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“Art satisfies me intellectually, music more emotionally. I wouldn’t shed tears over a painting but over a piece of music, certainly. What I’m doing is playing jazz with paint. Just as a jazz artist may pull together a plethora of apparently random strokes, those random strokes contribute to what the artist sees as the bigger picture” said de Freitas.
He usually works quickly, making paint sketches on board and then gets going with his palette knives. de Freitas prefers acrylics because they dry rapidly, meaning he can apply layer on layer, as is often the case in jazz music. de Freitas’ process is impromptu and he ad-libs in a very impressionistic manner.
As he goes he changes and modifies, little bits creep through, the paintings evolve and the end result is never predictable. He can repeat an identical scene and it would never turn out the same. He said using a palette knife forces one to be precise yet loose and it also gives rise to the unexpected.
This is not to say that his works are not structured. He said he paints a lot out of his head. He paints predominantly landscapes, often incorporating architectural elements. He takes such traditional themes and presents them in a contemporary way by cropping or framing his subject matter in a non-traditional fashion.
“I don’t like a photographic style. What I like is the eye finishing the picture.” he said.
He quoted another artist, Marilyn Simandle, who said “painting should be like a conversation and the artist shouldn’t do all the talking”. de Freitas agreed that adding too much detail results in the artist boringly dominating the conversation.
Now at age 67, de Freitas enjoys painting full time with no backing or funds. He started in acrylics and oils using a brush and his work had no distinguishing characteristics until a gallery owner suggested that a palette knife would better suit his impressionistic approach.
He believes he has produced approximately 3000 paintings in the last ten years. His work hangs in many prestigious galleries around the country and is well represented especially in the Cape and Transvaal.
Tony de Freitas is keen to take his work in new directions, exploring new themes and subject matters. He loves to capture the effect of light on things and hopes to explore the KZN Midlands more.