Lanon Carl Prigge was born (1973) in the rural town of Nongoma, considered the royal capital of Zululand in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Together with his three brothers, Lanon spent hours exploring the surrounding fields, bushveld and farmlands on foot. He remembers being especially excited whenever they stumbled across what appeared to be an ancient relic or artefact. Untamed nature has remained a source of inspiration and rejuvenation for Lanon throughout his life.
The first day that of school marked a turning point in Lanon's life. School was literally across the road from his house but to Lanon it felt worlds apart. His experience of school informed Lanon's existential orientation towards life. From a young age he recognized how easy it is to lose touch with your true voice. When his family moved to the larger town of Port Shepstone, where Lanon attended high-school, his discomfort with the formal education system increased. He took to acting and performance as a potential means of self-expression, travelling with the Natal Youth Choir to sing to the Pope in the Vatican, and taking on lead roles in several school plays.
After matriculating, Lanon left home to study Journalism and Drama at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape. It was here that his natural ability as a physical theatre performer was discovered and he went on to participate in a number of theatre productions that toured locally and internationally. Despite his successes, Lanon consistently experienced performance anxiety, feeling more trapped than ever in masking his true feelings for reward and accolade.
Despite his reservations about the formal education environment, Lanon was an excellent scholar. In 2015, after several years as a freelance performer, educator and creative consultant, he earned a Doctorate in Theatre and Performance Studies that explored the ethical implications of contemporary drama training methods.
Lanon is driven to understand the fundamental principles and invisible forces shaping human experience. Art is his means of honoring 'the inner light' that he has caught glimpses of through his intense explorations into shamanic practices, deep meditation and embodiment practices. For Lanon, this 'inner light' points to a timeless, boundless source transcending culture, politics, race and language. Although some might consider this orientation esoteric or metaphysical, for Lanon it is a daily, tangible reality, one that he explores through deep meditation, existential musing and digital painting.
Lanon currently resides with his wife and daughter in Munster, a quiet coastal village on the lower south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. In between meditating, musing and beach walks, he paints for several hours a day - usually late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Since Lanon started exploring digital metascapes two years ago, he has been able to organically generate over 500 original digital paintings.
Face-to-face, over 30 figurative hand-drawn wax on paper originals displayed at the Liebrecht Gallery in Somerset West.
Mediterranean Contemporary Art Exhibition hosted by Porta Coeli Foundation at the Legapolese Castle in Italy, July 2019 (two works).
Red 2019 Online Exhibition hosted and curated by Gallery 25N in September 2019 (three works).
Visual Art Inspired by Music Exhibition hosted and curated by Squidink Art Gallery in September 2019 (three works).
Art, for me, is meditation, work and play. My current artistic exploration through digital art is the culmination of over 20 years of study in shamanism, Zen Buddhism, improvisation, visual media, symbolism, existential musing and embodied practices. During an intense phase in 2018, whenever I closed my eyes in moments of contemplation and lucid dreaming, vivid forms and colours arose. I experienced a quantum leap in the clarity of my artistic visions, and my technical ability to give form to these impulses. It was in the merging of a digital tablet and stylus with a digital drawing application, that my artistic style emerged, allowing me to share my revelations of the 'light within' with others.
I have always had my eyes on the horizon - being informed by cutting-edge global trends and revolutionary movements - at the same time zooming in on microscopic details at a cellular, atomic and pixel level.
The main influences for my artistic approach come from the world of performance, mysticism and existential philosophy (Jerzy Grotowski and via negativa, Alan Watts on the wisdom of insecurity, Paul Brunton, Osho on creativity, Ted Falconer on creative nous).
At the moment, my work is all abstract. This allows me to handle metaphor and symbol in ways that are direct and visceral. Many of the metascapes are epic - not in the sense of being large-scale but in the sense of evoking expansive and deeply sensual perceptions.
My current metascapes always begin life as a digital photograph. I take my own photographs of southern African landscapes, abandoned and derelict buildings, and daily objects caught in the magnificent reflections of natural light. I use the photograph as a potential palette of color and pattern. Using broad digital brushstrokes, I convert the photograph into a foundational layer of color, saturation and hue. I then apply increasingly refined digital tools to sculpt this colored light into detailed microscopic patterns. I carve depth and contrast to reveal the organizational currents and patterns within the digital canvas. Unlike generative and fractal artworks that rely on programmed algorithms, every dot, curve and line in my artworks is created by hand. Space and shape for me are first and foremost feelings. Some artworks take a few hours to sculpt, others take several days, depending on the depth of color and complexity of detail.
Through my background training in performance, physicality, musicality and improvisation, I have learnt to trust the emergence of creativity and innovation through accident and intuition. My artworks are not predetermined as conceptual, thematic or stylistic. I begin sculpting intuitively, waiting for the moment when color and movement come together. The virtual space of the digital canvas becomes a universe I am dancing my way through. I feel each stroke I make. My effort is that of continuously falling into the gap of unknowing. The moment of the artwork always surprises me.
In the same way that I experience my artistic process as meditative and liberating, I trust that a viewer of my metascapes will experience catharsis and illumination.