18 May 2024 – Abe Mathabe Dry Point Etching

Abe was born in Pimville, the fourth of eight siblings.  His artistic ability started at a very young age when, due to his poor background, he had to make toys using materials like clay, paper, sticks, tins, grass and wire.  He used to draw using a ballpoint pen as he had no other materials and, even now, this is one of his favourite mediums. His drawing skill was noticed by one of his grade four teachers, who gave him his first art commission – earning him 20 cents!

He qualified as a graphic designer at the Johannesburg Art Foundation and continued to work and study at the Artist Proof studios in Johannesburg. He also studied dance and music but decided to focus on art full time. He has travelled extensively to Wales, Tasmania, the Netherlands and other countries, where he has participated in many exhibitions and competitions and has won a number of awards and prizes.

He says an artist’s work needs to satisfy the artist first or others won’t appreciate it. “I always strive to be better and keep my art interesting. The biggest challenge is to constantly grow techniques to maintain my best. I have been my biggest critic over the years”.

He has become known as one of the best miniature artists in the country and is renowned for his use of his dry point print technique. Here, an image is engraved on a Perspex plate with a hard pointed needle and ink or paint is applied to it, which is then run through a press printing the image onto dampened paper. This is what he will be demonstrating.