I love to learn; so whenever I can I will put serious effort into gaining new skills. Given current circumstances a “professional” link should exist when external resources are required. In other words, no French or Vinification, but Glass blowing or Silver casting (not complaining at all!). My expectations for Silver casting were high and – despite the process being quite laborious – more than met in terms of relish. Now just find the time…
Yes – finally – I started drawing in my journal. At first, forcefully, interrupted by much staring at blank pages and without being able to translate any inspiration. Then, when Twitter pal @rdenker suggested I simply try focussing on things that I like (instead of turning to another glass of wine), without thinking too much and by just doing it. The result: nothing too complicated, mind-blowing or thought-provoking (which, naturally, is always the aim), but surprisingly it appeared to be a useful exercise.
As an artist one is expected to focus on “one” theme, perhaps a few sub-themes, work in “one” style and with “one” set of favourite materials. Despite having worked in branding – thus fully aware of the power of “one” very recognisable face – I struggle with this. Tremendously.
At the basis for my career change lies a rather extreme and overpowering need to be able to operate autonomously. Which translates into many things, but on top of my list that states: being able to be “completely me” in my work. And it just happens to be that I am a generalist, that I am interested in a zillion topics, that I am at my best when searching for the yet unknown (to me) and at my worst when I get bored; that I therefore have a serious issues with repetitional tasks and too much of the same thing.
However. Oddly, when not thinking too much and just doing the creating bit, certain things, themes and topics start to recur. Apparently, even I have subconscious preferences. To be continued…
When looking for a studio I was lucky to come across former Military Airport Valkenburg, which was built in 1939 as a response to the increasingly worrying rise of Nazi-Germany. Strategically located (close to The Hague, the Dutch political capital) it was attacked by the Germans even before it was finalised – early morning May 10th 1940. This event was marked one of Germany’s first attacks on the Netherlands. With no defense system in place at Valkenburg the Germans were successful and finished building the airport. Mid 1944 the Germans stripped and disabled the airport and it wasn’t until three days after the German capitulation, May 4th 1945, the Canadians arrived to rebuilt it in several weeks. For quite some time this tiny airport was the only functioning airport in the Netherlands and its most important point of access.
October 1947 it became “Marine Airport Valkenburg”. Squadrons 320 and 321, tasked with detecting and fighting Russian submarines were stationed here and they had 13 Lockheed P-3 Orions at their disposal. As of 1991 the airport has also served as a ceremonial basis for VIP flights for The Dutch Royal Family and foreign Heads of State.
As a result of the end of the Cold War the squadrons were dismissed and the Orions sold to Germany and Portugal. Airport Valkenburg closed in 2006 and is now scheduled to be demolished in July 2012 to make way for an urban area. In the interim, many buildings and offices are rented out.
Another interesting thing about this place, besides its rich history, is the view from the former canteen (which is at the end of the hallway from my studio). In one of the most densely populated areas in the Netherlands, such space is astonishing.
A lot of artists and non-artists keep journals for a variety of reasons and despite the fact that keeping journals – especially when being an artist – makes a lot of sense to me, I must admit that I find it difficult if not impossible to make it part of my daily routine. As such, most journals I did manage to create came about in a very non-linear fashion and do not even contain drawings – at least not from my hand.
Imagine throwing any ticket, tag, wrap, or other (pasteable) item that you come across whilst traveling, shopping or going out to a concert, theatre, etc. into a bag when you come home. I guarantee that after a couple of months or even a couple of years, you will find several bags stashed away in some corner of a closet and you will think… ‘trash or keep’? Now, despite having ignored these bags for long periods of time, I have always felt an inexplicable emotional attachment towards their contents – these little reminders of my personal history. And given that anything treasured should at least be accessible, I started pasting them into journals. So there you go, a journal can contain anything.
Having said that; in my current profession I don’t actually feel better about my personal journaling ethics and promise myself that I will find ways to fill journals with my own drawings and sketches regularly. As for you: yes! By all means do reprimand me if you don’t see any passing by in the near future.
Here are some pages from my “ticket-tag-travel” journals…
Please note that they may contain copyrighted materials. Should you see any work of yours, please inform me as to how you wish me to treat the material and I will act accordingly.
Of all the foreign countries I’ve visited, Japan to me remains one of the most inspirational. Despite my – at times insufferable – urge to search for truth & meaning, I find Japan’s tremendously rich yet relatively hidden culture in all its complexity and incomprehensibility utterly fascinating. And this makes me wonder. Am I intrigued by Japanese ‘appearances’ only?
True. To say that on the surface, visually, most things Japanese are aesthetically appealing, is an understatement. And yes, even the partly opaque veil of secrecy per se may actually contribute to my being intrigued, but I’d like to believe there’s more to it.
One of the things that feeds my fascination is Japan’s contrasts. The flower and willow world (Karyukai) of today’s geishas versus contemporary Japanese street culture. The ultramodern toilets that contain buttons for everything from heating the seat to playing music versus the communal bath houses (Sento) that also have a social function. The futuristic cityscapes versus the tradition of rebuilding shinto shrines. And much more.
Japan seems a country where tradition and progress are equally valued and live side by side harmoniously.
For some Japanese inspiration without visiting Japan, I recommend reading Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and watching Departures, a Japanese film by Yojiro Takita that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars 2009.
No of days
1 portrait, 2 paintings and 1 installation
Autonomous series (minimum of 10 works) finalised
after recent investments
Level of joy (scale 1-10)
An absolute 9
Looking for an extremely affordable personal assistant with a passion for bookkeeping :) Anyone?