Interview Officina do Pensamento

Heartfelt thanks to Paula Valéria de Andrade, jornalista & escritora, for this interview

1) When did you start painting ? And when it was your first professional exhibition ?

I started to paint like everybody else - in my youth. In my teens I was more interested in music and I learned myself how to play piano and guitar. Meanwhile it seemed that I had some kind of talent in drawing. I started to paint more seriously at the age of 19. To become an artist was very importent to me; my friends and I fully agreed that being an artist was the best thing you could do in life, the highest stage, the most importent occupation in society. Maybe it had something to do with the overestimation of self-expression in those days (I grew up in the seventies which was, unlike the sixties, actually a rather boring period in Holland; a lot of institutions we have in our society nowadays got their shape and the creative outburst of the sixties - although it seems clear that the artists in the fifties were of greater importance and the art in that decennium was much more interesting- was over).

Finally I had my first exhibition in the city of Den Haag. I sold a rather large painting .

That same summer of 1982 I went to the University of Amsterdam to study art history. And I met Hans Min, who became not only my best friend, but we also started to work together, painting together on the same canvasses. His talent is enormous. We wanted to paint like the jazzmusicians make music. Sometimes we still work together, making statues of wax. The best ones we turn into bronzes and we have met some succes.

During my years at the university we still continued exhibiting our paintings. And I discovered video. I made an educational video for the archaeological museum of Amsterdam and was nominated for the Sony Video Award Holland. In 1988 I finished my study at the university and I first started to work as a director, making videos at the university. Soon I lost my interest (although I still make some videos occasionally) and I concentrated on painting, nothing but painting.

2) Why did you use oil paintings as your style ? Any specific reason ?

I like oil because it has a very rich and lively surface. If I compare it with acrylics, this plastic paint looks dead and cheap. Acrylic is suited for painters who have a lack of skills and it is a fact that oil is much more difficult to work with.

3) How Amsterdam has influence in your themes ?

I learned that it is of great importance to make images of the things that you know best, things that surround you. I also learned that it is important to choose the simple things. The other things are more subject for litterature or whatever, but not for painting. If one takes a look at the works of great artists like Picasso, Braque, Morandi, Bonnard, name them all, you'll notice that their subjects, their starting points in their work, are the things of which they are surrounded.

I was born in Amsterdam, I live in that city (although I also have built a house in Paramaribo, Suriname, because I like a tropical climate) and it is no surprise that I like to paint the canals with the boats.

4) Who are the masters you admire and why ?

I like the work of the dutch painter Karel Appel because of his energy, his skills of keeping the colours so clean, the texture of his painting and the sense of the forces of nature in his paintings.

I like George Breitner, who is an impressionist, very well known in Holland, but in Holland only, who made tremendous paintings of Amsterdam.

I like the french painter Eugene Leroy because of his patience, the skin of his paintings and his integrity.

I like the delicate works of Pierre Bonnard because it is hard to resist him. I mean, everybody likes him, with the possible exception of Picasso.

I like, of course, Claude Monet. He understood how to combine colours to create the world he shaped in his garden. It seems obviously, but there always remain a mysterie in his work. He knew how to paint light and did it in a light way. Everything is vibrating in his paintings and it is a pity that he almost became too popular, so people only know his work in reproductions. The brilliance of his colours is much richer than shown on your calendar.

Of course there are many more painters I admire ( Willem de Kooning, Morandi, Baselitz, van Gogh, Goya, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Titian, Delacroix, Zurbaran and many, many more....)

5) Tell us about - when and where - you did your last 4 exhibitions-shows.

My last shows were in the galeries I always show my work. I have several galeries in Holland (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Breukelen, Warmond, Helenaveen, Fijnaart, Middenbeemster).

This month I will have a show in Helenaveen, somewhere in the south part of the Netherlands. At the vernissage I'll be in Tuscany, in the north of Italy, where I am invited to work and exhibit the results. The town is called San Gimignano. In december I'll have a show in Amsterdam. In march I will go to the province again for a show in a place called Breukelen. Descendants of this place gave name to a well known part in the United States of America; Brooklyn....

Next year I already planned exhibitions in 3 galeries. I hope I'll find time to spend in my house in Paramaribo, in the jungle of South America....