Wednesday, December 17, 2014

B-mail

Study (20x20cm) for the original
"B-mail painting" (80x80x4cm) 
Hard to imagine a world without e-mail nowadays. Somehow, our ancestors did manage to survive without it. They used other ways to pass on messages. For instance by using the bark of birch trees. 

Before the mass production of paper the inner layer of birch bark was used for writing by various cultures. Its usage goes back many centuries and includes Buddhist scriptures from the first century.
Russian texts, discovered in Novgorod, have been dated to approximately the 9th to 15th century. Most of those documents are letters written by various people in old Novgorod dialect.

Birch bark is still used in some parts of India and Nepal for writing sacred mantras. While victims of the Soviet repressions used strips of birch bark to write letters to their loved ones back home. Due to inaccessibility of paper, those victims, who were enprisoned in the Gulag-camps in Siberia, did not have a choice. Examples of birch manuscripts from Latvian victims of the Soviet regime are currently being considered to be included in the UNESCO "Memory of the World" heritage list.
Nevertheless birch documents were also used to send small, social messages. Just like we use e-mail, text messages, twitter and whats-app today. Must have been the slowest tweet ever...
Interested in buying? Check out my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

African Queen

Africa. Cradle of humanity. Where the queenmother of mankind most probably has been born. One might expect the political situation on this continent to be more stable than anywhere else in this world. Not so.

Last Sunday (*) the government of Zimbabwe had its opponents molested. Another example of the endless violence on our way to freedom. Freedom, so it seems, is a bloody nightmare to achieve. I dare you all to take a look straight into the eyes of the African Queen, the founding mother of mankind, the mutual mom of us all. Look into her eyes and try to answer my question: 'Is your mother proud of you?'




(*) Comment: African queen is one of the first skredches I have made way back in 2007. Unfortunately there still are many conflict zones all over the world today. The final painting (image below) is a diptych, total format of the two parts is 160x160cm.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cereal killer



Once in a while we like to make ourselves a luxurious breakfast. Maybe I should call it brunch as we certainly are closer to lunchtime than breakfast. Of course such a buffet needs freshly baked bread. Croissants to be more precisely. And they are soooooooooo easy to make:

Unpack the tin can, starting at the red spot.
Where is it, where is it?
Unroll the ready-made dough.
Darn, it all sticks to my fingers.
Cut it into pieces.
Knife, give me a knife!
Spread a little milk on top of it. 
Ehm...do we have some milk, love?
Roll the bread into a triangle just like a croissant is supposed to look like.
Oh boggers! Math. Now you see: cooking is rocket science!
Then place them into the preheated oven.
Preheated?
Alright, I’ll wait for a couple of minutes....

Meanwhile I can clean up the first mess. Three plates, two knifes, a bowl of milk and…what’s the peanut butter doing over here guys?
Then all we have to do is wait. Wait for ten to fifteen minutes and your homemade bread is ready. Most of the times our house is filled with the sweet scent of burned toast as I always happen to be just a few, tiny, seconds too late. Today we managed to get them out just in time. Not bad for a guy who usually takes cereals for breakfast!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Free runner

Local politicians, far from thinking ‘out of the box’, felt the urge to control another development of freedom. Young athletic kids enjoy the unofficial sport of free running. Stepping and jumping against all kinds of constructions, they find their way through the city. Walls, buildings and identical structures like statues and sculptures are used for “flip-flopping” and “wall-flopping”. No way politicians will allow this. Let the regulations rule! So: official structures are built and certified areas reserved for the illegal gamers. 

Alas….the runners have chosen otherwise, neglecting the especially designed environment, they continue their unplanned exploration of the city’s cultural inheritance. Duh-huh, why do you think it’s called free running?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Secondair

While working out a small sculpture, based upon yesterdays entry, I reminded the Second Life logo: a hand with an eye. Hands are used since mankind started to express creativity. The legacy of the founding fathers includes many grottos filled with exciting, ancient wallpaintings, including lots of ancestral hands.

Now that we are exploring the virtual world, a simple hand is not enough. We are supposed to transform ourselves into new lifeforms. Our alter egos are reshaped into "avatars" and other exotic creatures. The replacement people are buying and reselling non existing materials, even pieces of land, thus becoming an interesting target for marketeers, business men and politicians. 'Go west young man', is no longer the expression. Everyone is rushing into the virtual space where anything is possible. If people buy stuff they cannot touch. I thought, they might as well buy perfume they cannot smell. So...opening soon: my own perfume shop in the virtual world.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lipstick on my finger

Man and wife. 
Shopping. 
She is asking him how she looks in this dress. How this ring will fit with her white gawn. 
"Do I look fat in this dress dear? Do these shoes match with the color of my eyes honey?"

