Casey Van Der Leek

Born in March 1970, the genesis of Casey’s artistic path began under humble circumstances, copying Disney characters and immersing himself in an imaginary world at age 10. He recalled how the animators would make rough sketches of, for instance, water ripples or the movements of trees and the rustle of leaves in a cold wind and incorporate these effects to add a sense of mood. It is the attention to detail and the observation of nature that gives a depth to his work.

At the age of 13, Casey watched a national television documentary of his great grandfather, Tinus de Jongh. After which he began on a mission of self-learning. His first drawings were copies of etchings by Rembrandt and Tinus. He immersed himself in art, neglecting school studies, and began his first forays into painting landscapes in watercolours. The decline in his school academic performance resulted in him being sent to a private boarding school in Grahamstown when he was 15. The House Master allowed Casey a backroom at his residence to paint.

Casey wisely decided not to make art a full time career, and began his studies towards a degree in civil engineering. He would nevertheless paint on weekends and often take time out with trips to Cape Point and the Winelands. His seascapes of this period are dark and moody

With a combined career as an artist and engineer in mind he completed his second degree, in electronic engineering at the University of Cape Town, and financed all his expenses by painting on weekends. Unfortunately, opportunities in his field of interest were rather limited, and he was left with very little time to paint. Since then he has been working as a full-time artist. The departure from the De Jongh paintings is thus not to create ’picture perfect’ Cape scenes.