dinsdag 18 april 2017

Reaching Rock Bottom: a solid foundation for personal and artistic growth!

As I have been quite consumed by the move to the new studio and the set up of a whole new workplace, I unfortunately have had very little time to update this Witty Art Blog. But the good thing is, I have also recovered and in a way more or less rediscovered a bunch of older work I created throughout 2015 and 2016 most of them either sketches in first stages or just plain unfinished works.

So, I kind of went through them again, sorting them out and filing and, where and when needed, adding the final touches. Often it was the not so simple case of a bit of finetuning, while with others I decided to leave them just as they were. For some, only the titles were lacking - but the process of naming my work can also be a difficult and challenging one.

But, managed well, I think. Either way, here are a couple of these recovered works of Witty Art, most of them drawings made with a combination of graphite pencil, charcoal and/or conté crayon. I do like the contrast between the fine pencil lines and the velvety robustness of the charcoal, interacting with the harsher tones of the conté crayons.

This combination of materials provides for very strong images, powerful but with a touch of tenderness to it. Edgy and raw, yet strangely soothing. Well, I like to think so, at least. 

So, I updated them on this page: Witty Singles, Part 2, together with a whole batch of other Witty Art, most of them created in the late fall and winter of 2016.

And to be honest, when I look at this particular page and compare to them to the Singles I made in the period 2013-2014, I am quite proud. For I can see my work has definitely grown, as whereas at the time I was forced to give up my home and my workplace, I was so afraid that losing a proper place to work would limit or even stop me from developing myself as an artist.

That fear was real. I had been there before. And I remember so clearly, whatever happened, I would not let that happen all over again. Not this time. So, with the support of my dear loved ones, I kept on creating Witty Art. With a simpe fineliner or a fountain pen, in a notebook, which prompted the birth of my artbook ''My Life In Limbo'' (which I am STILL working on, more on that again SOON). Later, I rediscovered the pleasure of pencil drawing and materials such as charcoal, pastels and conté crayons and so on.

And when finally I got to work with ink again, I could feel that my work had been enriched by, in fact, I had feared most. That reaching rock bottom would leave me wasted and worn out and unable to create and be myself for a long, LONG time. 

Turns out, I was wrong. So wrong. In fact, I can say that reaching this all time low point in my life, helped me to become myself in many more ways than I ever could've imagined before.

In fact, Rock Bottom proved to be a solid foundation of some kind, at least! 

woensdag 5 april 2017

A new studio for both Witty Art & Witty Projects (and much more): Studio PuRRR

So, I've been a bit behind on updating this Witty Art Blog - but for a good reason! The last couple of weeks have been insanely busy with preparing the move to my new workplace at Studio PuRRR, the creative artstudio I set up last year, together with my creative partner and fellow artist Deborah van de Beld. For a while, Studio PuRRR was a travelling pop up initiative, trying out some small-scale creative and culinary concepts on various locations - but pretty soon we found a more permanent place for ourselves.

We have moved into Schiezicht, a local, Delfshaven based community initiative, founded and ran by a group of dedicated locals who share the same views on grass roots community and place making, creative and social entrepreneurship, local economy and sustainability. It was there, when looking for a venue to host our production Horen Zien en Schranzen (an art and literature event featuring Dutch poets and singer-songwriters) that we stumbled across this really great space with the full potential of turning it into the ideal artstudio and the perfect homebase for both our creative companies and artist practices, as well as all other individual and combined projects: Studio PuRRR.

And as our luck would have it, the Schiezicht crew were looking for some new faces to join their team as well. So, after a couple of talks, we reached an agreement and we got the keys to what's now our very own studio!

Now, an important part of this agreement with Schiezicht is that both Deborah and I are both part of Schiezicht's core crew, helping this initiative grow and develop further. I do so by taking care of external communications (digital newsletter, website, and so on) and Deborah is part of the cooking team, which serves tasty homemade meals to the neighborhood at a friendly price. This fits seamlessly with our own vision on creative and social entrepreneurship, creating additional social value for the community.
Schiezicht means so much as ''view on the river Schie'', very apptly named as it's located directly on the riverside of the 'Delfshavense Schie' in an area of Rotterdam called Delfshaven - to be precise, on the outer fringe of a neighborhood called Bospolder Tussendijken. Perhaps not the most glamorous part of booming Rotterdam (hot, hip and happening on all kinds of To Be Lists and in the middle of the grip of gentrification) with high unemployment rates and many vulnerable people living in the margins of society. But to us, it's one of the most interesting because of its combination of a cultural diversity, social resilience and creativity, outer edginess and hidden gems of local entrepreneurship, artists and makerspaces. 

And sure enough, we aren't the only ones, as Bospolder Tussendijken managed to grasp the attention of The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, who visited the area and it's local makerspace Bouwkeet in person only very recently. Read an impression of her visit both here and here. Unfortunately for us, we were still busy renovating our own artists space then, but rest assured, we are more than ready for her next visit!

Either way, I for myself am extremely happy for the opportunity to be working in this new studio, which, in more than one way, proves to be the perfect venue for not only creating Witty Art and developing myself further artistically but to roll out further Witty Projects, in a way that suit me - because I firmly belief in the concept of commercidealism: the ability to run a succesful business and a profitable company, that will enable me to sustain myself as well as generating some form of social return. What exactly, I am right in the middle of finding that out - as I am still rebuilding my life and my business, after having lost my house and my home about almost two years ago. A process, I've been trying to visualise in my Witty Art Book ''My Life In Limbo'' (which I am behind updating too, will do so SOON!)

It's still a long way to go. It's still a steep hill to climb. 
But I no longer feel it's a whole mountain. 
And I've found, that going downhill no longer means hitting rock bottom.
I've found that rock bottom isn't that scary after all, too.

And I am determind to make this work.
Because I no longer simply believe I have a lot to offer to society.
I know I do. 
And this time, I will do so in the way that is right for both society and me.