Robert Thirtle

Born 17 August 1979. He grew up in a small town in the Eastern Free State, Petrus Steyn. At age 4 his parents divorced and moved to Bethlehem with his Mom and younger sister. At age 7 in 1987 Robert Thirtle, watched a program on the old black and white TV, program called “Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling.” In the Drama there was an artist called Lena from the Low veld, painting from a young age. She became famous after a Cape Town gallery discovered her talent. One of her first paintings as a child were her and friends riding bicycles on the train tracks.

Robert had a Bomber bicycle which he loved riding, always thinking about her bicycle painting, when riding through the streets. For his 8th Birthday he got a R5 note from his grandmother and bought Cryola water paint supplies and 2 colours cartons from CNA. One as a frame and other as a canvas.

His first painting in 1987 was of him and his sister on bicycles. He made a few small paintings. He still owes that specific painting. With a few paintings he took his sister which was 5 years old at the time with his paintings and got on the Bomber bicycle and went to sit on a street corner to sell the water colour childlike paintings in Bethlehem selling it for 10 and 15 cents. December 1988 entered a colour-in competition for the NesQuick Bunny and won. Throughout his school career, he made paintings, painted sign-writing on walls for businesses. After school he did mission work for 4 years and during it had the opportunity to paint ads, back drops for stages, projects and youth festivals. Studying Bible School part time during that period with interested of staying in the Ministry, he got more exposure to arts and Interior Design. Hard decision made the transition after finishing his Bible School Diploma in 2000, he then started studying Interior Design through the Sheffield School of Interior Design in New York in 2001 finishing after 3 years in 2004 and landed a Job at an International Architect Firm. In his spare time Age 25 he started painting small landscapes. A local coffee shop in Harrismith sold the paintings.

With Art classes and self-study he traveled the journey of art, commissions and self-discovery.

2019- Group exhibition at Free State Art Festival with The National Art Project. Finally in 2019 after 15 years of corporate work and owning Free State Interiors in Bloemfontein as a successful Interior Designer and Business owner, (currently silent partner) the journey led to Klerksdorp to be a Full-time commercial Artist.