Biography of Mitya Sargeant....Digital Artist, Pilates Instructor....Web Designer

When I was a student at Westville Boy's High School in Natal, South Africa I had to make a decision. In my Standard eight year (Grade 10) I had to decide which subjects to choose. My mind said to me, pick accounting, my heart said to me, pick art, as it's something that I really enjoyed. Sadly my brain won the tussle and three weeks into the accounting experience I knew that I had made a very big mistake. Fortunately with swift action I managed to change my life's path and joined the art class. I matriculated with Art as my best subject. Also while at high school I partook in ballet classes, a very unusual thing for a South African male to be doing. This was done in secret as the stigma of being a male ballet dancer could make life incredibly uncomfortable. Only in my last week of school at a party did I display my finesse for the intricacies of ballet. To my surprise I survived and fellow colleagues may have been impressed. Another decision followed and that was either to pursue dance as a career, or go to art school. I knew that dance was short lived so I chose to study ballet at the University of Cape Town where I had a marvelous 2 years enjoying University life and also developing the discipline of Dance.

I was invited to join the NAPAC Dance Company. I continued to paint whenever I had the opportunity along side my dance career, pursuing more of my abstract ideas that had developed from school days and then something happened. The purely abstract shapes suddenly started to take on shapes of moving figures. Dance which filled most of my life, unconsciously, crept into my painting. Whilst with the NAPAC Dance Company I had my first art exhibition which was a huge success. A few years later I married Fiona and we traveled to Great Britain. Here I exhibited in London at the Earls Court Gallery, and in Bath. We returned to South Africa and continued to dance with the Cape Town City Ballet and also exhibited in the foyer of the NICO Theatre Complex.

 

Having been involved with dance now for some 10 years I felt as if it was time for a change. I left the dance to concentrate on a pottery career. It was a very demanding life style and unfortunately seasonal therefore not bringing in a stable income. I managed to supplement my income with exhibitions of my work alongside other artists in the Art in the Avenue Exhibitions which happened twice a year. I lived the artist's life spending countless hours working on painting after painting and like many artists wondering when these creations were going to receive the ultimate gratification, to be sold and hung on another wall.

It was understandably a difficult life and eventually my rational mind began to seek other interests of livelihood. My interests with computers developed and I knew that I had stumbled onto something very exciting when I endeavored to build my very own web page. In the process I became a systems engineer (MCSE) building networks, repairing computers and other highly technical things. This seemed exciting but after a while (about a year later) my creative spirit began to shout out, or should I say scream. Something inside of me was simply dying and I was not going to allow that to happen. I just had to be creative, I had to paint. January 2002, a decision was made. With the help and encouragement of my wife and family we decide to open our home as a private gallery to show of the accumulating amount of old and new work. I was alive again, rejuvenated and passionate about my life and work. My work has also been exhibited at several galleries in Cape Town such as the Sembach Gallery in Hout Bay. The high street Constantia Gallery in Constantia to name a few. I continue to include ceramics in my portfolio.

Sadly the life of an artist is indeed a difficult one and having struggled through 2002 and 2003 I once again began to realize that something else had to be done. In early 2004 I happened to watch a Pilate's demonstration at the UCT Ballet School and realized immediately that this was something close to my heart. As a dancer I was always looking for ways to strengthen my body and specific muscles. Many of my colleagues in the dance world had followed this path and it seemed to be a natural progression. I needed to be trained and I found an excellent teacher called Rene Watson who over the next year would teach me a huge amount about Mat work and the equipment classes and how to teach others correctly. I opened my first studio in Observatory, Cape Town. Two years later we moved to Montagu and I set up a studio where my wife and I offered group and equipment led classes for another 6 years. I complimented my classes with climbing lessons at a local climbing gym. As life is full of twists and turns we decided to turn our home into a Bed and Breakfast Establishment. Pilates and climbing seemed to take a back seat and the B&B surged ahead. Some 2 years later we sold the house and moved to another and took on the challenge to renovate this home and turn it into something spectacular.

Alongside renovating our home I design websites and digital creations. I also hope to have a ceramic studio up and running in early 2014. To view my work please visit the gallery.