One of the most eagerly awaited exhibitors at the inaugural Cradle Contemporary Art Fair, and resident artist of the soon to be opened Cradle Art Gallery, is artist extraordinaire John Moore whose work can be viewed in private collections, various commercial banks and in galleries both in South Africa and abroad.
Schooled at St John’s College in Johannesburg, Moore’s childhood was marked by long holidays and explorations of South Africa, particularly the Kruger National Park where he frequently went on holiday with his grandparents.
It was there he was taught to love and appreciate wildlife in every form, and learned to enjoy not only the wonder of the “Big Five” but also the complexity and detail of “the little things”.
Moore remembers sitting at waterholes for hours on end armed with his binoculars and nature books. He studied birds, trees and insects and over the years his appreciation for detail and micro organisms was firmly fixed into his growing imagination.
Moore also learned to appreciate the different ecosystems that inhabit Southern Africa, visiting the contrasting coastal forests of KwaZulu Natal and the arid deserts of Namibia, and he was also able to witness and appreciate the indigenous people of the country and its neighbours, sharing and listening to tales of the fauna and flora around the fire.
At the end of his school career, Moore decided on a career in graphic design and enrolled at Wits Technikon. But shortly thereafter he changed to a Fine Arts course, merging his passion for wildlife with his love for art.
Moore has South Africa’s largest printing press in his studio which allows him to focus and work on large-scale images creating immense detailed mark-making in the works. Moore’s inspiration for his images comes, he says, from “experiencing life in all its forms”.
We asked John Moore some questions about his life, his work and his forthcoming exhibition at the Cradle Contemporary Art Fair:
What inspires you?
I look at all aspects of my life to create inspiration in my work, from daily activities, walking in nature, movies, reading, trance experiences nothing is exempt from my continual scrutiny. Once an idea has surfaced, I then journal it for future reference.
What is your daily routine?
I work hard and am known as a productive artist. I often get up at 6am, go to the gym and get into the studio by 8am to set up for the day. I don’t work normal hours but take frequent breaks through the day, allowing me to fetch children, look at research, attend meetings and catch up on admin. I usually work for two hours and have a 30-minute break. In peak times this working ethic can allow me to work till midnight. Close to exhibitions has me working even later. At night I find work the best, no distractions. When I have the children, I tend not to go into the studio.
What are your preferred mediums?
I am regarded as a multi-medium artist, namely I work in any medium that I feel is best to express my work. I am a printmaker and use these mediums often to express ideas, namely woodcuts, linocuts, etchings, perspex plates. However, I don’t just use the printmaking mediums, I also use charcoal and pastels to create large scale work. My next show predominantly has large charcoal and pastel images, supported by ceramics and smaller etchings. I use whatever is needed to best express my ideas.
Tell us about your latest work that incorporates the San
The San, I believe are deeply connected to all of us. They seem to think they were the “first” people. Being African I can identify with their myths and legends and allow their history and wealth of information to influence my work. I too, am a shaman, a person who is able to breach the world of the living into the spirit realm. That realm is a super reality where you can talk to the animals and most of my inspiration comes from experiences in this reality. A lot of my signs and symbols are from experiences from my trances there.
What works can visitors to the Cradle Contemporary and the Cradle Art Gallery expect to see?
I will be exhibiting some well-known pastel, woodcuts, linocut and lithographic images. Although these works have been exhibited before, they have a high level of complexity and detail which people admire and appreciate. All work will be framed and for sale with proceeds going to the African Digital Education Trust (ADET).