A year ago Stefan Krynauw traded his thespian life in Stellenbosch in pursuit of art. And in less than 12 months the actor-turned-artist has landed his first solo exhibition, Portrait of a Painter, at the Rooke Gallery in Johannesburg, sharing the same walls that have graced the likes of Roger Ballen, Liam Lynch and The Bang Bang Club. Rather impressive for a 22-year old. Intrigued with his raw, intensely gestural large-scale abstracts, one small seed caught up with the burgeoning artist to talk about art, ‘Die Huisgenoot’ and stealing your neighbor’s post.





one small seed: Congratulations on your first solo exhibition at the Rooke Gallery in Johannesburg. How did this come about?

Stefan Krynauw: My work was seen by Roelof van Wyk. He then became my mentor and patron. Gavin Rooke, the owner of the gallery saw the work via van Wyk. And they decided to give me an exhibition. I worked in Oyster Bay for three months and then at Rooke Gallery, two months prior to the exhibition.


How was your work received by the public?

People seemed positive at the opening, but you never know.


So tell me, who is Stefan Krynauw, and why should we care about your work?

He enjoys painting; hopefully you will enjoy looking at it.


What are you trying to achieve through your work? What’s it all about?

I want to find different ways of extracting emotion out of chosen source material.


Your work is very conceptual, what is the process you go through to create your work?

My work is more personal than conceptual. I work from various sources while painting. I make use of newspaper clippings etcetera. Some of my reference, photographed by van Wyk was exhibited with the paintings. The relationship between the reference and the paintings can then be seen. I rework the paintings constantly.


You started out studying drama, even playing Jesus in the Lady Grey Passion Play, and within 12 months you have become a successful artist with a solo exhibition. What led to the departure?

I couldn’t see myself practicing as an actor. I’ve always made drawings and doodles, mostly on texts while in rehearsals. I made drawings for a play 4.48. Psychosis. I couldn’t stop after that.


How has your background in acting influenced your art?

It made me trust my instincts. I work intuitively as a result of studying Drama. I plan to combine the two at a later stage.


What happened when you picked up a paintbrush for the first time? What did you paint?

It’s difficult to remember, but in grade 1,I painted a car from the side, I made the surrounding sky, grass and road blue. The teacher looked at the painting and started shouting at me.


Let’s face it; all creatives have strange habits, hobbies and creative tweaks. What is your strangest hobby, ritual or creative tweak?

Reading “Die Huisgenoot.”


That’s a rather, um, unique creative tweak. So, what is the craziest thing you have ever done?

I haven’t done a lot of crazy things, but while I was in primary school I stole people’s mail and rewrote the amounts they owe the bank (in crayon). I then closed the mail and put it back in their mailboxes. It’s rather stupid, but I thought it was crazy at the time.



Keep an eye on this upcoming South African artist, and be sure to take a look at Stefan’s exhibition, Portrait of a Painter, running from 5 May to 24 June at the Rooke Gallery in Johannesburg. But don’t despair, if you miss it go down to the Johannesburg Art Fair happening in September to catch is new body of work.