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Israel Jones - Painting was my way out

Walking along the waterfront in Knysna, one comes across all sorts of characters. Artists, shopkeepers, tourists. Getting to meet one of these characters and learn about their life on the waterfront was a joy.

“My name is Isreal Jones and I’ve been doing these paintings for eleven years now. I just enjoy doing it. There is a lack of jobs out there, I couldn’t find any work anywhere else. I don’t want to be employed by someone, so I’m just doing this.

“Life on the waterfront is so-so, but it’s not as busy as it was before. Maybe it’s because the climate is changing, I’m not so sure. Last year was so busy, but this year it’s quiet. Sometimes I sell a few paintings a day, sometimes I don’t sell any. I rely on tourists mostly and this year, there aren’t a lot of them, so I’m struggling a little.

israel jones garden route 1
israel jones garden route 3

"Sometimes I sell a few paintings a day, sometimes I don’t sell any. I rely on tourists mostly and this year, there aren’t a lot of them, so I’m struggling a little.”

“I’m enjoying doing my art here, I’m satisfied. I don’t want to go to another area and work for other people. It’s not a bad life. It’s not great, not the worst, this life is somewhere in the middle.

“I don’t really have a favourite piece that stands out for me, I like everything that I paint equally, but I do have a favourite animal. It’s the lion, because of the behaviour of the lion. It’s the king of the jungle. They are strong, move with groups. Not like the leopard. The leopard is too solitary and lives in the trees, but the lion, when they eat, they eat together, which means there’s unity, which I like. I like being with other people and sharing.

“I’ve been doing these paintings for eleven years but I’ve been at the waterfront for five years. I hope things pick up and more tourists come. I’d be very happy if that would happen.”

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