Gary Klinkradt CA(SA) is a partner at Klinkradt Chartered Accountants – and on the side, he is an avid artist. He started painting seriously in 2003 and his art is becoming highly sought after and can be found throughout South Africa and also in other parts of the world. Gary loves to paint thick impasto paintings, mainly with a palette knife, with his favoured medium being oil paint.
We chatted with Gary about art and accounting.
What came first – art or accounting?
Accounting – never did art at school.
When did you discover your passion for art and how did you grow this love?
My dad has always painted and got ill about 15 years ago. He needed a lift to an art demonstration which I took him to and I decided to attend the demonstration with him. The painting seemed like fun, and I convinced my father to attend art classes with me on Monday evenings with local artists. I felt with was a good way for father and son to spend quality time together as his illness showed me that quality time was important. We did lessons on Mondays for about five years.
When did you turn this passion into business?
I don’t see this as a business but as my passion. I would struggle to eat if I did, but I fortunately do sell a few paintings.
Do you have a studio in the house or prefer working in the office?
I have a studio at home, and I currently don’t paint at the office. I try to separate the two.
Where and how do you sell your artwork?
I am fortunate to be involved with talented artists in Cape Town and have been invited to exhibit at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for several years. I also sell from my Facebook page, our offices and a few galleries.
As with any business, what are the challenges and some key lessons?
As stated before, I don’t treat this as a business, as I do it for the love of painting. However, I am fortunate that my art sales are able to contribute to my art supplies. As many artists will tell you, they suffer from a fear of running out of supplies.
You are also a key partner at your firm; what is your role?
I am the senior partner and currently manage the practice. Our firm has offices in East London and Port Elizabeth and has more than 80 staff members. There are three partners and an associate.
What were some of the survival lessons during COVID-19?
I was fortunate that I did not need to survive on the income from art sales, as I would have got very thin, but took the opportunity during lockdown to paint, as during the rest of the year I only paint over weekends, during holidays and the odd evening. I did, however, see the negative impact covid had on many of my art friends, as art sales generally tendered to reduce.
When helping your clients, do you think more like an artist or an accountant? Or do you think the two compliment each other?
I think like an accountant, but I find that my art balances my personality and allows me, I hope, to have a more holistic approach to my clients. I also think it helps to have a creative flair when considering certain business opportunities. Accordingly, I believe that the two complement each other.
We heard that Friday is an art day in the office – what does that look like?
The secret is to not see clients on a Friday and, wherever possible, go to the studio to paint. Clearly my long-term objective as I get older will be to paint more, work less and continue to enjoy the best of both worlds. I do love both accounting and painting, so I’m blessed to be able to do both daily.