Born: 1957 - Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Although born in South Africa, South African artist Simon Addy lived his early life in what was then Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), completing his schooling at Hamilton High in Bulawayo. He went on to study graphic design at the Durban Technikon, honing his vision and technique in the process of completing a three-year diploma.
After performing his military service as an officer in the South African Defense Force, Simon Addy went into graphic design. He worked for Tongaat Textiles before launching his own business, Addy Lanning Advertising, in 1980. Simon decided to break free of the “human rat race” in 1986, and along with partner Lyn Hoyle, has pioneered a rural lifestyle, which combines art, farming, surviving and chasing rats.View Paintings
Many of Simon Addy’s paintings (such as the 1988 O.F.S. ODEON series) portray jesters and harlequins, back-dropped by dilapidated scenery as they act out the current theatre of life.
The actors are there, decadently dressed, and somewhat shabbily acting out a “now” scene or obeying some line in a play, a parable or social comment. The scenes display an impious sense of humour whereby we, the onlooker, can see the futility of the efforts of the jesters or harlequins.
Many influences can be seen in the parody - Heramanious Bosch, Heath Robinson, Roland Emett with additional influence from the renaissance and medieval eras. The colouring is always rich and heavy on the maroons, aged creams and browns. Roland Emett had a belief in doing things the wrong way around. His most famous cartoon was of the building of a church complete with spire. First he started – in mid air – with the weather vane and proceeded to build downwards with stone and mortar.
It could never work but the very idea jolts and troubles and forces one to question ones own approach to problems and ideas. The work of Antoni Tapies and Jean Tinguely has also heavily influenced Simon, encouraging him to incorporate various objects into his South African art – often to reflect his sense of humor and attitude to life.
Some of Simon Addy’s titles that you may have missed include The Negotiation which comprises a harlequin on a tightrope with balancing pole veering towards “YES” or “NO” at the end supports whilst an evil man with a fire torch is setting the tightrope afire.
“The Ship of Fools” introduces a ship of happy individuals rowing quite contentedly in mid-air on top of a tree, obviously getting nowhere. Other titles include “Life in Balance” and “Wine Lovers Lament”. Simon Addy also occasionally ventures into 3D montages, which are very time consuming but have a distinctive sense of irony.
The techniques artist Simon Addy has developed lend themselves well to South African landscape art, as well as his beloved scenes of guinea fowl in farmyards. His South African artworks are influenced by, and could be confused with, Rembrandt and the Old Dutch masters - carbon dating notwithstanding.
Still quite a sportsman (national and first league basketball in 1997 and 1998) Simon has run the comrades marathon from 1992 until 1999 (8 times) but has been unable to run away from his creditors (particularly his wine merchant). Simon sees great health properties in the drinking of wine, and finds himself obsessed with, and confused by, the behavior of chickens (out of the pot, that is)..
Collectors of Simon’s artwork can be found all over the world in both private and corporate collections. One Chief Executive exhibits four of Simons’ artworks in his interview room purely as a ploy to unsettle interviewees who are always given ten minutes to “make themselves at home” prior to the interviewer’s arrival.
Simon continues to work alongside his friend and companion, Lyn Hoyle, as they both discover new direction in art and bewildering practicalities of animal husbandry.