03 Mar 2023Mont Marte

Emotions, we all have them. And they’re the main source of inspiration for portrait artist and printmaker, Jason Langa (@_jlgallery).
His work takes the realistic portrait to a new level with bright, bold colours. Capturing moments of fleeting joy, sadness and deep reflection in his subjects, Jason’s art reminds us of what it’s like to be human.

We unravelled Jason Langa’s creative story and delved into how he got started, where he looks for inspiration and what he loves most about portraiture.

Artist Jason Langa standing next to artwork The Cosmopolitan.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Jason Langa. I’m a figurative painter and printmaker and I currently reside in Johannesburg, South Africa.

How long have you been creating for?

As cliché as it sounds, I’ve been creating my entire life, but it was only up until high school where I took the decision to turn my hobby into a possible profession. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and I became quite good at it. Just under two years ago, I decided to pick up a paint brush and I’ve been painting ever since.

Realistic graphite drawing of a woman carrying cleaning products on her head.

What do you love most about portraiture?

What I love the most about portraiture is the kind of message you can relay with particular facial expressions, as well as how relatable a portrait is in general. Being able to accurately reproduce a particular portrait reference is quite a satisfying thing for me personally.

Where do you look to for inspiration?

I’m mainly inspired by my daily interactions with people in my immediate environment as well as on social media. There are always very particular moments where people present pure emotions, however those moments are very short lived. I take it upon myself to take those very short moments and make them seem like they’re in fact infinite by use of my paints and brushes.

A bright oil painting portrait of a person's face with a green background.

Some of your portraits are bright and bold in colour, how you decide which colours to use?

Bright and bold colours really speak to me and I’m aware of the fact that they speak to everyone else in a very unique way. My initial aim for my use of such colours is to communicate a particular emotion in a very relatable way, hence the combination with portraiture. I also appreciate the fact that each person will interpret my portraits in their own particular way, therefore I am taking advantage of the subjectivity of art.

When do you find that you’re most creative?

I find that I am most creative after engaging with other artists and their work. I’m really inspired by quite a few established and upcoming artists and getting to engage with their work always gives me a new perspective of how I can approach my own work. Another big influence in my creative process, is the time I spend by myself. As my work is very emotive, my own feelings play a huge role in how I create my work and they have a significant influence on how the final product will turn out.

Artist Jason Langa standing in front of two bright oil paint portraits.

What are you most proud of creating?

So far, my most recent painting titled “The Cosmopolitan” is the creation which I’m most proud of. It’s my largest creation to date and I’m really pleased with how I was able to put the painting together. I find a lot of joy in being experimental and that painting is one of my most successful experiments to date.

How did it feel when you started to show people your work for the first time?

People have always enjoyed my drawings from a very early age and that really grew my confidence with regards to putting my drawings out there. It was only with my paintings where I had feelings of anxiety -- as it was a completely new medium for me. Thankfully the reception to my first ever oil painting was great and so I was more inclined to stick with using paint as well as, share my new works with people every time.

Bright blue portrait of a young woman wearing a denim dress and zebra print shirt.

Do you have a favourite Mont Marte product?

My favourite Mont Marte products are definitely the premium oil paint range. The colours are vibrant and easy to blend. They also offer great coverage so it’s great value for money.

What time period or decade would you go back to for inspo?

I would go back to the Renaissance period without a doubt. I appreciate the amount of time and effort that the old masters put into their works and it’s something I try to emulate as well. Especially with my paintings being so intricately detailed.

Bright green portrait of a woman smiling, drawn in pencil.

What’s next, what are you looking forward to in the future?

I have just completed my printmaking qualification, so I’ll be experimenting more with that new skill and trying to master both printmaking as well as painting. As time goes on, I hope to be able to incorporate both of those mediums in my future works in a very innovative way.

We hope that you feel inspired by Jason Langa’s creative journey, you can find out more about his art here.

We’d love to see what you create, #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, so we can see it!