zaterdag 30 augustus 2014

Final selection of Witty Art for this year's Route du Nord!

Yes! Nu dan de definitieve selectie gemaakt voor Route du Nord! Van 26 tm 28 september a.s. zijn deze werken te zien tijdens deze jaarlijkse kunstmanifestatie in Rotterdam. Dan exposeer ik, net als vorig jaar, weer samen met de vier overige leden van collectief Bij Gelegenheid: beeldend kunstenaar/dichter Astrid van Rijn, upcycle kunstenaar Heleen van Zantvoort, beeldend kunstenaar Margot Annuschek en fotograaf Laura Zwaneveld.

Het is, na enig gepuzzel en geploeter, een selectie van 9 ''Singles'' geworden. Geen series dus, maar werken die allemaal op zichzelf staan. Allemaal tekeningen op A4 formaat en vervaardigd met pen, inkt en minimaal gebruik van waterverf. Met dank aan collega-kunstenaar en 'mede-Bij Gelegenheder' Astrid van Rijn die mij kwam assisteren bij het maken van de moeilijke keuzes. Uit ruim bijna 70 werken een selectie van 'maar' 9 maken, bleek, eens te meer, echt een kwestie van ''kill your darlings''. Uiteindelijk bleek het natuurlijk vooral een kwestie van intuitie en ''gut feeling''.

Op de foto boven de uiteindelijke selectie van negen, hieronder even twee ''er uit gelicht'': ''A World To Be Blamed'' (links) en ''So Tell Me'' (rechts), beiden vervaardigd in 2013. De uiteindelijke selectie bevat werken uit zowel 2013 als 2014.

Nadere details, zoals exacte locatie en openingstijden worden z.s.m. bekend gemaakt! 

For my international followers: so, I did it! Here's the final selection of Witty Art that will be shown during this year's Rotterdam art manifestation Route du Nord, September 26-28.This year too, I will present my work as part of a group exhibition together with the other four members of artists' collective Bij Gelegenheid, which loosely translates into 'The Occasion', or to be more precise: 'when the occasion occurs'. They are: visual artist/poet Astrid van Rijn, upcycle artist Heleen van Zantvoort, visual artist Margot Annuschek and photographer Laura Zwaneveld.

As it turns out, this year's showcase will be a selection of the so-called Singles, works that are no part of a specific series and all have their own story to share, and their own title to bear. Getting to this final selection was a severe case of ''kill your darlings'', as I had to bring back over 70 Singles to a final selection of 9 max. Well, I succeeded, with great thanks to Astrid van Rijn for lending me her support and her critical eye. 

The picture on the top of this blogpost shows the final selection of nine, the other two images on this page are two ''Singles in the spotlights: "A World To Be Blamed'' (left) en ''So Tell Me'' (right), both created in 2013.

Once I know more details, such as the exact location and opening times, I will let you all know. Perhaps a few of you might even be around .. well, if you are, you are more than welcome to drop by!


woensdag 20 augustus 2014

Motherly, Smotherly Love but love none the less: ''Mummies' Dearest''

Another recent series that saw the light is ''Mummies' Dearest''. I have not yet dedicated an individual blogpost to this series, but as it's turned out to be one of my own personal favourites, I feel it's now time to write one. 

''Mummies' Dearest'' is all about a Mummy's enduring, all-consuming love for ''her'' little ones. Perhaps, not at all very healthy love. You could call it motherly, smotherly love, I suppose. But, nonetheless, still love. And in a cold, heartless, even dystopian world, any kind of love will do. Even for 'Mummmies'. 

Despite its rather heavy subject, somehow, I thoroughly enjoyed creating this series. I just took a liking towards the main character in the drawings, as she (yes, she is definitely a she, well, to me she is - feel free to think or feel otherwise) has some definite charm about her appearance, even though the whole scenery contains something disturbing. 

As someone recenty told me: ''Charmingly disturbing or disturbingly cute, can't exactly pinpoint what it is about your work in general and definitely about this series - but, for me, it's one of those two.''

For now, I have finished the first six drawings. There will be more. This is one of those series I feel I am not done with yet. It'll be interesting to see how this one will develop itself further. Will this end badly, like ''too much love will kill you in the end'' kinda thing or is there some kind of an escape route. Or is it really all that bad? 

dinsdag 19 augustus 2014

When people adrift become the Unwanted: A Family Portrait

''The Unwanted: A Family Portrait'' is a series of drawings pretty much in line with the theme of ''Silenced Minority'', which is about oppression and repression of minorities.

