Born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1976, Ross has lived and worked in Cape Town since the age of 4. His artistic beginnings were encouraged by both his parents; Alleyne, an artist in her own right who worked for many years as a fashion designer, and his father David, a mechanical engineer and draughtsman.
From an early age, he enjoyed drawing and had a fascination with sailing ships and aircraft, often copying images of them from books. He sold his first small paintings of sailing ships at a small curio shop in Hout Bay when he was 12 years old and won a regional ‘Tall Ships’art competition at age 11. Having no formal training in art, and only taking it as a subject in high school, he continued painting in his spare time while studying engineering and working. In 1997 he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering from the University of Cape Town, and then also went on to complete a Masters degree in biomedical research, also at UCT, which he completed in 2001. Since then he has been co-managing the family business with his brother Rory, manufacturing tailoring mannequins and fit forms for the garment industry both in South Africa and overseas. In his spare time he continues to pursue his passion for art and painting.
Having no fixed preference to any particular style or subject matter, Ross prefers to paint subjects that have strong compositional qualities and that are emotive to the viewer, be it a moody landscape with dramatic skies, a colorful urban landscape or an arbitrary group of figures.
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He is averse to the notion of hyper-realism, and feels that a painting should convey the mark of the artist, in being able to see brushstrokes and evidence of the painter’s energy and thoughts. He therefore finds more inspiration in the works of the impressionists or post-impressionist-style painters such as Monet, Van Gogh and Turner, than in the works of realists. He makes use of both palette knife and brush for landscapes, often applying the paint thickly to create a textured surface to describe trees and fields, and also adopting a quite painterly style for both urban and figure studies. His works are characterized by strong use of colour and form, and place emphasis on the relationship between the contrasting area of light and dark, in order to create a dynamic composition.
Ross is currently a member of the South African Society of Artists (SASA) and has exhibited and sold works at several of their regular Kirstenbosch exhibitions. He has also exhibited with the Original Cape Art group and has sold numerous work privately to both South African and international buyers. He paints regularly with the Artists Co-operative in Observatory, founded by students of South African artist Ryno Swart.