St. Augustine Record - Black & White Acrylic Paintings
Special to Compass | Posted: Friday, February 15, 2008;
Conrad van Wyk, noted international architect, has opened his first art gallery on brick-paved Hypolita Street in the Ancient City.
His large monochromatic black and white acrylic paintings adorn the walls of the new van Wyk Gallery, a handsome uncluttered studio in the Casa del Hildalgo a building built by Spain in the 1960's as the tourism office. Situated on the corner of famed St. George Street, the entire building surrounds a courtyard that is almost the center of the ancient city's historic district.
Born and raised in Namibia, van Wyk was one of England's premiere architects specializing in global airport design from Malaysia and Greece to Ireland and the U.K. His mentor, Sir Hugh Maxwell Casson, was one of the most influential 20th-century British artists/architects who ignited vanWyk's artistic imagination in the early London years. A 'leading light in the fine arts,' and a close friend of the British royal family that taught Charles, Prince of Wales, to paint in watercolors, he taught van Wyk how to draw.
"I was keen on art and loved to draw. My absolute passion has always been painting, so when I retired, I moved to Venice just to draw" van Wyk said. "The freedom of being an artist kept me in Venice for nearly seven years until I decided to do my art in America."
The art form of the van Wyk Gallery is not typical Florida art of seascapes or landscapes. Each canvas reflects life as it is, things that exist day to day simple things like men working, a woman gazing into a window, an ordinary day of drinking coffee in a caf.
van Wyk is a realist who never knows what a painting will look like until it's done. Now his inspiration comes from the 'street scenes' of St. Augustine a city with which he instantly connected.
van Wyk's spirit of adventure is evident in the distinctive artistic perspective he brings to St. Augustine's thriving art scene. Visitors can find him painting in his studio daily - easily recognizable by a jaunty beret and dashing accent.
From artists who gathered on the beach of Ft. Matanzas in 1888, setting up studios behind the lavishly glamorous Hotel Ponce de Leon, planting their easels inside a brick courtyard to simply sitting motionless on a stone wall sketching a coquina cottage, the van Wyk Gallery brings old world technique and contemporary style together for a new and exciting point of view.