Thursday, 31 May 2012

To The Eyes Of The Man Of Imagination, Nature Is Imagination Itself

Manel explains the division of exhibit space
The architectural drawing of the first floor at Rietveld was brought up to us by Manel. The DOGtime part for the final exhibit is unlike previous years, it will be on the first instead of the third floor in the beautiful main building! Therefore making it very accessible, most people will get their first impression from the graduates of 2012 there. When he clarified the floor plan, dividing students in gallery spaces, I felt my knee being kicked from across the table by someones feet. Only to reveal Claudia who was sitting there with a bright smile and her thumbs up. It was then that I realized what Manel had said, i had the left wing all to myself! No shared space, just the unique opportunity to show my work in a room that is flooded by light and looks over gorgeous lush trees. It gave me a little premonition of a zenith yet to come.

Monday, 28 May 2012

I'll be your mirror, reflect what you are, in case you don't know

Dennis Verbeke 2012
'Just a ordinary portrait shoot' I repeated to myself while I biked to the studio of Rene Bosch for the catalogue of DOGtime. Standing there surrounded by professional lighting I became a bit serious. I  wanted a flirtatious relation with the camera in combination with a high energy sparkle. Yeah right. It worked out okay, this is the image that will be send into the world as Dennis Verbeke one of the graduating fine art students of Gerrit Rietveld 2012. That thought didn't help me. And the lack of any other inspirational quote made me surrender to whatever happened. The rest of the portraits are very different in comparison to last years class. To Rene it became clear that we were a group of individuals. All unique and with a own style. 

This was emphasized by the Elevator Pitch last friday where the mentors expressed that it would be difficult so summarize this year in text. They wondered if the visitors of the final exhibit next month would get a overall feeling of DOGtime. It made me think of myself while I listened to one of my playlists on iTunes. We connect sound with images in music videos so what would I look like if I had to select nine clips? What would content, and lyrics wise match with myself, my dreams my mirror? I started searching, YouTube is a endless resource of information. These are the nine tracks that I think represent me the best. If you would have to chose, which nine ones would you pick?

Self Portrait in music videos 2012

Friday, 25 May 2012

Elevator Pitch...SO WHAT?

Elevator button at studio Papenbroeksteeg Amsterdam

Artists are storytellers... SO WHAT? Whatever your creative endeavor, you have to be able to tell the story of your personal brand, and describe your artistic vision, if you want to make a difference. SO WHAT? Today the DOGtime 5th year will give their elevator pitch. What do I want to talk about? What can I do for others? What is it that I hope to do? Questions that will be featured in my pitch: what is it about me, what matters most and what do I bring to the 'art' table? These questions are followed by a SO WHAT...just to pinpoint the exact energy that should be received. I will go and try to build a relationship with the audience, I have nothing written down from A to B. I will go with the flow. Just a few words that grasp who I am and what I like to do. It starts with a 'did you know...' spoken in a rather soft tone of voice and then alters quickly by me screaming to the audience.

'Ambition is not what a man would do,

 but what a man does,  for ambition without action is fantasy' 

Bryant H. McGill

YES, I really am going to scream to the government committed jury, the teachers and students! For it reflects my energy, my need for more and my struggles. I hope I'll keep my nerves under control. Because a loud mouth should be backed up by actions, composure, body language and shift back to a more comfortable way of telling my story. Diversification is key to express what I want to show in this 5 minute opportunity with a CEO. But most of all I would like to transfer a sense of energy instead of a rational train of thoughts.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

To Roam With The Buffalo

Strength.    Courage.     Prosperity.     Challenge.     Survival.      Gratitude.

Me working on the frame
These, and many more, are words that the American Bison has come to symbolize. For hundreds of years the Native Americans of the Great Plains relied on the bison for food, clothing and to get them through the harsh winters. The bison became a symbol of many things for the people who depended upon them. The large head symbolizes an intelligence of a higher order and their strong bodies ground them, connecting them to the earth. I'm very interested in the White American Bison, or also called The White Buffalo. When the White Buffalo comes into our awareness (dreams, vision or even while hiking) it is a huge sign of promise, and great prosperity is soon to come after sighting this regal creature.

"With the return of the White Buffalo it is a sign that prayers are being heard, that the sacred pipe is being honored, and that the promises of prophecy are being fulfilled. White Buffalo signals a time of abundance and plenty"

Sams & Carson, Medicine cards.

