Biography of Jose Roberto Ventura PRIOR TO ADULTHOODInterestsAs a kid, I became fascinated with anything kinetic that had a knock-on effect. I also began tap dancing around 11 years old; I liked the blend of music and the sensation of... Read More
Biography of Jose Roberto Ventura
PRIOR TO ADULTHOODInterestsAs a kid, I became fascinated with anything kinetic that had a knock-on effect. I also began tap dancing around 11 years old; I liked the blend of music and the sensation of feeling the taps under my feet. I had an diverse set of experiences, working as a boat crew member in Hout Bay, being volunteer at a bird sanctuary, then as a waiter, bartender, till eventually becoming an expat in USA, working at assembling massive carnival rides that toured the east coast. Upon returning to Cape Town, I got a job sticking pinstripes on cars. Before the USA though, I dropped out of school after grade 9 and obtained my diploma at a technical college which gave me a certain edge, something of a maverick and a sort of “do things on my terms” kinda approach, an approach that has prompted me to think deeply about things, yet remain a tradesman up until now; an approach I wouldn't readily recommend, yet is very rewarding.
JANAPATINAInceptionJana Roberts is my aunt, she taught me her trade as a Patineur. The private patina studio is an incredible place to be, sculptures come and go and it’s the Patineurs job to create the patina / colour on the surface metal. Having Dylan Lewis as a client has been very rewarding, his sculptures and his approach is very much about the wilderness. This has nurtured me as a Patineur that creates colour within colour, not monotonous and uniform patinas, since he wanted it to resemble something unearthed and not newly finished.PhotographySince many bronzes would come into the studio, it felt natural that I should begin photography as a way to document the patination and its process. I stumbled upon long exposure, and as the flame would move, brilliant light paintings would emerge.
SMIT STREET STUDIOSLionel Smit collaborationI chose to setup my studio within Lionel Smits studio space, this would give him greater insight into the various stages of patination, allowing us to collaborate in a large way. The experimentation would take me leaps into a highly contemporary space, pioneering techniques that have not been properly executed anywhere in South Africa before, perhaps even the world.Fume patinaOne of these techniques was the fume patina. Its where the clean bronze goes into an airtight container in the presence of ammonia, which reacts on the surface causing an ultramarine crystal-like matt blue, meeting with great exhibition success.Cloth SculpturesI would consider becoming an artist myself, but met with inner conflicts that caused me to destroy many of my own works. I have this deep urge to be unique, to pioneer processes and set myself apart. One of these techniques was to dip cloth in plaster - drape it over objects, giving the illusion of invisible mass.
CHINAChina Academy of ArtI decided to fly to China, meet with a bronze foundry to exchange patina related recipes, see the unearthed artefacts at the Shanghai Museum, and decided to stay for 2 years to study the language. China Academy of Art in Hangzhou subsequently invited me to set up a studio in their campus and instruct their students in patina and its processes. (although I never went to a university nor do I have a bachelor's degree in anything)Lin Gang studioAfter that semester I was invited by Lin Gang 林岗 (President of Zhejiang Province Sculpture Society) to set up a studio within his studio on the Botanical Garden premises in Hangzhou. It was there that I carried out patination for him and could further my techniques related to copperplate.Body Space - CopperplatesBefore returning to South Africa, I pioneered 2 techniques related to patina on copper plate. One was stencil-work along with immersion techniques and the other was oil-appression with fume techniques, of-which was exhibited at an international group exhibit in Hangzhou entitled Body Space the following year.
THE RETURNLight and perceptionUpon my return to South Africa, I continued with Lewis’ patination, and I still continue with this down till today as my trade. With regard to my own artworks, I have become interested in how light and colour are related, wanting to capture how light and shadow can cause abstract patterns and recognisable shapes to appear, which led me to consider perspective. Kinetic facetsWith a brief engineering college background, and my passion for dance, I came to consider how movement could be incorporated on the copperplate, and how this merges the disciplines of art and physics. I like that an artwork can become more alive, engaging even interactive. I like how light and facets can manifest into shapes and patterns, yet these can totally disappear once our perspective changes, once the light moves or once the facet angulates - these variables prompt thought and curiosity about light and movement, subliminal messaging and even directed shared ideas.
My current exhibit, colour, light, music, maths & chemistry are presented, but moreso, engaged with.