Aldri Van Jaarsveld is a boy from Moorreesburg who somehow ended up in the ad industry in Joburg. Last year I did a talk about my experiences as a social media brand ambassador for Land Rover for the agency where he works, and this year he commissioned me to paint a Red Angus bull.
I’ve painted many bulls before – but all of them have been Ngunis, which are physically quite different from the Red Angus. Ngunis are the indigenous cattle breed to southern Africa and combine elements of both Bos and Zebu type cattle. In contrast, Red Angus are Bos or taurine type cattle: stocky and long-bodied without prominent horns (the bull in my reference photo was polled ie hornless).
While the original is a rather serene image of a bull in a field of flowers, this painting evokes a restless spirit thanks to the jagged lines of the sky and strong, unnatural colours.
The horizon features the skyline of Johannesburg as well as elements from the mountains around Moorreesburg. Aldri asked for famous advertising slogans as the text, so I am gradually adding them in. So far I have two Land Rover slogans: The best 4×4 by far and Go Beyond, and one from Mainstay: You can stay as you are for the rest of your life, or you can change to Mainstay. Like me, Aldri is a child of the 80s, so he’ll remember that one.
When I drove through South Australia in late March, I noticed signs advertising Red Angus cattle. Angus beef is famous – so much so that it is one of the few beef breeds that gets mentioned when you buy it shrink wrapped from your local Woolworths or sample it in a high end steakhouse.