Artists Blog


Ray Johnstone

Painting from life — a silly euphemism widely used to mask the desire of artists to paint people with their pants off — has always been my genre of preference.

    But painting a naked human being is fraught with problems.

    During my student days in seventies South African, one of my nudes formed part of a student exhibition that was on show in the foyer of one of the country’s leading universities. In those days, the mere possession of a Playboy magazine could result in having breakfast in the cell next door to Nelson Mandela. So I was a little concerned when a spokesman for the Nationalist government asked for it to be removed. He indicated that it was too confronting to be on view when the then prime minister, John Vorster, passed through the area on an official visit to the university. But, luckily for me, I suppose, when the student body objected, a compromise was reached: a screen was used to hide my tits and bum subject from the sensitive eyes of the man charged with the enforcement of apartheid in that country.

     As is patently obvious, my painting was inspired by Courbert’s 1866 L'Origine du monde (Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

If you're still interested, please go to PART TWO



Leave A Comment

Register with The Zambezi Project to join the elite who comment on our community.

If you already have a Sign in then click here to do just that and post a reply to this blog message.