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The art of Charles Foley



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Charles Foley - South African artist - (1976 to present)


Soon after graduating from The National School of Arts in Johannesburg (former Art Ballet Drama and Music School) in Johannesburg in 1994, Charles got his first job at HerdBuoys advertising agency. He went on to pursue an illustrious career in creative advertising that spanned over 25 years. During this period he honed his conceptual, art direction and copywriting skills, amassing numerous local and international acknowledgments along the way, including being recognised as part of the team that won South Africa’s first internationally acclaimed Cannes Lions Grand Prix Award.


Charles’ artistic and creative expression has taken many forms over the years. Apart from painting and being recognised for his creative excellence in advertising, Charles has also performed as a musician and produced 2 albums with The Privates International Band. An avid philosopher and former member of the New Acropolis School of Philosophy South African branch, he has devoted much of his time and creative energy towards the study, teaching and practical application of philosophy over the years.


With a prolific reborn passion for painting, Charles draws on his commercial creative past experience and passion for philosophy to create beautifully crafted pieces that have a wealth of depth and consideration to them.


Classically trained, Charles’ work is inspired by (and pays homage to) the Renaissance, Impressionist, Idealism and Realism masters; approaching each painting according to the subject matter and essence of the moment being captured.

And although his techniques may vary slightly with each painting, one still picks up the essence of a vibrant, considered, painterly style that is distinctly his.

“Whether it’s a landscape, still-life, slice-of-life or portrait painting, I approach every piece of art with a view of creating a tangible connection to a moment that shares the simple truth of what it is to be human.“ - Charles Foley

"I strive to create works that transcend the superficial and celebrate our common humanity" - Charles Foley


Accolades and exhibitions:

1994 - Group Exhibition at National School of Arts Gallery - “A day at the races”

- Series of 2 x oil paintings of horseracing

2001 - Private Exhibition at The South African Lippizaners -  “Lipizzaner Studies” - Pastel studies and series oil paintings of the South African Lipizzaners

2002 - Private exhibition - “New York Angels”  - Series of oil paintings of women in New York

2020 - Group Street exhibition - “Walk-by Art” - series of oil paintings produced during Covid-19 lockdown period

2021 - Rust-en-vrede National Portrait Competition - 1 x Top 100 group exhibition piece at Rupert Museum - "Hendrix goes to school"

2021 - The Arts Association of Bellville National Vuleka Art Competition - 2 x Top 40 group exhibition pieces at Art.B Gallery - "Everyday Divinity (Love)" + "The one that got away"

2021 - Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation gallery (permanent group exhibition piece) - "The Spirit of Joy" ltd edition print

2022 - Apartheid museum (Desmond Tutu group exhibition) - "The Spirit of Joy" ltd edition print

2022 - The Arts Association of Bellville National Vuleka 2022 Art Competition - Top 40 Finalist group exhibition at Art.B Gallery - "The Great Marico Redemption"


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