As soon as he asks her for an opinion about some clothes he likes, she immediately takes over the conversation and convinces him to take something else. Anything else, but not what he has found. Most of the time something he would never have bought himself, and now he is condemned to wear it every day and hear her say to anyone who will listen, or anyone she can make listen to her, how marvelous it was that she had found it, because otherwise he would have bought this stupid, out of fashion, yet comfortable, sweater.

But anyway. They went into the perfumeshop. She wanted to buy a lipstick. They always want to buy a lipstick. Did you ever fancy how women try new colors of lipstick? They put it on their hand. Not on their lips where it is supposed to be placed, but on their hand and fingers! Not one, not even two colors. But as many as possible. It looks like a contest of Indians getting ready for the battlefield. Who can wear the most different lipstick colors on her hand? And in the end, when all testers have been tested, she simply says. "Nah, they are all the same. Won't take them."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dutch Quixote

Wooden shoes, tulips, cheese and...windmills! That's Holland. My country.

We don't walk in wooden shoes any more. Even the Dutch feet are covered with Crogs, Birkenstock and Uggs nowadays. Tulips? It appears to be a polluting industry which too, ofcourse, can be done cheaper abroad. Leaving us only cheese and our famous windmills. That is...

The beautiful mills, once built to create new land, are limited to merely 1,000 pieces today. And we are still counting down. The craftsmen necessary to preserve the old mills are hard to find. Oh yeah, we are building new mills. But these cannot be compared with the old stuff in any way. Long tall poles of metal rising up at the horizon, or, if you're one of the unlucky non flying Dutchmen, in your backyard. Fortunately the 'older' types of the "windmill 2.0" are replaced by more productive mills so we have less environmental damage. Nevertheless the old mills have lost this battle. Say: "cheese!"

Image above, detail of the original painting below (80x80cm, acrylic and sand on canvas): 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Izzit?

An exhibition of Marlene Dumas, Dutch / South African painter (*) has become subject of criticism. Some people admire her work, and think it is refreshing, renewing and remarkable art. While others cannot appreciate the 'painting by numbers' and believe Marlene's paintings are not art at all.

One of the most well known drippers of the 20th century is the painter Jackson Pollock. His rebellion style of painting was based on 'dripping' and 'pouring' paint upon the canvas. Many have asked the question: 'Is it art, or ist the result coincidal?'

Brave New World author Aldous Huxley stated: 'You might ask when a drip-painting is finished. The artist could go on for ages...'
Apparently Pollock himself struggled with the question for all his life. One day he asked his wife, the artist Lee Krasner, to judge one of his paintings. Not to hear from her whether the painting was good or bad. But only to know 'Is this a painting?'

The answer had been given years before by the Belgian, surrealist painter René Magritte in his painting 'La trahison des images, 1928–29' (The Treachery of Images) which became famous for the statement written beneath the pipe he had painted: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe.", French for "This is not a pipe." In short, Magritte's statement means that the painting itself is not a pipe. 


(*) Dumas was born in South Africa, but as she lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, she is considered to be a Dutch artist. Once you're famous, you are easily and most of all conveniently incorporated in any nationality. That's the way it goes. Once you become president of the USA but your ancestors come from Kenya...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Is it?

Everything will be alright in the end.
And if it's not alright,
it's not the end!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Senses

Incredible foggy it was. Hardly any sight at all. I could not even see the dog, which I knew was somewhere near my feet. Around me, only the sound of silence.

A silence which is hardly heard these days. Noone dared to drive through the mist this late at night. No cars, no bikes and nobody walking by. That is, I did not see them. The leaves of the trees were soaked by the mist. The water slowly dripped down. I could hear every single drop falling on the ground, on the grass or in the nearby water. I knew where I was. Yet the surroundings were not looking familiar and somewhat surreal. 

Accompanied by the squeeking sound of my shoes and something which I hoped was my dog, moving along at the end of the dog leash, I slowly walked back home before I would lose the way. Or my senses.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Loansharks

Animal Planet showed a documentary about "commercial shark fishing". The reporter traveled along the world to find out which companies were still fishing endangered sharks. Terrible to find out that even in the coastal waters of countries like Costa Rica (where the preservation of flora and fauna, as well as their environment has become one of the major issues) local fishermen are triggered to catch all sharks for consumers.

