Zimbabwean born artist, Johan Smith, matriculated from Durbanville High School and subsequently studied agriculture at the University of Stellenbosch. During his student years he took up ceramics part time under the mentorship of Christine Smith of Dorp Street Gallery. After attaining a degree in Agriculture, he started working as an agricultural researcher in the Agricultural Research Council in Bethlehem in 1987. During this time, he set up his own ceramic studio, participating in a number of group as well as solo exhibitions in this medium. Soon Johan looked to pen and ink for a less tedious and more colourful means of expressing himself. In 1995 Johan took a bold step and quit his career in agriculture to pursue his passion for painting full time. During the period 1995 to 1999 Johan’s work went through a rapid series of changes in both medium and content. Moving from clay to pen and ink, to etchings and pastels. However, when starting to experiment with oil paint, the artist found the niche where he would be comfortable. It is in this medium that Johan Smith pioneered the blue sky, upright format of landscape painting in South Africa. In his own words: “The only way to paint the African landscape successfully, is to depict it against the vastness of our the African sky, I try to do this by creating depth and mood with the play of our beautiful African Sky”. The tall blue African Sky landscape has become the finger print of Johan’s work from 1999 to 2006. It has been this phase of his work that has established the artist as one of our well known artists in South Africa. His work serves as an inspiration for young up-and-coming artists and has become very collectable both locally and overseas in private and corporate collections. During 2006 Johan’s work is once more in a phase of transition. His latest work is characterised by a definte move toward increased detail and the use of less bright colours. The work is stongly influenced by the old master, Pierneef, Piet van Heerden.