Preparing the wire mesh to be attached to the frame
Since my Hare research last november there was a similar interest in herds of cattle. My first preliminary design was based on a real cow giving birth to her calf, while she fell through her hoofs on the ground. With the calf being dragged behind her this image is very unsettling and disturbing and NOT AT ALL in line with my current state of mind. I do not know why, where and how but all of a sudden  I was fascinated with the American Bison. Maybe it is connected with the reason why my head was in doubt a lot for the last couple of weeks. I wasn't grateful for my talent, I did not respect my work as a artist and most of all I ignored all needs for expression. This  passive state vanished as soon as my mind got hold of the Bison idea. My research really began with the dolphin realization. And it spread through my cells contaminating all further research. Now I find myself listening to sound tapes, video reports dozens of pictures of Bisons and have requested Royal Amsterdam Zoo Artist for a day with the Bison keepers! I simply must know, feel and honor the animal during the exam in July. Because I hope its presence and effect will be felt by others....

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Beginning Of The End

Recently my mind has begun to ponder the idea if I truly am as free as I think I'am. Reason for this train of thoughts is a article that compared the human brain with that of a dolphins brain. Apparently new MRI scans show that dolphin brains are four to five times larger for their body size compared to other animals with a similar size. They discovered that the neocortex - the part of the brain that is involved in high-order thinking and processing of emotional information - is even thicker in dolphins than in humans! This means that they rely on their emotional state of being more than we do. If we look at their communication skills,  their complex forms of play or even their use of tools we must accept that they are a very high intelligent form of life, just like us. It sounds so simple to say 'Yes they are intelligent, they adapted to  water and we to land' but it implies much more. It came to my mind that they do not have jobs, they all enjoy sexual activities with members of the opposite AND the same sex without social discrimination and there is no record of a dolphin attacking a human being! Now I ask you, who is more intelligent? Did they have a Christ Dolphin? Who knows... but collecting more and more discoveries from this species I realized how humans  are influenced by our upbringing and surrounding: our parents and teachers and presidents and doctors and priests and television-sets  and newspapers and magazines. The whole lot! And yet the one remaining question still stands: What is the meaning of life? 

'All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it'

Samuel Butler

Conclusion: what is freedom and am I really happy about it all? I enjoy the material world a lot. But do I need everything that is available? We need and we want, more, faster, harder and cleaner. Not so much for the other person to be happy with it NO WE MUST HAVE IT OURSELF! That is kind of strange and I believe old fashioned. We live in a world filled with abundance and yet in Holland we are told that we have a crisis. But I see no crisis, on a sunny day the terraces are full, when its cold we put on the heating. And yet our government needs more money to save the economy so that there won't be a financial disaster as in Greece. Wait a second, but you just told me we had a crisis and now we must pay to prevent the crisis before it becomes worst? Anyone with a sane set of brains knows that something else is going down the drain. What can you do about it? I'd go out for a swim, hunt some fishes and have fun with my fellow dolphin friends.... THINK ABOUT IT!

Monday, 7 May 2012

A process cannot be understood by stopping it

First try out LAB series  with four light boxes

Rietveld spins dates towards me as if they are chocolate candy bars! I've received multiple time slots for all sorts of official arrangements. There are photo-shoots for the catalogue, artist statements, elevator pitches, meetings and work plans on demand. They know I like it, i love it. It becomes all very official and that reflects in my work where I try to find solutions for all sorts of dilemmas. What feels right and what feels wrong. Are there things that add up or do they distract?  Should electrical wires be visible or can it be integrated in the work? Does it change the meaning? Should the wall be white at all? It's all part of a process that rolls out in front of me and it's as challenging as much as it is rewarding!

Second composition of the LAB series 

With the attitude 'less is more' the second composition from the LAB series has emerged. The LAB performance was a exploration of space and body. Where  new tension arose by adding a simple awkward twist. They started out very elaborate but got quickly replaced by more subtle forms of twists. At the base is still my fascination for laboratory animals. How the uncomfortable can create a comfortable zone. And so the first concepts for the graduation exhibit show follow the same stream as the rest. They will be discussed, altered and are useful right now as a simple guideline. Next chapter...

Concept for graduation exhibit in July 2012