“What I love about foxes is their power over people. There are two camps in the UK, those who love them and feed them and think they are wonderful and those that think they are a menace to society and should be eradicated. So in their way, they become larger than life. They have taken on this cultural significance that transcends their diminutive size” – Andrew James Hofmeyr.
A compulsive doodler turned internationally exhibited artist, Andrew James Hofmeyr, is one of South Africa’s most hidden art gems. Caroline, the Captain’s art lover, was fascinated by the stripped down, basic, yet complex works of artist Andrew James Hofmeyr, after following him on instagram and instantly falling in love with his interpretation of the red British fox.
She found him living in a small studio with a ton of animals and his partner in the secluded coastal Swellendam and dug a little deeper to find out where his obvious obsession with the inter connectivity between humans and animals comes from………and foxes, most especially, foxes.
Not your typical artist. He’s easy to talk to with only a giant beard to hide behind – open eyed and open minded. His works explain themselves – uncomplicated with no ridiculous hidden nuances, they are images you look at, enjoy, laugh with, gush at and want to own. A smart combination of content that represents modern life combined with the best of God’s great gifts, Andrew James Hofmeyr’s work, in his words, “reconciles the idea that we are all just animals that live in very elaborate burrows. We are nature. We are the environment, and, in a closed system like this planet, every creature is essential, there is no hierarchy – that means humans too.”
Andrew became well known in the UK for his Into The Wild exhibition that celebrated the life of the British red fox. In fact he is so impassioned by these critters that anyone who knows him from his Facebook page is compelled to share anything fox-like with him. He is inundated with fox links on a regular basis, with some fans going so far as to send him hand made fox gifts.
He admits to being able to speak about them all day. “I lived in the UK for about 6 years. In the UK you get the sense that it has been cultivated and lived in and populated for thousands of years and this means that it is difficult to feel connected. Yet, in the middle of your urban centers you get these fuzzy balls of magic. When you meet a fox in the street it is always unexpected. It can be rush-hour traffic or 3 in the morning… but the reaction is always the same. There is a sense of the wild, something primordial and unpredictable that makes you second-guess your next move.
They are there all the time, hiding in plain sight, practically invisible, little urban ninjas. They are respected because of their wily characteristics but are simultaneously ostracized because they are thieves and con artists. Because of this they are outcasts, living on the margins, needing to swindle and connive in order to survive but also fearing for their lives.”
But it’s not just the fox that speaks to this artist. He is drawn towards nature in all its forms as inspiration. He believes animals serve as a mirror for us and that humans can learn a lot from the natural world – not to advance humanity, but just to know how to be. This is apparent in many of his acrylic on wood based-works, which the artist, who unlike most other artists, encourages a public interaction through tangible touch, believing people “see through their fingers to understand a work in as many ways as possible.”
Only now, after 15 years of sporadic study (very little of which had anything to do with art), Andrew feels that he can focus on his painting full time and prepare for his next exhibition that will be held in Overberg towards the end of the year. Always combining studies or work with his artistic passions, he is finally in a place where he is happiest and most productive.
captainmycaptain.co.za looks forward to seeing his growth in the wild.
Follow him on: www.facebook.com/andrewjameshofmeyr or www.behance.net/andrewjameshofmeyr