Born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, vintage 1987, Lourens J. Swanepoel developed his skill in drawing from the age of six years old. By the time he reached college in 2005, called “Open Window,” he had gone through art classes for six years at ET Ateljee in Pretoria, and also in his own time trained himself to draw portraits nearly to perfection using pencil, and ballpoint pens. “Open Window” helped LJ to develop those skills to higher levels. In 2009, he won an award for best student in illustration for that year.
Since then, his prime medium of choice became black drawing ink. He loved the idea of drawing comic strips to get his story ideas out there; and even though he spent little time developing them in the past, comic strips still remain a huge part of his interest. His plan is to take the topic more seriously.
He became side-tracked from his focus on comic strips and illustration, when from 2011 to 2015 he worked at printing companies that were fast-paced environments and creativity limited. As a designer in a printing company, his attention was divided between creating designs, operating printing equipment from digital printers to large format printers, binding books and trimming paper. There was no place for illustration in any of those positions. Unfortunately, having never worked at design agencies, the chance of getting into one with a better salary was slim. That demotivated him. He also feared traveling too far from home, which was in Pretoria at the time. During this time, he did some illustration work after hours, allowing him to buy his very first Wacom Intuos Pro, with the intent to draw concept art and follow his dream of working at Pixar Animations. Instead, he used it to draw his vector portraits which gained recognision by a few local celebrities.
Eventually, he decided it was time to leave the printing industry to work as a full-time designer at a t-shirt company, which lead to conflict between him and the owners during his probation period. Apart from the conflict, he was able to better express his artistic skill with illustration. When the end of his probation neared, he decided to travel South Africa by working on farms, and hopefully generate freelance income. God, on the other hand, had other plans.
Lo and his friend ended up working on a private game reserve in Limpopo, in December 2015. Lo enjoyed the nature and wild life so much, that he requested to work there as a student / general worker. He was granted that opportunity and worked for a minimum wage for seven months. It was at that time when he began to find himself again. His old mentality of the printing industry to the verbally abusive environment of his previous job, to fearfulness of adventure and exploration, completey broke down, and a new mindset was set in place. He once again had the dream of becoming an illustrator. He describe this transition as being a “reset.” The minimum wage was not enough to cover his expenses and he began to send out his CV again. After two months of job hunting using only the internet, only one company called him for an interview. That company was based in Cape Town, so they agreed to have the interview over Skype. Two days after his first and only interview, he was hired as a typesetter at MDOT. He sadly left the private game reserve at the end of July 2016, stating that it was the best job he ever had; but was hopeful for the new job based in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.
Since 1 August 2016, Lo worked at MDOT and within his first week there, his position changed from “typesetter” to “illustrator.” He’s been happily hired ever since – to this time of writing this sentence.
He began to illustrate at home again, using both black drawing ink and brush, and his Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablet.
After the glorious experience at the game reserve, one of his biggest desires was to create wild life art using drawing ink. He learned that artworks can be printed in limited numbers and sold for less, after meeting fine artist, James Corwin at the game reserve. His interest in selling artworks was born. The idea of selling artworks in galleries started when he saw ink illustrations in a gallery on a wine farm. Knowing little about how to set a price on the artwork, the owner of the gallery told him that the price depended on the name of the artist. But getting a name first was the challenge.
And that is the purpose of this online gallery – to exhibit LJ Swanepoel’s wild life artwork and to build his reputation as an artist. This online gallery is a gateway to his original- and printed artworks.
They will be available for orders, and most of these artworks will also be available in galleries across South Africa.
Strand, Cape Town, South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa
Nature and Wildlife Conservation
Film Soundtracks, Jazz
Nature / Hiking / Camping
Living in solitude.