Gavin Rain, pointillist painter from Cape Town, South Africa. Photo © G. Rain
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I’m a pointillist painter, having painted in this style for around 15 years. I began thinking about this style about 20 years ago, but it took me a few years to figure out how I could realise it. I had this idea to do a painting that looked like a digital photo close up – playing on the idea of going from digital to analogue – kinda flying in the face of the world trend which was in the opposite direction.
I was trying to point out that with digital we lose something – those gaps between the dots. We sacrifice quality for speed: again, a trend in our society. But once I started planning the painting I realised that a good comment the painting style could make was that things can be hidden in plain sight – and we need to step back to see the full picture – an allegory for our lives.
2.What are your favorite museums in the world? Why?
That’s hard. Obviously I have to mention the Louvre Museum, but in all honesty the museum that had the greatest impression on me is the Uffizi Galleries. I guess I’m partisan to the artists each museum houses, more so than the museum itself.
So I’d have to mention Het Paleis (for Escher) and the Mauritshuis (for Vermeer). Actually, there are so many… I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.
3.How important are social networks in your business? And which platform do you prefer and why.
Well truthfully I don’t have a lot of time to spend on social media, but I do like the fact that I can show my work to people all over the place. I like that engagement. I use Instagram and Facebook for that. As to why, well I guess it’s just that I know these…
4.What are your future projects?
Currently I’m working on a sculptural idea. I’m a year or two in already, with not much to physically show as most of it is still in my head. Wanna see inside my head? No, you probably don’t want to do that actually.
5.To create greater engagement among museums, artists and professionals, do you have any advice for cultural projects such as #MuseumWeek?
Museums are the best places. You have access to some of the greatest treasures we’ve ever produced. But a lot of people find them scary – overwhelming even. True also of art galleries. But museums really are vital. People have a fixed notion of what should be in a museum – I’d mix that up a little – create a bit of a challenge around that.
Gavin Rain (Cape Town, 1971) is one of the greatest contemporary representatives of neo-pointillism or pixelism. He studied Art and Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town and his art is influenced by Seurat, Russian architecture and 1900’s avant-garde art. Art and mathematics define each painting to simulate the pixels of a digital image, for this reason each work must be observed from afar to understand the subject. Observed closely, each point has a precise distance and a color which, looking at the canvas from a distance, all together complete the meaning of the work.
During his career, Rain participated in the 54th Venice Biennale in the Pavilion of the Republic of Costa Rica with a portrait dedicated to the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Aung San Suu Kyi and then in 2013 for the Pavilion of the Republic of Bangladesh where he presented a work entitled “Lena”. In 2010, the artist made 12 portraits for the FIFA World Cup which was held in South Africa. His art has been presented in exhibitions, fairs and group shows all over the world and in numerous solo exhibitions in museums and art galleries. Gavin Rain lives and works in Cape Town.