Jonathan Gutsa was born in 1961 in Murewa and he began his work as a sculptor in 1988 after helping his very famous cousin, Tapfuma Gutsa. He worked with Tapfuma for two years before branching out on his own.
He says that simple shapes and forms around him – often from the natural world influence his work. His recent images come from people and animals, but rather than working directly from nature he works from recollection. Apart from any preconceived ideas he may have, another source of challenge and inspiration in the stone itself. At times this can develop into a battle and arises from situations very much of his choosing, for example, selecting essentially flat stone with which he wrestles to produce a volumetric, three-dimensional image. He seems to relish this duel and is attracted to seemingly difficult raw material.
The forms in Gutsas work are often quite realistic, but the strong mental image from which he carves creates a very different work from the one drawn more directly from the subject. It is in this process that his personal feelings play a part and make the final piece highly individual and expressive. He feels that his work process is slow, but he concentrates solely on one piece at a time and does not rest until it is satisfactorily finished (often taking two to three weeks on small/medium pieces). The stone most favoured by Gutsa is Springstone because of its extremely hard nature. It gives precision and definition to his work, but is by no means easy to work with. Other stones used include Opal Stone and green varieties of Serpentine.
Gutsa says of his work in general, I enjoy working as an artist because I want to make beautiful objects. Art is a way of expressing things that are good. It teaches and shows people the beauty of the world as well as important lessons in life for younger people – the next generation can learn from what we are doing now.
Gutsas works of art have been represented in all major exhibitions internationally.