zaterdag 19 november 2016

When you have no option but baring it all: 'Bear Naked'

Some previews of another series I am currently working on. One I have to admit, I am really, really into right now. And again, as is the case in my series 'Lost Bear' and 'Lost My Bearings', the protagonist is a brave little bear with a challenge. This time around, he this time facing the challenge of having to come clean. To show himself to the world, just as he is. Good or bad, wrong or right, no extra additions or distractions, nothing to hide behind. To be accepted, or not, for who he is - not for what others aspire him to be.

A brave little bear faces the world and bares it all.

Here he is: 'Bear Naked'. 

Hope you will enjoy these previews - if you have no patience whatsoever and are too curious on how this series will develop further, I already posted some of the first drawings on my Instagram account. Which, by the way, you might just want to follow (if you haven't done that already) for (almost) your daily fix of Witty Art.

Hope to see you there!

'One Step Forward (How Many Steps Back)': going forward and still nowhere

In an earlier blog, I briefly introduced my new series 'One Step Forward (How Many Steps Back)' and how, to me at least, it reflects life as it just comes and goes along. That, no matter how hard you try to move forward, there is always something that seems to either hold you back. Or, when you finally have made that bold move forward, you face all kinds of setback, preferably not one, and not just a couple, but a whole bunch. At.the.same.time.

The optimists amongst us will refer to these setbacks as ''challenges'', most of us call it ''obstacles''. I prefer to see them as hills you must climb or find another way around them - either way, you have to deal with them, before they turn into steep cliffs that are almost impossible to conquer. Unless, your mind has the resilience and the ability of a skilled boulderclimber.
On the other hand, sometimes those dreaded setbacks, that feeling of ''one step forward and then two, or three, or even more steps back'' might just turn out to be very valuable experiences, as they actually buy you time. Even at moments you feel there isn't any and you have to make split-second decisions under huge pressure. Ofcourse, sometimes, there will be moments like these and you just have to go with ever decision or choice seems best in that particular situation- but more often than not, you have more time than you think.

I have learned the extremely hard way that being thrown back a couple of rounds, is not the worst thing to have happened to me, even when I felt terribly frustrated because I desperately wanted to move forward with certain things. I have found out that every setback actually helped me forward in the end, even when at the time I felt I was getting nowhere. I have discovered that with every throwback came time to think things over before rushing ahead.
Time, in which I learnt that the bold move forward for me actually wasn't such a good move at all. That, because of pure pressure and feelings of anxiety, despair even, I'd completely lost track of which direction I was heading into and had not even questioned myself on WHY I was going there. That taking one step forward and then two or three steps back made me realise that I wasn't just going in a less favourable or even wrong direction. I was worse off. I was boldly but blindly going nowhere. 

It's that insight, or rather: the whole process of getting there, that prompted me to start this particular series. Featuring, once again, a rodent-like anti-hero trying to come to terms with the whole phenomenon of going forwards and then backwards; and forward, only to find he's basically stuck, unless he admits he needs to take a step back, or two or more, to see where he's at - and which direction he should or should not take. 

And it's when you refuse to acknowledge that, that you find yourself in the position you wanted to avoid at all costs: stuck as stuck can be. Not able to go ahead, because you don't have the willpower to step back and take a look at where you are going.

It's that you will ask yourself: ''One Step Forward ... How Many Steps Back?''

So, instead of always rushing ahead, stepping back actually can be a good thing. Because if you don't do it yourself, and actually make the time to do so, that Sweet Little Bitch called Life will do it for you.

Trust me, she will. She most definitely will.

woensdag 16 november 2016

Even a Little 'Lost Bear' is the colourful type in his own lost and found way

My series 'Lost Bear' is rapidly turning out to be one of my most popular ones. And I am very happy with that, as this brave little fella is really one of my own favourite Witty Art Characters, and perhaps one of those I hold closest to my heart. Now, someone once told me that most of my characters reflects various aspects of my own personality, and to an extend, that might be true but with 'Lost Bear', such is definitely the case - I have to be honest, to both you, friends and followers of Witty Art, and to myself. 

Now, there is a lot to be said about why 'Lost Bear' is so close to my heart that he actually embodies a great part of me personally, but I am still figuring out a way to share that with you, in such a way it feels comfortable for me, as an artist and as a person. But rest assured I will find a way. 

In the meantime, I can reassure some of you that not all is doom and gloom in 'Lost Bear's' world. Yes, lost he may be, but he is pretty good at the art of wandering and as I explained before in this earlier blog, he actually prefers it that way. 

So, here's some proof of the fact that even a Lost Bear is a colourful type, in his very own lost and found way .. new additions to the series, with some added colouring ;-)

zondag 13 november 2016

Another 'Lost Bear' found a happy new home in the end!