''The Unwanted'' basically consists of a number of portraits of people on the run. The little folks, the ''everyday people'', the ones that are of no importance to the powers that be: the decisionmakers, the influencers. The politicians, the multinationals, the generals. The little folks are the ones that have no influence on the greater events that make up the history of our times. These are the people, whose names aren't mentioned in the history books - apart from, perhaps, certain statistics. But the thing, is, when these great historic events go horridly wrong (and boy, how often they do so), these people are the ones who have to pay the highest price. If not with their life, than at least with the way they led their life.

When those in charge create the kind of upheaval, that forces people to leave their homes, to uproot their lives, they have no choice but to go, to wander and look for safety and shelter elsewhere. That is, if these are anywhere to be found, in a world in which borders are more and more rigolously set and guarded. A world, where human lives are more and more determined by their economic value. In this world, our world, millions of people are adrift, seeking refuge or simply a better life, only to end up in the no man's land between states, between nationalities, between identities. The Unknown. The Unwanted. 

You, I, we all know some of these people. We've seen them on the news, in documentaries. The casualties of war, the refugees on the loose, the victims of events not even remotely caused by them. If not, then look in the mirror. Because what happened to them, could very well one day happen to you. To me. To all of us.

One thing though: this is not a political statement of any kind. My work deals about human nature and both the greatest and the darkest stuff mankind is capable of 'achieving'. As I often tell my friends: ''Had 'mankind' been a product, the manufacturer would have organised for a totall recall ages ago.'' Rather than a policital statement, just like ''The Silenced Minority", these are drawings about compassion with people, families, who just want to escape from war, hunger, violence, death. They just want a chance to rebuild their lives. Or what's left of it.

In some ways, it also reflects a bit of my own family history, who once had to leave the land they were born, the land they had known to be their home, and migrated to the unknown country they called their fatherland but had never seen before.

Now, for those of you who have become curious: my parents were born in the former Netherlands colony of the Dutch East-Indies, today's Republic of Indonesia. As Indo's, or to use the official term Indo-Europeans, and as Dutch nationals they were no longer wanted in the young and nationalist republic and what once had been their country of birth had become an unfriendly and alien nation to them. So, they sold whatever they could, packed up their stuff, boarded onto a steamliner and made the long journey to Holland, the unknown fatherland, after having been through years of Japanese occupation during World War II and, immediately after that, the revolutionary uprising of the Indonesian nationalists, resulting in a dirty independence war with many various atrocities commited by both sides.

It's an historic event, that, though I never wanted to admit it, has strongly influenced me as a child and still does, as an adult. In a way, it has shaped the person I am today, my views on the world, on mankind, on society, on relgion - well, basically, anything. And it definitely shows in a lot of  my art work, especially in a series like ''The Unwanted - A Family Portrait''. 

donderdag 14 augustus 2014

Witty Art weer te zien tijdens Route du Nord 2014!

Definitief en bevestigd: ook dit jaar is Witty Art weer te zien tijdens de bekende Rotterdamse kunstmanifestatie Route du Nord. En net als vorig jaar zal dat weer zijn samen met de vier andere leden van het kunstcollectief Bij Gelegenheid: Astrid van Rijn, Heleen van Zantvoort, Laura Zwaneveld en Margot Annuschek.

Route du Nord vindt dit jaar plaats van vrijdag 26 tot en met zondag 28 september, in het ZoHo (Zomerhof) Kwartier, een van de nieuwe 'booming' gebieden in Rotterdam. Exacte locatie en openingstijden volgen zo snel mogelijk!

Momenteel ben ik bezig om een selectie te maken uit het werk wat ik wil laten zien tijdens de Route. Dat het werk zal zijn wat nog niet eerder live vertoond is, staat vast. De afgelopen maanden heb ik veel nieuw werk gemaakt, zowel Series, als bijvoorbeeld ''Mummies Dearest'', ''Cornered'' en ''Stage Fright''. Maar ook ontzettend veel nieuwe 'Singles', waarvan ik graag een selectie zou willen tonen.

Kortom, niets staat in dit stadium vast, de komende tijd zal ik hier een aantal updates delen over het keuzeproces en, waar mogelijk, ook de volgers en fans van Witty Art bij betrekken!

