When did you first start painting?
I first started painting at a very young age . I must have been 10 or so .My mother is actually a pretty good hobby artist so I think I got it from her . I used to draw for hours as a kid . My parents didn’t really believe in an art education . My father was a language and history professor and he had a more serious plan for me. At the age of 16 I decided to study textile design. I had no interest whatsoever to become a textile designer but this study allowed me to draw about 20 hours a week. I finished my studies when I was 19. A couple of months later I decided to start traveling around the world . Never worked a day as a designer .
Was there a moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist ?
I always knew I wanted to become a professional artist but it was only until I got 33 I had the balls to go for it . I traveled the world and worked in the hotel industry as an entertainer. I used to build sets for the big shows at night in those all inclusive resorts . Lots of painting and building involved but it wasn’t really the artistic career I had hoped for. I absolutely loved my job, met amazing people who became friends for life. I ended up working in Mexico and it was here I decided to quit my job to persuade a life as an artist . I had a bit of savings build up over the years , México isn’t an expensive country to live so I thought : “why not”.
You was born in the Netherlands, but you live and work in Mexico. How come?
I’m actually born in Belgium , in a city near Bruges. As I mentioned in the answer before I ended up working in Mexico in the hotel industry after working and living in many other countries . At the age of 33 I had enough. I thought to myself if you want to become a full time artist you need to go for it a 100% . Mexico is a beautiful country, great climate, wonderful people and the cost of living is not that expensive . Rather trying it here than in cold and rainy Belgium. Paying way to much taxes and generally everything is more expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country but I thought Mexico would give me less stress to pay my bills .
What inspires you the most in Mexico ?
It’s a beautiful mix of things. I always get angry when I read about the bad press this country gets because of the drug cartels and the violence that comes with it . Yes it does exists and we can’t turn a blind eye towards it. But this country has so much more to offer . The people are so welcoming, they have colorful personalities that reflects in everything they do. Great sense of humor.The way they live, their traditions , the food, the family values . Their music and how they paint their houses in flamboyant bright colors. If I can wrapt this question up in one sentence I would say: “Mexico gave me colors”.
How do you describe your own style and technique ?
I paint with heavy body acrylics and use big pallet knives to do so. Once that part is done I use a more fluid acrylics to splash paint over my canvas . I didn’t invent the use of a pallet knife of course but over the years I have created my own style of painting . Every 2-3 years my style evolves a bit to keep it interesting for myself . I guess you can call my style a modern kind of expressionism.
Do you have a favorite piece? A piece that was particularly fun to work on?
That’s a hard one to answer. I love to paint big so the bigger the commission jobs I get the better. I remember my first huge painting I got commissioned by a client in Holland . He had seen my work in a gallery and contacted the gallery owner about a custom made painting for his penthouse loft in Eindhoven . I was on Holliday at my parents house in Belgium at that time. A friend of mine had a huge warehouse that he used as a storage place. I ended up painting in that warehouse. I was freezing my nuts of in that place but after 2 weeks I got the job done. It was a 4 meter tall painting by 2 meter wide. Years later I had an exhibition in Miami. That same client happened to also have a place there . When he found out I had a showing in Miami he made sure to be there at the opening night. We are still friends today . Great guy .
Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?
Wow, where do I start . Picasso of course, but then again I don’t think he was a nice guy. Probably a bit snobby and well aware of his genius! Frida and Diego Rivièra maybe. Just to have some of those famous Mexican late night mezcal and tequila parties they used to have at their house . But they also used to talk a lot of politics and that can be boring. Van Gogh? I would tell him not to cut his ear and would try to convince him what an incredible talent he had. Modigliani? Caravaggio? Rembrandt? Leonardo Da Vinci? I honestly can’t choose.
What is your favorite art gallery/ Museum and why?
This must be the MOMA in New York for the simple fact they have all the big names presented in one building . I saw my first Pollock there, I saw my art hero Chuck Close there, Warhol, Lucian Freud,Frida, Picasso and so many others . Every time I’m in the big apple I go to visit the MOMA. I also like the Art Basel/ Miami event the first week of december. Every year I’ll make the trip to Miami to get my yearly art overdose. This year unfortunately it’s canceled due to the damn pandemic.
What was the last exhibition you went to ?
That must have been Context during the art Miami week last December . I haven’t been able to travel because of the virus .
Which artist materials you use and why?
I like to use thick acrylics. The heavier the better. Sometimes I add a gel to make them thicker . I use big palet knifes so I can scoop lots of paints and smear that paint in layers over the canvas . The result is a very textured painting . I love acrylics because it dries fast . Oil might give you brighter colors but the latest acrylic brands to a great job in closing that gab.
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