Last night, I brought this little 'Lost Bear' ('Hey! Wanna Dance The Day Away?') to his happy new home, where a very proud new owner of Witty Art welcomed him warmly. Soon, I will hope to show a picture of this little ''lost and found one'' in his new surroundings! 

Bet he might even showing off some dance moves as well ;-) 

And, if you are interested, you can find more, many more 'Lost Bears' on this blog! Also, you can read here why he's basically perpetually glad to be unhappy!

zondag 6 november 2016

The Return of the Horned Beasts and a look at some Witty Art Inspirations

Recently, I created a whole bunch of new Witty Art. It's often that during those drawing sprees, affectionaly known as attacks of the Gotta Draw-virus, new characters manifest themselves in my work. And sometimes, old familiar ones reappear, sometimes having undergone some kind of make-over as their apperance has changed, due to a constantly developing signature style, the use of materials, the paper or canvas selected, etc. And sometimes just because, well, they can. 

A long, LONG time ago, while still studying at the arts academy, I developed a strong fascination for bulls, goats, deers, capricorns, any kind of horned animal or with some kind of antlers, big or small. It's hard to pinpoint where exactly the fascination comes from, but it's not an uncommon image in the history of art. We only have to think of the prehistoric rock art, also known under the more scientific name of Petroglyphs: drawings or carvings on rock, made by a member of a prehistoric people. 

When I first read about these drawings as a young child, I was immediately captivated by the boldness and directness of these images. So strong, so effective, not a trace of doubt, the artist then intuitively knew what he (or she?) had to do, where to start carving each line; and where and when to stop. Made with the most basic of tools and materials, and without having the luxury of being able to work by proper daylight, whilst working in a deep dark cave. It's that spirit of boldness and directness I try to strive for, to achieve in my own drawings - probably the fuel for my lifelong fascination for pen en ink and a strong desire to scratch and scrape on the surface of the paper, as if I were indeed carving into rock. Well, perpaps one day, I should - but that's for later. 

Another one of my earlier influences was the work of Israeli sculptor and painter Menashe Kadishman (1932-2015), who, in his youth, worked as a shepherd on Kibbutz Ma'ayan Baruch. According to Wikipedia, 'This experience with nature, sheep and shepherding had a significant impact on his later artistic work and career. The first major appearance of sheep in his work was in the 1978 Venice Biennale, where Kadishman presented a flock of colored live sheep as living art.[4] In 1995, he began painting portraits of sheep by the hundreds, and even thousands, each one different from the next. These instantly-recognizable sheep portraits soon became his artistic "trademark'''

'The Sacrifice of Isaac' by Mensahe Kadeshman (1985-1987)

I remember that I visited a bookstore here in Rotterdam and found myself in the art books section, which was not unusual, although I seldom bought one as they were (and still are) bloody expensive. But, a small booklet caught my eye. On the front it had a picture of the massive iron cast sculpture of a ram's head. The image got to me and I was hooked. Hooked on the powerful image of this horned animal's head. Turns out, it was one of the many huge iron sculptures from his series 'The Sacrifice of Isaac' (approximately 1985-1987), which adresses the violence of society and the destructive forces within the so-called civilized world. It made a huge impression on me and I remember, I spent a great deal of  my time working out how to draw sheep's faces and bull's heads. More so, I remember the frustration of the result being a far cry from how I imagined it to be (sorry, no pictures available, and even if I had them, I doubt I'd show them here).

That was a long time ago. I moved out of the arts, and then, after a long time, got back into them. But up till recently, no sign of the Horned Ones. Not a single trace. Up till a couple of weeks ago. There they were, making their appearance, out of no where. And I can tell you, their presence was as powerful as it was back then. And this time, no struggling on how to draw them, capturing them turned out to be whole lot easier now. Perhaps the Horned Beasts are a bit tamer this time? Or is it only make believe and are they fooling me and being as illusive as ever. Well, only time will tell as I am determined to follow their call and explore their presence and see where they will guide me and my work.

zaterdag 5 november 2016

''She Will... Always Be Your Mama'' in her happy new home - and that feels great!

My previous blogpost was dedicated to 'She Will Always Be Your Mama' moving to a happy new home. Very recently, I got the opportunity to see her on the wall of the proud new owner of this piece of Witty Art. And as always, that left me feeling extremely proud and grateful for people who show their support and apprecation of my work. By not just purchasing it for the sake of having to have it, but because they truly care about it.

And by showing they care, they are taking care of it, making sure it is displayed in the right way, in the right place. It's like a sense of belonging, somehow, and to me that matters a great, great deal.

You see, for a variety of reasons too personal to convey at this moment, or perhaps at any time at all, that feeling 'belonging' is a matter of great importance to me. In fact, I can safely say, it's one of the every present themes in Witty Art. 

Anyway, to know that my artwork belongs somewhere, makes me one happy artist, and all the more motivated to keep on creating more Witty Art!