Pieter van der Merwe
Pieter van der Merwe was born on 14 December 1988, in Bethlehem, Free state, South Africa. He was raised in a small town called Standerton, in Mpumalanga Province. Here he graduated from Jeugkrag Primary School - Class of 2002 and Standerton High School - Class of 2007.
Pieter van der Merwe had an alluring artistic ability since childhood. His 1st-grade teacher was the one who first recognized his natural talent to create artworks that were far beyond the ability of his surrounding peers. Since the age of 7, Pieter developed his artistic ability with the dedicated help of a Master Degree Fine Arts Graduate, Celestie Bailey. Surprisingly Pieter’s practicing medium during these years were primarily oil paint and soft pastels and only occasionally he would experiment with graphite and charcoal.
Even though Pieter displayed tremendous artistic potential, by the age of 18 he’s interest deviated away from fine arts. At the time he didn't consider fine arts as a potential career and he focused his interest on the art of design. Pieter had an immense interest in how “everyday products” were conceptualized, modeled, and manufactured. He thought of this process as a form of art and ultimately got him hooked in the discipline of Industrial Design.
In 2009 Pieter applied to study for a BA Industrial Design degree at The University of Johannesburg and got accepted with the highest rated brief execution in the country. At the time only 35 people each year were lucky enough to be accepted for this course in South Africa. Pieter continued to pursue and enjoy a career in Industrial Design. His career led him to settle in Cape Town and he was able to develop great knowledge and build effective experience in the industry.
In 2017 things started to change. After 8 years, the whole idea of being stuck in a repetitive 8-5 cycle of developing the desires of other people started to annoy him. Pieter began to explore other career options and naturally, it led him to indulge in his artistic skills and at this point his relationship with the pencil was born.
Pencil techniques came incredibly natural to Pieter and in a very short amount of time, he developed an obsession for the medium. He absolutely loved the simplicity of the tool and its ability to create artwork of extraordinary detail. It wasn’t long before he chose to quit his job as a Senior Industrial Designer and pursue a career as a professional graphite pencil artist. A HUGE risk at the time but over the next year into 2018 Pieter rebelled against conformity and gave his heart to the world of art and focused solely on developing his skills in the medium of graphite.
Pieter is ambitious towards his goal to become an internationally established name in fine arts and he is approaching these challenges very confidently. Pieter is an excellent visual communicator with a highly developed sense of attention to detail. His goal is to develop and express his unique artistic signature in hyper-realism techniques and create valuable artwork that people can relate to on a personal and even conflicting level. Through his work Pieter aims to exhibit humanitarian controversies, inner conflicts, and provocative ideas within general spaces of contemporary society and intentionally evoke the onlooker to question his on his position on relevant subjects.