For as long as I can remember I have been making works. Drawings and comics in primary school. High school graffiti, murals and commissioned work. I started my artist practice in Heerenveen (NL) in 1995. In the beginning the focus was on painting, partly because of my background in graffiti. Subjects at that time were mainly human portraits. The theme was often deformation of the image versus recognisability. When is a portrait a portrait? Emo Verkerk was an important source of inspiration at the time. In addition to making visual art, I started making hip hop music and writing Dutch and Frisian lyrics. After my education at the CIBAP in Zwolle, I was admitted to the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.
In the same period I ended up in a very successful band called De Onderhonden, a side project of the Osdorp Posse. The largest Dutch-language rap group at the time. Because of the many weekly performances and because I was doing more and more commissioned work, I stopped school after two years and moved back to Friesland.
Here I experienced a broadening of my visual work. Because I could now fully focus on my professional practice as an artist, there was more room for experimentation and deepening. In addition to painting, I made sculptures, video art and did performances. The common thing in all this work was the representation of interpersonal relationships and playing with recognisability. How far can you go in your work and when does the connection with the viewer break? In this context, privacy and the use of data also became a theme. This was expressed in paintings, sculptures and video art.
My work got noticed and was regularly featured in all kinds of media. I have always looked for connections and collaborations with fellow artists. Both musically and visually. Because of this I have been part of many music and art projects. A special project at the time was NAKTAR, an artists’ collective in Leeuwarden. This project was supported by the CBK and Keunstwurk. Both art institutions in Leeuwarden. Within this project, we made individual works with five artists around a common theme, with group exhibitions.
In addition, I was asked to come and work as an artist at Omrop Fryslân, the Frisian TV. For years I was seen weekly as a permanent creative part of the talk show Faktor Freed. Here I made summaries of the broadcast in improvised raps and drew cartoons of and for the guests. This broadcaster gave me the opportunity to do other work as well. I was part of all kinds of shows, also as a presenter, and made several documentaries.
National broadcasters and production houses saw my work and I have been able to do all kinds of stuff for various media for years. From short items and sketches to interviews and presentation work. I discovered the power of the medium of video and learned to take my storytelling and image editing to a higher level, through the feedback from the clients.
In addition to painting and producing videos, I was involved in sculptures and art in public space. For the municipality of Heerenveen I was allowed to make the sculpture MIDDEN, which has been given a prominent place in the city. I have also made sketch assignments and did public works of art in other municipalities.
The Fries Museum asked me to develop a plan for their De Straat project. In this project, various artists were given the opportunity to fill a space of the museum with their own work for a period of time. Everything came together in my solo exhibition Skyn and Skaad in the Fries Museum. Video art, performance, painting and sculpture. Everything around the theme of privacy.
Not long after that I moved to Broek in Waterland, near Amsterdam. The reason was love, additionally I wanted to rediscover and reinvent myself as an artist. I saw a new environment as an opportunity to try new things and meet new people.
I moved into a studio at Het Domijn in Weesp and continued to experiment with paint as a material. Different types of paint, brush strokes, drying times, markers and spray cans. My work became more and more abstract and my fascination for the direct application of brush strokes grew. Partly because of my background in graffiti, I like to work quickly and the visible brushstroke tells the story of the creator, the artist. Robert Zandvliet was of great influence at that time, partly because I discovered that we were born in the same street. I did not often exhibit during this period, because I felt that the work was not yet ready.
My museum visit also changed due to my relocation and in that way one of my sources of inspiration. In Heerenveen I was a frequent visitor to Museum Belvedère, a museum of stillness. In Amsterdam I often visited the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum and I became acquainted with other art forms, new media and the old masters.
Together with my wife I had two beautiful healthy children and I had to find a new work-life balance. It turned out to be complicated to have the right focus with young children to do good work. I then temporarily stopped my visual arts practice and experimentation and started focusing on the children and commissioned work. This resulted in starting an animation studio. This allowed me to use my creativity and it enriched my work in many ways. Many things come together when making animation videos. Image, sound, music and text. It also trained me to get to the point quickly and to convey stories clearly.
Making animation videos has given me more and more success and I’ve been able to tell great stories for well-known brands. Because of the focus on the family and the stories of others, I left my own story behind for a while. As the children grew older, there was again room to make artworks.
During my period when I was less active with visual arts, I did work on building a larger network within the art world and the creative sector. I visited openings, exhibitions and had conversations with colleagues. Visual art has never left me completely.
I made my animation videos completely digitally. I have followed the rise of digital art and NFTs with interest from the start and have found my own path in this. From understanding the technique, expanding my network, to selling digital works and prints. It became clear to me that, in addition to analogue work, I could also make digital visual art. I had already mastered the software when making animation videos and now I saw the possibilities it offered.
At the moment I paint a new abstract work every day, which I publish every day on Instagram. I do this to deepen my visual language through this experiment and to keep in touch with my supporters and to let them grow. Since November 2022, more than 100 different works have already been created, some of which are available as print and NFT.
I am interested in using codes and scripts in new ways, in combination with analogue work and as an extra tool during the creative process. I am also looking into AI and the role it can have in my professional practice.
I have a great interest in abstract art, but my visits to the Rijksmuseum have made me fascinated by the works of Rembrandt. When I saw the megapixel photo of The Night Watch on the Rijksmuseum website and was able to zoom in to a micro level, I was finally able to calmly study Rembrandt’s brushwork. As a result, everything fell into place and the plan was born to do something with the brushstrokes of The Night Watch. I want to rearrange these brushstrokes and get an answer to the question; what if Rembrandt was an abstract painter?