10 Questions For: Thomas Cartwright

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10 Questions For: Thomas Cartwright

This Toronto-born, Cape Town-based artist specialises in painting urban landscapes in oil on gesso with a limited palette of between three and five colours. He expertly builds up layers by rubbing paint away and laying it back on to create depth and rich colour. Thomas’ work is held in collections across the globe including in Cape Town, New York, London, Toronto and Mexico City.

1. How would you describe what you do for a living?
I’m a painter: of the odd, the beautiful and, one day, the ineffable.

2. What is your most vivid childhood memory?
Sitting on a rocking chair on my father’s lap while he smoked a pipe (which he did for about a month!)

3. If you could invite any three people, dead or alive, for dinner, who would they be and why?

  1. Desmond Tutu
  2. Amanda Palmer (artist and musician)
  3. Wayne Coyne (singer for The Flaming Lips)

They’re compassionate, creative, smart and a little bit nuts.

4. If you ever found yourself auditioning for a music reality TV show, what song would you sing and why?
‘You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings’, because I couldn’t possibly take me singing in a reality TV show seriously and I’d need a song that reflects that.

5. How would you complete this sentence?  The South African cabinet should include a Minister of __________________

6. What would you say is the biggest misconception about you?
My friendly nature might lead people to think that I’m easily pushed around.

7. What is your (honest) opinion of Cape Town?
It’s wonderful and anarchic in some ways, tragically conflicted by its colonial history in others and physically beautiful regardless of either of those viewpoints.

8. What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
The fear of selling myself.

9. What's the one thing you'd like to achieve before you die?
I’ve had a sell-out show in Cape Town; I’d like to have one in New York, too.

10. Which well- known South African personality would you, without a doubt, be able to beat in a street fight and why? 
Jeremy de Tolly because he’d let me win and then we could go drink beer together.


ABOUT #CapeTownMag10Q:’s 10 Questions project gets to know some of the Mother City’s most creative and inspiring people. From television personalities and musicians to politicians and entrepreneurs, we find out more about well-know and up-and-coming Capetonians. You can follow #CapeTownMag10Q on Twitter and Facebook to track recent interviews or read more here about our other awesome 10 Questions candidates


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