As the number of sharks is reducing rapidly (for example: the number of White Sharks has diminished with 95% in only 50 years) the lack of adult sharks has led the fishermen to catch even the youngest specimens available. 

All in the interest of consumers who want to have their sharkfin soup. This is even more incredible if you imagine that numerous ingredients are used to add any flavor to the soup as the highly appreciated shark fins have hardly no taste at all. Except for the fins, the shark's body is unusable for human consumption and returned into the sea. A cruel death for the 'ruthless killers'. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rappa


Mia gave me this CD: 'Live it out' by Dutch singer / songwriter Alain Clark. A couple of great songs that I've enjoyed much lately. She was actually looking for Sean Kingston as I particularly like his song There's nothin'. (featuring 'The DEY' and Juelz Santana). 

This made me remember a sketch I've made a while ago, after seeing rapper Eminem's official acting debut, the semi-autobiographical movie "8 Mile".

As Eminem has said, this movie (released in November 2002), is not an account of his life, but a representation of growing up in Detroit. An important part of this film is based upon a rappers battle. Tough neighborhood, tough life, great way to express yourself on stage though. Now rappers are great marketeers. In almost each and every song they will mention their own name. Add a little bit of 'slang' of the 'hood' and you'll understand the title. Rappa. My name is Rappa. Please let the chorus go, Sean!




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reality kills fantasy

The amazing Dr. Phil. Offering a solution to all problems. Why do people feel the urge to consult him? Why would anyone share his problems in public in the first place? The answer to any problem is found within yourself. There's no need to consult anyone.

The thing is, once you are drowning in your own sorrow, crying out selfpity, your mind is not working on finding answers or solutions. Your approach should be the one of a child. Facing problems like you have made a new discovery. Everything is possible as long as you are thinking out of the box. Even when you are living in a box.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Shoe on the highway

Recognize this? You're driving on the highway, cars all around you. Then suddenly, right in front of you there's a shoe. All alone, standing on the middle of the road. 

How did it get there? What's it doing there? Did someone try to run across the highway and accidently lose his shoe? Was somebody brutally murdered, transported in the back of a car when the shoe dropped off? A whole conspiracy is unfolding in your mind; you are looking around you in fright. Who dunnit? 

Or was somebody driving in front of you who suddenly realized she was wearing the wrong type, or color of shoes and instantly decided to throw them out of the car? Why a single shoe? Why not an apple? What is that shoe doing there?

And you know it's nothing. No more than another question that will be puzzling your mind forever, like "where did the other sock go?". But...it's there. A shoe. On the highway. And now it's in your mind. An unsolved mystery that will haunt you till the end of times. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

KING


"You shouldn't bother" she said. "You're the king of worrying."
No worries.
Your love is king...

















King is one of the first skredches I have made. The figure does represent a king, however the story refers to the Sade song "Your love is king". 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Boxart

Painting in my atelier, or what I call my atelier, cause in real life it's no more than a part of the garage, is kind of a hazardous job. Trying to work around my paintings, means I have to crawl all over the place. Walking on empty buckets, hanging over an old table, using an empty fishtank as storage, sitting on a chair I have pulled out of my car...the shed looks a bit like a surrealistic painting itself.

When I look at the supply of new canvas-frames, waiting patiently in their cardboard boxes, I imagine a pile of Andy Warhol objects standing right in front of me. A pile of boxes reaching toward the ceiling. Each of them calling for attention. Waiting for their fifteen minutes of fame.


[February 1968 Warhol had his first international retrospective exhibition at the Moderna Museet gallery in Stockholm. The exhibition catalogue contained the best-known quotation by Warhol: "In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.". Probably the only comment of Warhol that most people know.]

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Escaping the shadow

The past is a shadow
that walks along with you
whether the sun shines
or not.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Guellovoetsluis

A tiny salamander was crawling across our livingroomfloor. It seems only a few days ago, but I know it was early Spring, when I ran into another salamander. It was sitting upon the street, almost frozen to death. About seven centimeters of amphibian was giving its best imitation of Gaudi’s famous lizard. However, this one happened to be sitting on the middle of the road in Hellevoetsluis instead of Parc Güell at Barcelona. I saved it from being squashed by a car and released it near the small pond in our garden.

