Janko de Beer is a South African artist based in Cape Town, South Africa.
The natural shapes and textures of dried-out bull kelp collected from various beaches around South Africa inspire his current work. The sculptures are constructed by creating a metal armature, which is shrouded in dry bull kelp stems, bulbs and fins. Details and depth are added using non-drying modelling clay. The final product is moulded and cast into limited editions of bronze sculptures by using the lost wax casting technique. Janko does all of his own patinas, using both conventional and unconventional methods, which result in unexpectedly rich and unusual colours.
The sculptures are visually stimulating, bold and dramatic. They are a unique mastery of motion, form and texture influenced by the precepts of contemporary futurism in sculpt- ing. They convey the history of the medium through strong individual characters, with a subtle touch of surrealism.
Over the years, Janko’s work has featured in many solo and group exhibitions, and over the past couple of years he has established a substantial international following; his work has sold to private collectors in England, Scotland, Belgium and Monaco.
His work has been widely featured in the media, both in print and broadcast interviews.
His contributions to the Make a Difference Leadership Foundation have been especially gratifying, the highlight of which was the sale of a bronze horse bust, titled Mischief for £25 000 at their annual auction in London in 2016.
Janko’s faces and masks series titled Elders is a contemporary interpretation, based on the face and ceremonial painting techniques of the Dinka people of South Sudan. The sculptures represent the allegorical use of masks.
Janko‘s feline series titled Umbabat is a bespoke interpretation of Africa's big cats in motion just before they settle in for the kill. The sculptures represent the animals’ speed, agility and movement through time and space.
Janko’s horse themed series titled Equus is based on the mythical relationship between humans and horses. Janko focuses on Myth, Legend, Conflict and Pleasure — encapsulating the role that horses have played in the evolution of civilisation.