Frans Groenewald

Frans Groenewald

About the Artist

From childhood Frans Groenewald sketched (mainly cartoons), despite the fact that he had no other contact with the world of art. Frans later went on to study at the University of Stellenbosch, where he obtained his BA.FA (Graphic Design) and BA.FA (Photography) with distinction.

Until a few years ago, Frans made his living illustrating magazines and children's books, doing cartoons from a newspaper and working as a graphic designer. But he felt he needed another outlet for his creativity. "I had lots of ideas in my mind and I was looking for a new way to express them. The essence of creativity is freedom and in painting I found the freedom to apply a part of my mind not often used in design. I started to experiment with fine art. I read a book on lateral thinking by Edward de Bono and I decided to use my imagination to guide my style, rather than painting exactly what I see."

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Frans works in acrylics on canvas. His work is characterised by unusual word play, fresh colour usage and unique characters such as Basil the chef and his free range chicken, Benedict.


Include Mark Rothko’s abstraction and Gary Larson’s (The Far Side) sense of humour as well as Modigliani’s and Marc Chagall’s use of colour.

He decided to choose cats as a theme for his first series of paintings "Cats on canvas", which is a play on both words and images. For example his work 'Picatsso' is a reference to the well known artist of a similar name as well as the feline allusion! "Titles are an integral part of my painting. Often the title comes to mind first. I'll have a list of ideas relevant to cats and then I start painting." He later went on to create the theme series 'Chefs on Canvas'.

Exhibitions & Commissions

He has exhibited at the Fairfax Gallery in Naseby and at Aldeburg (Suffolk, UK) and recently he was commissioned by Brian Turner (BBC, Ready Steady Cook) to do a series of paintings for Turner's Grill in Birmingham.

Since his entry into the art arena in 2002, his imaginative paintings have enjoyed widespread public interest and support, with national exposure in the printed media and on television.

Unlike his images, Frans is actually quite a normal person, but a clueless cook. He describes himself as an "analytical, serious person" but it's his quirky, fresh sense of humour you notice when you talk to him that’s brought him fame. Frans is married, with two sons and lives in the Western Cape, South Africa.