Quintus Jan Telting was born on the 13th of June 1931 on Curaçao (Dutch Antilles) of Surinamese parents. He was introduced to the world of art at an early age by his father, Govert Jan Telting, who was a prominent painter. Govert Jan Telting took his son out painting every Sunday.
Young Jan would be carrying his father’s paint case and would watch him paint his illustrious landscapes, thereby learning about the mixing and application of paint. Personal misfortune caused the family to move back to Surinam when Jan was aged ten.
At the age of 16 Jan left Surinam as a Stowaway and was not to return until 20 years later. From 1947 till 1956 Quintus Jan Telting travelled the world as a seaman on Norwegian merchant ships. Having missed a ship in India he spent one and a half years travelling through India with a performing magician.
During his years as a sailor, Q.Jan Telting’s passion for visual art was strongly influenced by his exposure to other cultures. Q.Jan Telting filled one note book after the other with sketches from his travels. Unfortunately all drawings from that period were lost in a fire.
Apart from his passion for drawing and painting Quintus Jan Telting loved music, especially jazz music. He took up playing the trumpet when still at sea. In 1956 Quintus Jan Telting arrived in The Netherlands and enrolled at the Muzieklyceum in Amsterdam while making a living as an art model at the Rijksacademie. After 3 years he emigrated to the United States in pursuit of his own personal artistic development. Q.Jan Telting settled in New York City where he worked nights and took up painting in the daytime. His initial work (oil on canvas) show his great love of Van Gogh.
Q.Jan Telting developed his own style of painting that would be his throughout his life. An intense dynamism so characteristic of him and all of his work. “..I painted from real life for five years and then I reached a stage in which I could handle the paint in such a manner that I started painting from fantasy”.
In New York he befriended musicians that were or would become famous such as Sonny Rollins, Sun Rah, Kenny Dorham, Art Blakey, organized recording sessions, knew black activist writers such as Amiri Baraka (formerly known as Leroy Jones) and also Sam Greenly.
He lived through the killings of Kennedy, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the Black Panters and the Vietnam war. This setting fuelled his work with a message that along with his own dynamic personality and cultural heritage gave his work a powerful effect.
Quintus Jan Telting was to return to Holland in 1970 where he lived and worked till he died in 2003.
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