Hieronder wat impressies van de deelname van Bij Gelegenheid aan de vorige editie van Route du Nord, juni vorig jaar. Toen toonde ik werken uit de series ''Egology'' en ''Heavy Weight''.

SOLD: Two-piece ''Looking Out For Nr One'' will move to a happy new home!

Today, I am extremely proud and happy to share with you all, that someone fell in love with my twopiece 'Looking Out For Nr One #1 & #2'. In fact, she fell in love so much with this twopiece, that she just had to buy it!

For those who do not know the origins of this particuliar two-piece: it was created especially for the ''Art Olympiad'', organised by the Rotterdam Centre for the Arts during the summer of 2012, the time of the Olympics in London. The theme of this art contest was 'victory'. As Witty Art is all about 'the other side of the medal', this time, almost literally, I looked at the downside of winning. More than often, the glorious victory comes at a very high price. 

So, I came up with ''Looking Out For Nr One'', a two-piece consisting of two drawings created with ink and watercolour: ''#1 Weigh Me Down'' and ''#2 Hung Up On You''. Both drawings show, in typical Witty Art style, how the most wanted glittering prize can become an unbearable burden.

When creating these two drawings, I was directly inspired by the story of Matti Nykänen, perhaps the greatest ski jumping champion of all time, the boy who people believed could fly through the sky, collecting European, World- and Olympic gold medals by the dozens. His story is that of an athlete unable to cope with success, of a sporting legend who, after his sporting days had ended, only made the headlines because of his alcohol abuse, four consecutive divorces, money troubles and even a new career as a stripper.

Apparently, I managed to get the meaning across just right, as ''Looking Out For Nr One #1: Weigh Me Down'' was elected the winner of the Art Olympiad. Now, this is something I am really proud of, especially since one of the jury members was Dutch athlete, Nelli Cooman, former European and World Champion 60 meter indoor during the second part of the '80's and the first part of the '90's. For someone like her, an acclaimed former top athlete, to see and recognize the meaning of this particular work, means a lot to me.

donderdag 7 augustus 2014

Mijn vijf favoriete hotspots voor foodblog All That Food

Goed, deze post heeft niet direct met Witty Art te maken (indirect dan weer wel, daarvoor moet je wel even doorlezen), maar wel alles met de stad waarin ik leef, en die mij, op vele vlakken, telkens weer weet te inspireren en te verrassen. Ook als het op Witty Art aankomt!

Een tijdje terug werd ik benaderd door food 'n lifestyle blog All That Food. Of ik vijf van mijn favoriete culinaire of horeca hotspots in Rotterdam kon opnoemen? Euh, hebbie even? Maar, helaas, het mochten er maar vijf zijn. En toen koos ik, een tikkie bewust, voor een paar plekken in Rotjeknor die misschien niet alle vijf even voor de hand of in de loop liggen. Want niet allemaal even hip, hot, happening, buzzing of hoe het allemaal ook mag heten.

Maar, alle vijf zijn ze wel onvervalst Rotterdams. In die zin, dat ze ''my home town Roffa'' een stukje rijker, inspirerender, bezielender maken. Het stikt in de stad van de keihard werkende ondernemers, die er telkens in slagen om weer met nieuwe plannen en initiatieven te komen of er gewoon in slagen een plek die al jaren bestaat, van nieuw elan te voorzien. Kortom, vijf bijzondere plekken waar je gewoon eens geweest moet zijn!

Nieuwsgierig naar mijn vijf favoriete hotspots? Bekijk ze hier!

All That Food
All That Food is een food 'n lifestyle blog van freelance journaliste/blogger Claudia Pietryga. Met All That Food blogt ze enthousiast, vol interesse en met kennis van zaken over zaken als gezond, lekker, duurzaam en biologisch bereid eten. In de korte tijd dat het blog bestaat, heeft het al een grote schare vaste volgers aan zich weten te binden. En natuurlijk vind je All That Food ook op Facebook

Leuk detail: Claudia Pietryga is ook nog eens een fervent liefhebber van Witty Art. Samen met haar partner schafte zij een tijdje terug twee werken aan uit de reeks 'Innovation In Carnation', waarvan zij, zo heb ik begrepen, nog steeds zeer veel plezier hebben.

Binnenkort komt ook Claudia zelf aan het woord over wat haar aantrok in Witty Art, en wat haar bewoog om Witty Art te kopen. Samen met reacties van andere kopers en volgers van Witty Art!