Paul du Toit

Paul du Toit

Artists details

Paul du Toit

Paul Johan du Toit was born on 31 October 1965 in Johannesburg. He grew up in Mayfair Johannesburg and his time was spent between his artist aunt, Elizabeth van der Sandt, and his father’s workshop, where he used to create sculptures out of electrical gadgets while his aunt tutored him in oil painting techniques.

In 1984 Paul du Toit matriculated and in 1985 he was conscripted to the South African Air Force where he used the time to do some carpentry, make his first bronze work of an airplane and study computer science part-time through Pretoria Technikon. When he left the army he worked as a computer programmer In 1988, the company Paul du Toit worked for went into liquidation and he worked in a boring job at the bank to make ends meet. All this time he painted at night to keep his artistic flair alive.

In 1992, visit to Florence in Italy was to be a turning point in Paul’s artistic career. So inspired was he by Michelangelo’s David, that he returned fired with commitment to make his art work. This influence was further fuelled by their trip to Paris two years later, where the exposure to a group of sculptures made from polyurethane foam metal drums and plastic at the back of the Louvre, really resonated with him. He returned to South Africa and started making sculptures in his garage, from discarded materials. One of these won him the ‘Best Artist with No Formal Training’ at the Association of Arts in Bellville Cape.

In his Hout Bay studio Paul started using an impasto technique (thick industrial paste into which he scratched lines and images) which was to become intrinsic to his style of automatic scribbling. At this stage he also used his computer know-how to optimise his use of the internet and connect to the international art scene.

In 2014, du Toit died of cancer. He was 48.