Finalist, Botswana Artist of the Year

2002 Finalist at Patchings; Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom.

Artist’s Work

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