Wessel matriculated in 1980 at Voortrekker High School, Bethelehem, Free State. In 1985 he acquired a BA Fine Arts (Cum Laude for Painting & Drawing) from the Free State University. In 1990 he acquired his BA Honours in Art History at Johannesburg University. In 2017 he received his Master of Arts in Fine Arts with distinction from Wits University.
Wessel started his career as an art teacher in 1986 at the Bloemfontein Technical College. In 1988 he moved to Johannesburg and worked as an art director on numerous films and TV drama series. During this period he also freelanced as an illustrator for Frontline magazine, Maskew Miller Longman Publishers and De Kat magazine. In 1991 he was appointed as the education officer at the Katlehong Art Centre. While at the centre he was instrumental in establishing the Visual Arts and Crafts Academy (VACA) in 1992. The school operated in Germiston. He stayed on as principle of the school until end 1996. In 1997 he moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where he worked at Kulturhuset (The House of Culture) In early 1999 he moved back to South Africa and joined the television production company Tin Rage. While with this company he Co-produced/directed/wrote the 13-part South African literary magazine program Between the Lines for eTV. He also produced numerous documentaries for local and international TV, amongst other the popular life style magazine program broadcast on SABC3, Life’s Bazaar. He also freelanced for the news agency Reuters and Channel 4 during this period. In 2004 he founded Tin Rage TV Productions. This company produced numerous feature documentaries as well as the 72 part docu/drama series Solving It for SABC3 and were nominated and won several SAFTA awards for this series. He also started mentoring young documentary film makers at Big Fish School of Film Making in 2010. He continued as mentor until 2015. He also mentored young film makers for the C&CI Film and PPC Imaginarium Awards. Among the films he mentored, the following won international awards. In 2010 Litshe le Golide Won Best Documentary Film (International Category) in Turkey at the International Istanbul Architecture and Urbanism Film Festival 2010. In 2013 My Last Swim won the Montreal Black Film Festival in the category Best Documentary Short. In 2014, Waterborne Won two SAFTA’s for Best Cinematographer and Editor in a Documentary Short. In 2014 My Zulu Lesson won the Silicon Valley African Film Festival in the category Best Newcomer for a Documentary Short. In 2016 he moved to Rosendal in the Free State where he now practices as a full time artist. Since 2016 he has participated in several group exhibitions and his work has, amongst other, been collected by The South African National Art Bank. He has held two solo exhibitions and participated in several group exhibitions in South Africa and in Europe. For further details on his art career please turn to Exhibitions Page.
2017: Residency – Glo’Art International, Belgium
2012: SAFTA – Nominated best factual entertainment – Secret to Survival (Producer)
2012: SAFTA – Nominated Best Documentary Short – The Karaoke Killers (Director/Producer/Writer)
2011: SAFTA – Nominated best documentary short. Solving It -Playground of Carnage (Producer/Director)
2008: SAFTA – Nominated Best Factual Entertainment – Solving It 3 (Producer/Director/Writer)
2008: SAFTA – Nominated Best Cinematography in a Feature Documentary – Custodians of the Country Side. (Producer/Director/Writer/DOP/Editor)
2006: SAFTA – Won Best Factual Entertainment – Solving It 1 SABC3 (Producer/Director)
2000: Avanti – Won Craft Award: Best research – Between the Lines eTV. (Producer/Researcher)
1995: USIS Scholarship: Visited US on two month research trip.
1984: Merit Award – Rolfes Impressions ’84 – Johannesburg Art Gallery
Please see EXHIBITIONS page for art career details