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Nico Phooko.The Music Painter

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Nico Phooko, South African artist, temps us with his visual mastery and command of a melody of sounds, witch colorfully leap’s at us off the canvas. He exploits various mediums including collage, acrylics oils, inks, and found objects.
He was inspired as a teenager by the works of prominent artists Sam Nthlengethwa and Madi Phala, his home town painters. Nico took to art not only as a hobby by a noble career to flourish and nourish and upon Sam Nhlengethwa’s advice enrolled at the Bill Ainsle Found Private art College the Johannesburg Art Foundation where he studied for Graphic Design basics and a three year fine art Diploma course.

His works spring from his passion for music, the politics of challenging the lampooning the power of ancestral feasts that have been a part of his mother’s family life, the sensations of romantic engagements and the solace of domestic and social love, peace and harmony. “There are mysterious forces that prompt us all to found relief in music, the very powerful strength that accelerates the confidence of accepting that we are what we are because of the incomparable and the ordinary people who saw the earth prior to our life form. The ones who’s strength of mind will always have a special place in our lives. In view of the fact that we are not the end of human evolution. We are for that reason indebted to pass on to future generations’ sound aspirations of loving our immediate families, be in awe of our friends and value our neighbors and communities as a general rule”.
His commitment for the sustenance of African values, ethics and re-induction of meaningful traditional ways of life is evident in his approach to technique, he sometimes collage found objects with rusted nails, cow dung, grass, Hessian and an assortment of natural pigments .His use of rich and natural colors sing a grasping and flexible piece of music that remind us of a time and space known but not to date.

At the dawn of the millennium, He broke free from the established formulas of painting for Gallery exhibitions and took to the stage with his easel, brushes and paints, painting enthusiastically on stages with Blk Sonshine. A music duo he believes to be closely associated with his move towards expressing musical impressions. ‘I paint music for I have come to see it deeper than I hear it”He painted the music as it played around him enticing the visual, auditory and acoustic appetites of the audience. This trend has since grown into one of the most-sort- after feature of prestigious events, covering such events as ‘A tribute to Samora Machel’ a painting that ripened within hours and was presented to the former first elected Democratic South African President Mr. Nelson Mandela, His wife Graca and the Samora Machel’s family. He also embraced and artistically graced the proceedings of ‘The Presidential Congratulatory Dinner for Women’ and the finished work was presented to South Africa’s President Mr Thabo Mbeki as a surprise souvenir by the African National Congress Women League. “I have always held the idea of taking art to the people in high esteem. Seeing a piece of work unfolds in front of your eyes is as fulfilling as food to hunger, water to thirst and is as mysterious and startling to me as it is to the observer.

He has since being commissioned for art related projects including cover art works for jazz, world and acoustic compact disc covers, illustrations, book covers, afro centric greeting cards and note-lets, hand painted and printed t- shirts, colorful book marks and a string of object d’art.

“Paint ‘n Play. Notes ‘n Strokes. The art of making music and the music of making art. Notes are strokes and tones are splotches, abstract and real”
DSC_0037Music all around us