Born on the 21st April 1975 in Zimbabwe, Andre Meintjes is a self-taught artist who surprisingly did not even take art as a subject at school. After high school he grew a keen interest for drawing in pencil. His mom, taking note of Andre’s natural talent, unknown to this point, bought Andre a five-colored oil paints set. Ever since, Andre’s medium of choice is oils. He began tinkering with painting bowls of fruit and admits that he struggled with oils at first. Andre has never sat in an art lesson, and he continues to develop his own style.
Andre can best be described as a mild-mannered, gentle-spoken man who almost always enjoys his own company. This is a man who loves to observe rather than talk. He is by no means a socialite. He absolutely loves being out in the wild African bush viewing wild life with his wife – Erna – and son – Ethan – with the first item he packs for the outing being his beloved camera – a testimony to the fact that he is an observer! His inspiration for his art is found in the bush with his camera in hand! His other love, since a boy, is his passion for vintage and classic automobiles – which also translates to his oil pieces of the same theme – in spectacular attention to detail! It would be unforgivable for me not to at least briefly mention that he also is a huge fan of everything Formula 1, Ferrari, and Schumacher.
Having already sold a very few pieces on the side, whilst working at an electronics store selling and doing all things photography, Andre made the leap of faith into his full-time professional art career when well-known South African artist – Harem – regularly brought in photos of his art for developing. Andre humbly confesses that he secretly envied the freedom that Harem had as a full-time professional artist. And so…Andre made the jump and has never looked back. The first six years, he explains, was no walk in the park. It was financially tough and it required a rugged, collective determination by Andre and his wife to get through. The artworks took him long to complete so production was slow. The medium being oil, did not assist either in speeding the process up.
However, his most loyal paying customers were his parents in those ‘infant teething’ times. And payment was not only on cash terms. Reminiscing with a seasoned smile, Andre tells of one occasion that he was in need of tyres for his Land Rover and his folks made a straight swap of the tyres he needed for paintings in return.
Those days are now only treasured memories as Andre is now established as an artist in demand on an international level. When explaining Andre in this way, I asked if he considered himself as such. The humble persona that he is, his answer was without even a hint of hype or exaggeration. However, he explains in plain terms that it only truly dawned on him that he is an artist of international recognition when a 2 meter wide x 2 meter high oil painting of a rhino on canvas of his sold for $15000 at an auction in the U.S – a long way from his first painting sold to his then boss at $20. Commission an artwork from Andre at a discounted rate at firstname.lastname@example.org.