Today I have the pleasure of speaking with a dear friend of mine, Carl de Jager. Carl is an extraordinary artist who was born and raised in South Africa, and has since spent many years living in the UK, Spain and Australia, all of which are places he calls home.
Having first met Carl at Barcelona Academy of Art, his passion for the creative process has been an ongoing source of inspiration to me, and his captivating paintings communicate a deep interest in our perception of reality. Growing up in South Africa, having lived the ‘doublethink’ indoctrination of politics and religion, Carl carries a profound sense of disillusionment: At a fundamental level he expresses that he cannot trust the reality that is presented to him by his environment.
His story is a rich and fascinating one. In 2015, Carl left a successful career in software development in Melbourne to study classical drawing and painting at what was then the nascent Barcelona Academy of Art. After graduating he continued on as a resident artist, and was then invited to stay as a teacher and program coordinator.
In early 2020 as the pandemic was unfolding, he returned to Australia to exhibit his works and train in traditional (and some non-traditional) printmaking techniques, before returning to Barcelona where he is now based. Whether in print or paint, Carl’s art deals with his subjective experience of life and draws upon a deep symbolic canon, from existentialism and eastern philosophy to metaphysics and psychology.
When words fail, it is this symbolism and abstraction to which Carl turns, to provide a language that can both understand and convey complex feelings and emotions to which, I would say, we can all relate.
Recorded on 18th April 2023.