Portrait of an artist
with a passion
"We live in a world that has lost its way. A world where the rational dominates the emotional, the intellectual holds sway over the spiritual, the complex confuses the simple and where technology is more esteemed than biology. Our salvation - our chance to live truly rich and fulfilled lives - lies in the need to reconnect with nature, to open our eyes to the things that we take for granted. Everyday, I am in awe of the artistry of nature. it stirs my soul. it drives me to interpret and express the raw, visceral and powerful feelings it evokes in me."
Harvey Rothschild is a gut feel guy with a passion for the natural and a creative fire burning in his belly. He has been that way ever since he can remember. Some artists discover their calling late in life while Harvey’s creativity came looking for him at an early age. Colour texture shape form; Harvey’s fascination with these constructs has sculpted his sensibilities all his life. First, in the demi-monde of fashion and more recently in the world of painting.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa at the mid-point of the last century, Harvey proved to be a very average scholar – and an extraordinary artistic talent. He was drawn to take art lessons at the local recreation Centre at age 6. The next year, an impressionistic early work entitled “The Whispering Tea-opt” won a Gold Medal at the annual Rand Easter Show and a career in the creative arts was born.
Following his matriculation and an undistinguished one month military “career” spent soaking up the awe-inspiring landscape of the Namib desert, Harvey headed for England in 1969 to further his studies in Art and Design, and to be part of the creative explosion in art, fashion and music that blasted London in the Swinging Sixties. With a Foundation Course completed at the Blackpool School of Art behind him, he was admitted to the prestigious St Martins School of Art and Design in London where he spent three years specialising in fashion and textiles.
Following his stint at St Martins, Harvey returned to South Africa where he immediately made a huge impression on the local emerging fashion scene. He was one of the founding partners of the legendary Goophees label, and later created acclaimed collections for designer labels Rich Rags and Ronald Sassoon. In 1982 he won the South African Designer of the Year Award as well as the Coty International Menswear Design Award.
Doors began opening abroad. Harvey was offered a freelance assignment to design for Ralph Lauren in the USA. In 1984 he returned to the UK and established his own design studio and the Harvey Rothschild label. Together with an English friend they purchased an old farmhouse and animal outbuildings in St Ives, Cornwall and set about restoring them. Their efforts were rewarded in 1987 when they won the Prince of Wales Award for innovation and Architecture.
The years spent in England were hectic and heady. Apart from building up the HR brand which penetrated markets as far afield as Europe, Japan and USA, Harvey also completed lucrative design contacts with global brands such as Burberrys, Christian Dior and Iceberg. In 1995 he won the BBC Clothes Show Award for men’ s wear. It was at this time as an escape from the relentless, high pursued fashion world, Harvey began applying his sketching skills to the picturesque countryside surrounding his home in Cornwall. The area, which is renowned for its magical light quality, soon had him reaching for his watercolours. The bug, which had bitten all those years ago, was back with a vengeance.
ADIOS ARMANI. HELLO CARAVAGGIO
After some serious soul searching, Harvey realised that he had achieved all that he wanted to in fashion. Yet another spring or autumn collection no longer brought the level of excitement that it used to. Painting on the other hand had rejuvenated his spirit. It was time to go back to school. Harvey hung up his fabric swatches and enrolled at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London where he spent a year honing his drawing and painting skills and began exploring contemporary landscape painting.
BACK HOME – TO A BLANK CANVAS
Not only was Art Calling, so was Africa. Harvey returned to South Africa in January 2002, captivated by the wide open spaces, the earthiness of the people, the warmth of the colours, the sensuality and variety of the textures, and the intoxicating smells that are unique to the southern tip of Africa.
Gallery hours: Mon to Fri: 9h30 to 17h00, Sat: 10h00 to 14h00
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60 CHURCH STREET CAPE TOWN 8001, TEL: +27 21 4235309, FAX: +27 21 4249063