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Culture and Arts

How Celebrated Artist Otto Du Plessis Has Brought New Life To The Art Industry

Having worked as an artist for over 20 years, Cape Town-based sculptor Otto Du Plessis has dedicated his life to his craft and to the industry. He attended the prestigious Pro Arte school where he majored in sculpture, and from there, he launched his career in London as a modeller and sculptor. He eventually returned to South Africa, continued working as an artist, and founded the Bronze Age Foundry in Cape Town. Always looking to explore form and meaning, Otto’s work is known for its distinct depictions of organic shapes found in nature and the human body, and is today among the most prized pieces in figurative bronze work. As such, he’s using his experience and insights to bring new life to the industry.

With an eye on the future, Otto is constantly looking to innovate and his work at the Bronze Age Foundry explores ways to modernise bronze art with technology. Today the foundry has contemporary production processes that include 3D scanning, digital modelling as well as enlargement by robotic CNC milling – all driven by his talented team. These capabilities allow Otto to create both intricate and monumental scale works, and deliver on even the most conceptual and challenging ideas and commissions. But his work doesn’t stop with creating new art and innovating the industry, he is also passionate about equipping new artists with invaluable skills.

Otto is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and as a mentor he imparts skills, personal lessons, including a few key tricks of the trade with other makers, and as a result, has helped grow the local art scene. “Part of being a sculptor,” says Otto, “especially working with bronze as a medium, requires skills that aren’t necessarily taught at university or college. I am passionate about sharing what I’ve learned, including skills around organising your studio, approaching your work, and even cleaning your tools.” With this, Otto has helped many artists launch successful careers.

Now looking to share his love for his craft with even more people, and help keep his industry flourishing, Otto is sharing his story with new audiences. He invited Sweet-Orr – his preferred workwear brand when crafting dangerous materials with extreme temperatures – to his studio to tell his story. As a part of the ongoing #LoveWhatYouDo campaigns series, Otto shares why he dedicated his life to his craft and how he keeps his passion alive in a demanding creative industry. 

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