Patrick is flying solo for next exhibition

14 February 2023

Patrick Rulore’s career as a full-time artist has gone from strength to strength since he took first place in the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition in 2019. The former student of the Department of Fine and Studio Arts at the Faculty of Arts and Design spoke with Industrial Editor, Gerrit Bester, about this journey and his second solo exhibition which will debut at the non-profit organisation The Bag Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg in March.

Alum Patrick Rulore will be hosting his second solo exhibition at the Bag Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg in March.

Your career has been flourishing ever since you won the Sasol New Signatures Art competition. How have things changed for you since then? The Sasol New Signatures Art Competition victory validated my decision to pursue an artistic profession. I have developed into a South African budding artist who inspires others. It has surrounded me and the people I have been working with, with such amazing and good energy.

TUT has also made an investment in your work by purchasing some of it for its art collection. You should be pleased. I'm incredibly happy to see my work launching the official art collection of a prestigious university such as TUT. My career has been supported by the Faculty of Arts and Design and many others.

Your second solo exhibition at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg will soon take place. How long have you been working at putting this together? Among the many group exhibitions I've participated in since 2015, this will be my second solo display. This body of work, which consists of twenty paintings varying in size from 30 x 30 cm to 120 x 180 cm, has taken me fifteen months to complete.

Tell us more about the artwork that will be on display and where it got its inspiration. Twenty oil paintings on canvas are what you can expect; they will show how the people of Hammanskraal cope with loadshedding and their daily life during that time. The inspiration is drawn from the loadshedding realities and I try to depict what occurs during those hours of darkness.

How do you reinvent yourself as an artist for each exhibition? Since this is my second solo exhibition, I've had a chance to learn from my mistakes. Because varnish doesn't sit well with light, I've decided against applying it to my paintings. Apart from that, I've developed spiritually and learned how to interact with my models and their surroundings.

How do you describe your artmaking process? Since my work is about people, I cannot succeed without interacting with others in my community. First, I obtain their consent to enter their private spaces during those hours of darkness and I record (take photographs of) it for future use. Working with folks I know, is what I prefer. The drawing and painting process then starts.

What benefits and drawbacks come with working as a full-time artist? The advantage is that your life and you will be honoured if you are successful. Additionally, you take on the role of the voiceless, addressing problems that they frequently are unable to. The major drawback is that it might be difficult financially because you never know how much money you will make from month to month. It's possible to work so hard at times that you neglect your loved ones.

Who are the artists you admire and why? Solly Munyaku and Azael Langa. Since 2012, they have introduced me to oil painting. Along with his friend and fellow artist Mpho Nkadimeng, Langa has achieved international renown. Since 2015, they have supported me and helped me with both my first group exhibition in Pretoria and exposing my work internationally. They encouraged me to enter the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, which I later won.

What else will Patrick Rulore be working on in 2023? After having my first solo show as part of the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, I will host my first independent solo exhibition in 2023, which will be a significant year for my career. I'm excited to take part in other big national art competitions, such as the Absa L'Atelier and Sanlam Portrait Awards.

Please provide more information about the forthcoming exhibition. The exhibition will start on 4 March at The Bag Factory, 10 Mahlathini Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. Contact Makgati Molebatsi, my manager and adviser, at 083 801 2249, or Maria Fidel, manager of the Bag Factory, at 082 373 6127 for more information. 

Some of Patrick’s work that will be on exhibition.

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