I've never been sure whether Gaudi’s mosaic dragon was a salamander or a lizard. Before releasing ’my’ salamander, I made a photo of the little guy. Though it’s tail was not in full mating colours, it was easy to see this was a male. According to taxonomy its four toes clearly indicated it was a salamander, not a lizard. Knowing this I compared my photo to Gaudi’s creature. The photos of Parc Güell's famous inhabitant definitely showed five toes, thus confirming it is a lizard. 

The Spanish tourist office has declared Gaudi’s design ‘a salamander-lizard’. Interesting, a non-existing hybrid of an amphibian and a reptile. Anyway, who cares...we all know it is a sculpture…fountain…mosaic…kind of thing…And my version has three toes!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mailman

It's about a year ago that we heard it in the news. Over 7,000 men were going to get fired by the mailcompany. Cost effectiveness, EBIT and other managerial evidence was used to underline the importance of the reorganisation and the loss of jobs. 

That was over a year ago. All actions to underline the importance of the postman's job and the small wages they get in return did not matter. It seems to be a dead end street. Actions to delay the delivery of mail, only seemed to delay the fatal moment. The use of e-mail has reduced the number of the good old snail mail letters. Post stamps already seem to have become extinct, or at least an endangered species. I'm convinced that within time we will see the last (mail)man standing, to deliver the last letter ever. So 'pro memoria': the mailman!

Check the available artwork and fun stuff at Society6.
Please note: original artwork only available through the artist.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Elevator













Years ago, when I was working at the temp office, I was used to receive people looking for a (new) job every day. The enthusiasm of some applicants was appealing, but sometimes their expectations were in contradiction to reality. Looking for 'big money', or awaiting a 'flash career'. Stories of successful careers are admirable and thus the golden boys are creating their future. Planning their way up.

It doesn't take a management book to understand you have to do it all by yourself. That's where the expression came from: "There is no elevator leading to success. You'll have to walk the stairs yourself."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Headlines





















Occasionally I still read a newspaper. Though most of the times I prefer websites and television to get informed about the things that shake the world.

Not much good news though. Mostly a lot of war, violence and, being a victim of these times, economic despair. No wonder people read the way I do: picking up the headlines of the news and then quickly move to the comics!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Make Over



















Remember Zappa? Guess I've been seeing too many shows about possible make overs lately. They are trying to pimp up your car, refurnish...no, rebuild, your entire house and, last but certainly not least, redesign, reshape and rebuild your entire body. Hmm, would have been nice, but after a while it's all going back in its former shape. Nothing lasts forever. But, hey! I still see the same guy in the mirror every day.

Nah, it really doesn't matter. That's what Zappa told us. 'You are what you is.'

[Original painting: 25 pieces (!) of 40x40cm. The first sketch is incorporated in this painting]

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

We

May 5th is known as the end of World War II at The Netherlands. Most people are not aware of the fact that former "Nederlands Indië", nowadays known as Indonesia, still was a part of our kingdom in those days. A part of our country which was not yet free. Liberation of the Asian parts of The Netherlands lasted until August 15th 1945. 

Anyway...war is over? No. One should think we had learned our lessons of the cruel experiences of the past. But instead, the battle continues. Even now WWII has formally retired, battles continue in many countries of our planet.

Not an honourable way of thanking the thousands that gave their life for our freedom. Churchill used two fingers to make the V for Victory. "We will never surrender", he said. I suggest we rephrase this: "We will have peace." Let's use three fingers from now on, to make a WE...for all of us!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Freedom is not just a dream



Must have seen this movie four or five times by now. 'Instinct', a 1999 American movie. Anthony Hopkins plays Dr. Ethan Powell, an anthropologist who lives in the African jungle, amidst a group of gorillas. To protect the group, he attacks some phoney Wilderness Park Rangers, and is sent to prison. Dr. Theo Caulder, played by Cuba Cooding Jr., tries to find out what really happend in the jungle. Instead of finding answers, he becomes entangled in a quest to learn the true history and nature of humankind. 
At the end of the film, Powell writes a farewell letter to Caulder: “Dear Theo, I'm sorry I'm not there to say good-bye. You were right. Freedom is not just a dream. It's there on the other side of those fences we build all by ourselves”

A phrase which has become a motto to me: Freedom is not just a dream.

[In The Netherlands, May 5th is celebrated as liberation day to commemorate the ending of WWII]

Take a look at the painting, based on this entry. (Detail above). This painting is for sale!