Painting has been a constant in my life and is a deeply-rooted private and passionate attempt at making sense of my life, surroundings and experiences. I am constantly leading my eye and hand down the many, many pathways of stories and images floating around in my mind, with the hope of capturing some of them successfully on canvas. My work is all rooted in my memories and experiences, whether it is a certain colour, the way I try to capture light and shadow, the idea or even the feelings I try to evoke.
Our creativity I believe stems from the ability to see things differently to the next person.
Fadiel Hermans was born in the Bo Kaap. The memories from Fadiel’s childhood, growing up in the Bo Kaap, the people and the images he was surrounded by are still vivid. Besides a short graphic design course and working in the printing industry, Fadiel has had no other formal fine-art training. But he paints incessantly with oils and often incorporates ribbon, charcoal and found objects in his canvases. The artist has a uniquely rich narrative style of painting that leads the viewer through a multitude of storylines, which are more than often evasive and open-ended, allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
Contemporary collages incorporating unusual textures and mixed media. Especially the work of Jody Paulsen and his felt creations.
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Lovers in a Cinema – Deborah Bell.Besides it being a beautiful painting it makes me nostalgic for a time gone by. It speaks to the younger me.
How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
At age 5 I started copying the daily Gauloises cigarette cartoon advert on the frontpage of the Cape Times newspaper my father brought home every night. I did this religiously and knew then already that drawing and painting speaks to my soul.
What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
I try and explore the memories of colour, shape, feeling, settings and surroundings that shaped me. I try to visualise, portray and give voice to all my imaginings. I find the different sides of my city(Cape Town) so breathtakingly beautiful and inspiring that it always manage to manifest itself in my work.
What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?
I paint to a point where I am breathless, that moment I realise I am holding my breath is when everything in my world is perfect. I cover up, destroy or change a painting in the blink of an eye if it cannot convey my emotion or state of mind accurately at any given moment.
Tell us more about your creative process.
I never have preconceived ideas of a finished piece. It always starts with smears, wild gestures and a lot of messing. From these gestural strokes an image or idea is formed and I will explore it with many changes along the way.
What drives you as an artist?
Imagine a tickling, itching sensation right behind your kneecap. It’s there, you feel it, it drives you insane, you scratch at it, you rub it, massage it, but all you get is temporary release.That is what the process of painting is for me… temporary release, until the next one.
Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
My last painting is always my favourite but only until I start a new one.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
My greatest achievement is a simple one. I had the opportunity to invite my Maternal grandmother and parents to view my work hanging in a temporary exhibition at the South African National Gallery. Being the encouragement for my passion all the years it was my way of validating their belief in me and my journey.
What are your aspirations for the future?
To paint full time what I would like to convey, my story.