“No life worthy of the name consists of anything more than the continual series of struggles to develop one’s character through the medium of whatever one has chosen as a career.”
I remember it like it was yesterday, it was a sunny Sunday morning on April 11th 2010. I was on my way home walking to the central station when I walked past the Rijksmuseum. Knowing that I was going to move to Paris that same year, I decided to finally visit the museum. Something I hadn’t done my entire 20 plus years of living in the Netherlands.
Still to this day I can recall the exact painting and the exact moment when the inspiration hit me. It was Stilleven met bloemen, by Hans Bollongier, 1639. There was something about the curvature of the tulips that got me enthralled and opened up my eyes to the hidden worlds inside the still life flower paintings. It was as though the inspiration was already in me the whole time, waiting for the right moment to present itself and blossom in my mind’s eye. From that point on everything had changed.
In each and every bouquet of flowers there was a hidden world waiting to be (re)discovered. Instantly I was drunk with possibility and excitement; with my head being flooded with ideas. Ideas of how I can bring these worlds into being and share them with the rest of the world.
Upon exiting the museum I decided to purchase a gift book – Bloemen Flowers – featuring some of the still life paintings from the museum. I still consider this to be the best investment I’ve made in my life.
Each image begins it’s life with an inspiration. Since I bought the Bloemen Flowers gift book back in 2010 all my inspirations have originated from this book alone. In order for a painting to inspire me it needs to have a certain level of detail with which I can work with.
Once I’ve selected the painting, I cover it with ordinary tracing paper – I never damage the original piece of art. I then begin to tease out the hidden patterns in the painting using blank ink marker pens.
When I feel that the artwork is ready and I have no more detail to extract from the original painting, I move on to digitizing the image using Adobe Illustrator. I prefer to work digitally because it allows me to make very detailed refinements to the final artwork and it provides the greatest amount of flexibility when it comes to printing.
Once the vector file is ready it’s finally time to print the artwork. My favorite paper to print on is Hahnemühle German Etching for it’s smooth fine texture which gives a crisp finish to the artwork.
My dream is to one day exhibit my work at the Rijksmuseum, alongside the paintings which had first inspired my work.