GROWING up as he did, as a child searching for wood in the streams around Coldstream, then drying that wood on the roof before fashioning it into early art, you would think that the odds were stacked against the young Stanley Grootboom.
But the fact is that the multi-talented Stanley has gone on to make a name for himself throughout the world (in fact his work has been exhibited on the famous cruise liner The World), with his paintings being included in the private collections of art lovers from London to New York.
His love affair with art began more than eight years ago. Not knowing if he had an economic future in his passion, Stanley also studied law and computer science.
But his destiny was in the art world and, encouraged by Knysna artist Margaret Bolt, he began exhibiting with the Knysna Art Society.
Before long, he was garnering wide acclaim for his African-themed paintings. An advocate of a return to traditional culture, Stanley is passionate about painting village cottages and their inhabitants – but he is also an artist with a conscience and every so often he abandons his theme to comment in oil on social issues such as service protests and the Marikana shootings.
To me, the latter artworks themselves make a visit to the Tsitsikamma Khoisan Village at the Bloukranz bungee turn-off well worth a visit. If you get to meet the artist himself that is a huge bonus.
He can often be found at the village. If, however, he is involved in writing and illustrating children’s books (which this multi-talented home-grown artist can churn out in a day) he will be based at his second home in Sedgefield.
If all this is not enough, Stanley has also made an art-guide video, gives art classes and is involved in rehabilitating young offenders through art.
“They know that I come from a humble background like them and learn that if you put your mind to it, early disadvantages can be easily overcome.”
Stanley is also not afraid to court controversy.
A project he is currently contemplating is a painting of Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille both sitting on outside toilets, blaming each other for this social disaster.
It may not be The Spear, but considering his talent, Stanley’s could be even better.