Artists We Love: Ian Grose

INTERVIEWED BY Michaela Stehr


Renowned local artist Ian Grose is known for his small paintings, portraits, landscapes and textural representations. We caught up with him to find out more about his work and what he has in store for the near future.

How did you get involved in art?

My involvement professionally stems from a curiosity on a personal level, which I can trace back to the art I saw in books as a teenager. I remember seeing an Egon Schiele drawing in a book belonging to my half-sister that made me feel that all the ‘responses’ I’d had to visual art until then had been false, or that I had been missing the point all along, since here, before me was the real thing. At the same time, I was lucky enough to have a teacher who taught me how to think about creativity in ways that are still useful to me today. Then after nearly a decade of intermittent painting in order to learn the medium, I did a post-grad year at art school to force me to think about the work critically. After that, it became possible to devote myself to painting.

What four words would you use to describe your work?

Pictures thinking about themselves.

What mediums do you use the most?

For now, just oil paint.

You are well known for your portraits. How did you make the transition to your current subject matter?

The small portraits of my friends came a few years after I consolidated my other studio work, which is characterised by a particularly distanced or self-reflexive approach to making paintings, and not by common subject matter (although there are recurrent motifs).

Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

I’ve just finished installing an exhibition at the STEVENSON in Joburg, so for now I’m taking a break and reading a novel, which I never manage to do while I’m working. When I get back to the studio it will be to start preparing for a show sometime next year.

Find out more about Ian’s current exhibition here.