Lynette van Tonder was born in Pretoria but grew up in the countryside just outside Johannesburg.
She received a diploma in graphic design at Pretoria Technikon (TUT) with a minor in sculpture and later a MMI diploma from Damelin business college.
Lynette worked her way up to the position of creative director in design and advertising winning several awards for large international and local blue chip brands.
In her spare time, van Tonder studied French at the Alliance Francaise, keyboard and rhythm on djembe and actively pursued her visual art during any spare moment.
She furthered her studies at the Summer Academy of Art in Salzburg, Austria, (lithography with Prof Werner Otte); Bill Ainslie Studio (etching); Thea Soggot (drawing / painting); Bevan de Wet and Lebohang Sithole at Sharon Sampson studios (printmaking), Professional Practice Seminar with Art Source in partnership with Lizamore and Associates.
Van Tonder’s first solo exhibition, COVERED, comments on loss of identity when abuse is hidden behind societal masks. Rather than using shock tactics, the artist presents a sober reflection inviting courage to lift masks covering wounds that require honest introspection, accountability and personal responsibility.
COVERED was exhibited at Standard Bank Art Festival in Grahamstown and a Johannesburg-based pop-up gallery. Group shows followed at Fried Contemporary, The Gallery Riebeek Kasteel, Halifax Art, Tina Skukan, Sharon Sampson studios. Lynette van Tonder also manages a Johannesburg based Visual Art Gallery on a part-time basis.
URBANISM, her recent solo, reflects randomly on the relationship between a euro-african woman and her mother-city, Johannesburg. Van Tonder expresses herself in a variety of disciplines on various substrates and media: oil, acrylic, charcoal, pastel, printmaking, photography, digital genres and multi-media installation.
Mark making is integral to her message, exposing layers hidden behind societal masks, revealing unexpected beauty when imperfection and brokenness is embraced. Architecture, flesh, masculine and feminine states, relationships and isolation, bravery and fear inform her work.