“I was born with a tormented soul,” says South African artist Joel Bermano. Early on in his life, Bermano suffered from OCD; later, depression plagued him after he “started to analyze everything in this world.” However, after many years and without any formal training, Bermano has started to creat beautiful works of art, a new passion that is saving him from his own torment. Having had the opportunity to spend time with Nelson Mandela on many occasions, this artist was recently honored when the ailing Mandela found the strength to sign Bermano’s painting, “Madiba’s Rainbow Nation.” This weekend his work will be on display at the Bego Ezair Gallery’s Southampton and Greenport locations.
The road that led him to art is a unique one. “Growing up, I was not artistic at all,” Bermano says. “In fact, I did everything I could to avoid going to a museum, yet I always held on to a distinct childhood memory of a third grade sponge art competition I had won.” Twenty-three years later, in 2003, Bermano was living in London. Experiencing freedom like he never had before, he felt the urge to paint big, bold flowers. Later he moved to Las Vegas, and the adjustment to life in America was a hard one. He then became the youngest licensed boxing promoter in Las Vegas history, a license that has only been given to 30 people in the world and is the highest level of recognition in the industry.
In 2006, Bermano moved to Dallas, “where I should have been happy, but my earlier years of torment left a huge void in me.” In 2008, he was inspired to paint again, and has continued to pursue the developing passion that he is “so thankful for.”
In March 2011, he gave up his position in marketing to become a full-time artist, and he has decided to donate half of his gross sales to charity. “My paintings are pure and are painted from my soul,” he says. “My body is merely the vehicle that gets them on the canvas. After suffering from torment for nearly thirty of my forty years, I am now free and my incredible freedom is expressed through my art. The joy I feel when I paint is nothing short of pure exhilaration and I can’t stop painting because I simply can’t wait to see what the painting will look like when it’s done.” Bermano lives by the saying, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” He now experiences life fully, and his passion and vitality can be seen through his artwork.
“Discovering the Inner Child” from 7/9-8/10. Bego Ezair Gallery in Southampton and Greenport. Opening receptions: 7/9, 5-7 p.m., 136 Main St., SH. 631-204-0447. 7/10, 5-7 p.m., 437-443 Main St., GP. 631-477-3777. www.ezairgallery.com. [/expand]