Artists' of KZN
Spend time with Henk and you may be blown away by his grasshopper energy and dismiss him as an eccentric, but here is a man who sees links, signs and connections and grasps such strands with conviction as if they were the rigging of sails that propel him on his journey. One can only imagine that his uncommon, unwavering commitment to his path, coupled with his faith that solutions and directions will present themselves, strikes a chord and is admired in today’s materialistic world.
Many years back, Vos was inspired by Oprah when she told her viewers “If you do what you love, you’ll never have to work again”! Since then he has enjoyed honing and developing his prodigious painting prowess. Having studied art and then worked for display companies, commercial agencies, The Star newspaper and publishing houses painting and drawing, among other things, cartoons and “chocolate box” calendars, Vos went to work for himself in1975 and gained an immense reputation as a painter of wildlife. His huge oil, Survival of the Giants, became the symbol in the African campaign to save the disappearing herds of elephants.
He later became renowned for his depictions of racehorses and particularly for his monumental five metre long painting commemorating one hundred years of the Durban July horserace, titled The Painting of the Century.
A decade has passed since Vos first started on what has evolved into The Circles of Life which contains 360 mainly circular themes or “degrees” as well as an additional five
“Decrees” to make up one revelation for every day of the year, revolving round war and peace, life and death, love and hate, illuminating humanity’s influence upon our planet and beyond. It also revolves around the history of The Beatles and the VW Beetle car! Vos has been a Beatles fanatic since they first burst on the scene (they appear in The Painting of the Century) and in September he embarked on a “When I’m Sixty-four”/”Magical Mystery Tour”, boarding a plane for London wearing a Sgt. Pepper’s outfit. His quest is to take The Circles of Life painting and follow the footsteps of the Fab Four, visiting as many Beatle landmarks as he can and, on the 25 September (when he’s 64), walk across the most famous zebra crossing on earth with his painting en route to the Abbey Road Studio where George Martin first produced their music. As he points out, this is 50 years since the Beatles first appeared in Liverpool, 40 years since they walked across Abbey Road. and broke up, and 30 years after John Lennon was gunned down by a deranged fan.
If that’s not enough, Vos will take part in five marathons on both sides of the Atlantic in just six weeks, including the Athens Marathon which commemorates the birth of the marathon 2500 years ago. In 2009 Vos was browsing through a magazine in an optician’s waiting room when his eyes sparkled upon seeing The Beatles featured in an article on Abbey Road as a popular tourist destination. This planted the seed for his journey and he has been rehearsing by taking and displaying Circles of Life at every opportunity. Vos has devised a special collapsible easel, part of which he carries on his back in a weatherproof bag, while the painting is protected in a clever slimline, baize-lined wooden box inside a canvas bag- painted on one side with Magical Mystery Tour / When I’m 64, and on the other with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Part of Vos’s preparation for his trip involved running, which included the Comrades Marathon. Not only did he run the race but, two weeks before deadline, discovered there was an art competition which he duly entered and won. Such was his haste that he painted over an already completed painting. He also somehow found the time to conjure up a second which was purchased by the Comrades Marathon Association to be taken to Greece as a present. Vos is also embracing digital technology. “I have developed a technique I affectionately call “painting in celluloid”. Using clips of “paint” mixed upon the DVD “pallet” with a software “brush” applied to the “canvas” monitor, I am now able, like never before, to explain fully in an entertaining way the meaning contained in the “Circles” oil painting, incorporating the additional dimensions of action and sound in the process. I can only imagine how artists like da Vinci and Rembrandt would have blown their minds if they could only have shared in these unbelievable advances in technology with me!”