Claus-Steffen Braun

Born in Frankfurt, Germany,
Braun is living and working in Cape Town since March 2013. After a very successful career as Creative Director in the advertising business, and decorated with many international awards, he changed his path and is working now as an artist.

Braun uses his craftsmanship and distinct passion for storytelling to create drawings, which visualize contrasting and contradictory subjects found in the society around him. His highly detailed and competent graphic work reflects sensitively juxtaposed, closely observed scenes of life in Cape Town. These works are sometimes provocative, often poignant, a little intriguing and quite emotive and so often facilitate discussion. Each drawing tells it’s own tale.

Cape Town is known for it’s bright colors and even brighter characters.
Black & white are the two colors that have given this land its unique history and diversity.
Storytelling continues to be a predominant thread throughout my contemporary graphic work.
This series of pencil on paper drawings is titled – Cape Town Stories.”

The original pencil drawings are 63 x 90 cm and 102 x149 cm

Archival inkjet prints, signed and numbered by the artist are available in size 42x60cm (~16×24″) and 60x84cm (~24×33″). Their Edition is limited to 40 prints.

 

Artwork, available at The OMC Gallery:

 

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Lion Skull'from Cape Town Series

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Lion Skull’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63×90 cm, Inkjet Print 24’x33″

The crouching figure holds a lion’s scull as if contemplating its life as opposed to his own. This symbolic gesture borrowed from Shakespeare’s Hamlet illustrates the typical ambitious, young South African who contemplates his own future. To be born here in Woodstock a suburb of Cape Town were his constant presence fills the sidewalks that recently underwent dramatic transformation from a once violent drug gang no-go area into a vibrant, busy and trendy business district.

 

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Nguni Head' from Cape Town Series

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Nguni Head’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63×90 cm, Print 24×33″

I call this character wearing a Nguni Head, Africa as he symbolizes the typical black South African youth for me. The Nguni cattle are no ordinary breed they represent the pride of African tribal life, symbolic of wealth, status and manhood. So he is therefore no “Joe Public” face. The seated confrontational figure is set  in a Gugulethu township scene near Cape Town from where he might well have originated. His clenched left fist projects forward threateningly into the viewer’s space, symbolic of the anger and frustration held by many. This is contrasted by his constraining other hand as if to control or curtail in some way, like that of, Nelson Mandela perhaps? Welcome to that new South Africa.  

 

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Cape Vesparados' from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 24x33"

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Cape Vesparados’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 24×33″

The Cape Town version of the scary ‘Hells Angels’ seen in Milnerton on the way back from Killarney Race Track. Vespa instead of Harley. Here hard-core leather rocker meets the Cape surfer fashion style. These three heroic riders confront a strong South-easterly wind that forms the renowned “Tablecloth” over the mountain.

 

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Cool Runnings' from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16x24"

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Cool Running’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16×24″

Jogging on the Green Point promenade is very popular today. For some it is more for the exercise and fitness, for some it is just the beautiful surrounding scenery. Anyhow, life has become quite a race either running away or towards something or other… chasing after a new job …the better car… that latest fashion… none of which quite does it. Better make sure you do no miss the free beauty you are surrounded with.

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Cobra Drive' from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 24x33"

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Cobra Drive’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 24×33″

 

A supposed young South African “Black Diamond” drives his expensive Cobra Sports car through Cape Town…finally? Behind him are the up-market Camps Bay villas, while reflected in the car is the shack-chic of a poverty stricken Khayelitsha township near Cape Town. The car could be a fake or the driver might well be a wealthy business executive …anything is possible in South Africa, where different rich cultures collide. Is it a new world or has the world gone wrong?

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Slow Riding' from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16x24"

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Slow Riding’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16×24″

This young boy only knows about lions from what he has seen on television even though lions live so nearby in game parks and nature reserves. How can lions survive in this fast diminishing wild, when nature is measured in mega bites? 
We can only truly conserve what we love; and only love and respect what which we have experienced and acknowledged first hand.

 

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Slave Girls' from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16x24"

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Slave Girls’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16×24″

The Sea Point swimming pool is great for swimming, but it also has a reputation as a hot spot for drugs and prostitution. …these girls are not necessarily for sale…this guy is not necessarily their best friend… They have more likely been forced into this through a dire circumstance. Many years since slavery was abolished, the business of sexual slavery and human trafficking still persists.

 

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Dog & Seals' from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16x24"

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Dog & Seals’ from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16×24″

The evolution of dogs and the seals is relatively close and in this case bound by their symbiotic friendly relationship. The dog belongs to a local inhabitant of the Hout Bay harbour who lives off tips the tourists give him for his dog’s performance with the seal. The Standing man holds a fish in his mouth and the seal jumps to catch it. One day it was his nose instead. …can the mans seal and dog still be friends?

 

© Claus-Steffen Braun - 'Spear Fishing" from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 63x90cm, Print 16x24"

© Claus-Steffen Braun – ‘Spear Fishing” from Cape Town Series, Pencil, 90x63cm, Print 24×16″

This is not only the simple seaside observation of a deep sea diver in full gear. It is the hunter competing with sea gulls as to who might hunt down the first catch. Or, the nature lover pointing his spear at poached empty Abalone shells on the beach. Or the hero-like figure that seems to rise like a phoenix from the sea, born aloft by the kelp. Either way, his expression is reminiscent of another lucky survival from sea.

 

Artist Performance

April 2016
The OMC Gallery in Huntington Beach, CA,  USA
http://theomcgallery.com

October – December 2015
Rossouw Modern Art Gallery
http://www.rossouwmodern.co.za

December 2013 – Feb 2014
Group Exhibition, Lovel Gallery Woodstock, Cape Town
http://www.lovellgallery.co.za

November 2014
Work shown at the “5 Gestalter” Advertising agency Frankfurt, Germany
http://www.d5g.de

January 2014
An interview with Creative Network SA:

Pencil Sketching Artistry By Creative Director Clause-Steffen

October 2013
Work shown at the Belgian Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany

2005-2006
Private exhibition of first images “Black & White Series”. 14 Higgo Crecent, Higgovale, Cape Town

 

%d bloggers like this: