Asante Magazine 2010

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Interview Asante Magazine

What prompt you to begin your pursuit with art?

I wanted to express myself in a very personal way, making pictures that can be put up a wall to look at, hoping that people will find them interesting, intriguing, challenging and attractive.

How would you describe your art?

They are mostly on a large size cibachrome prints of photographic images that are actually montages made in photoshop, and this go's into every little detail. They are complex and are getting more so. Mostly I do portraits of people, many of them children because I like that innocence that they have and which is at the same time not entirely true, and sometimes they are landscapes or still-lifes, it depends on the subject that I choose. I often work in series, and they have one title, for the rest they are numbered.

Please give us more details about the Cibachrome technique.

The Cibachrome technique is the oldest technique that produces long lasting color prints, and it has proved herself because it is over 50 years old and prints made that long ago are still in perfect condition. But how it works technically I don't know, you can find it on wikipedia I am sure. Today Cibachrome is named Ilfochrome, because the company was taken over by Ilford, I believe they are located in Switserland.

Where do you get your inspiration from as far as your works are concerned?

That can be everywhere, sometimes a photo in a newspaper or magazine, in a strange book I found on a flee-market, then after a while you find yourself making an image archive, a collection of pictures you found and put together in a box. When you go through this you will see many pictures that are interesting to you and that will effect inspiration. That is one way, another is just to think about things that are important to you, collect your thoughts, be aware of them, and after a while you will get idea's out of that, they lead you up to conclusions.

I am very visual, I think visual and have many images in my head, you could say that all those images in my brain-image bank mix and produce new images. Inspiration for me also means being concentrated and focused on my brain image bank and picture image bank, going through these image banks always lead up to making new ideas, that's how I do it.

When you were a student at the Art School "Sint Joost Breda" had you made up your mind about the form of art which you would follow in the future?

No, I hadn't. I had no idea of how the future could be, I suppose I was very naïve.

So soon after graduating I already stopped working as a graphic Designer, and started to make Art. I feld this was more important and interesting to do then working on a job, trying to please the person who was giving me the assignment.

Is there a story usually hidden behind your works?

No, there isn't, I try to avoid stories as much as possible, I want to make a monumental work, that works like a symbol and gives you a certain feeling This is told in little details, the expression in the face, the clothes the person on the picture is wearing, the background. All together this expresses my idea,

Which of your works would you pick out?

I do not have any favorite work, but I like big works like World #26 or 17.

Is there another form of art that you deal with?

Yes, I do some graphic Design, I have studied it in Art University and make my own books for example. And recently I have made 2 sculptures, the are casted in bronze.

Who are your favorite artists in general?

In general my favorite artist are Edvard Much, Otto Dix, James Ensor, August Sander, Mike Disfarmer, Federico Fellini, Henry Darger, Diane Arbus, Marlene Dumas and many others…

Have you ever imagined your life without art?

No, not really, I think it would be very difficult for me, a totally different life that I am having right now.

Do you believe that an artist ever stops the quest?

No, I don't think so, a true artist always continues his voyage in the arts, it is a strong passion and drive for ones life. It would be very strange to stop this, it is only possible when one gets sick and is unable to work anymore, a very sad thing.

Do you have the artist's insecurity, thus exposing yourself through your works?

Yes, I suppose all artists are insecure to a certain point, this is mainly because you have to prove yourself over and over again, people want to make sure you can do it and the want to see that. But another point is self-criticism, an artist gets more and more critical on himself, and he needs to develop his art to different and better works. This is difficult, a point were you can get insecure.

We live in difficult times; do you feel that art constitutes a way out for the every day people?

I really don't know if Art gives a way out for all every day people, not all people like Art, more people hate it I heard! For them sports is probably a nice way to relax and enjoy themselves. But for those people that take an interest in Art can really loose themselves in it. It can be a very strong passion, and there are so many works of Art to study and enjoy. You can fill your life with that.

What would you say for the elitists of the art?

It is nice that there are people working for the Arts, and taking it very seriously. People like Art Historians and curators. That is important work I think, they are specialized and become an elite in Art. It is only a problem when they like a certain Art movement and only promote that while neglecting other Art forms, thinking they are the only ones that decide what is good Art and what is bad. Than it go's wrong and this is often the case unfortunately.

You are a very productive artist, having made many exhibitions all over the world. Do you think you will visit Greece some time in the future?

Lets hope so, I have never been to Greece so it is about time I went there!

Do you have a message for the readers of Asante?

Always follow your heart.


by Ruud van Empel. All rights reserved.