LOOKING BACK ON 2020
STORIES FROM KAMEOKA
The year started with a blast, with my first solo exhibition 'Stories from Kameoka' at VOX-POP in Amsterdam (9 Jan- Feb 20th). I wrote a small article in Dutch about the project and the exhibition here. All paintings and a (summarized) texts of the artproject can be found here. I also made the artbook 'Stories from Kameoka', more information and available here. Below some photo's of the opening night, by Nosh Neneh.
A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
Looking back, my expo took place just before Covid19 landed in the Netherlands. I count myself fortunate to have participated in the artist in residence program at Kameoka in Japan in 2019 and to have had this unique exhibition opportunity at VOX-POP to show the resulting artproject, just before the outbreak of a pandemic.
We went in-and-out of lockdown in the Netherlands, museums closing and opening again (influencing how the artgallery where I work - Hotei Japanese Prints situated in Japanmuseum SieboldHuis- , could run their business), working from home and the luxury and joy of being in the artgallery again from time to time. Suddenly Leiden seemed very far from Amsterdam and the train ride some kind of dangerous adventure.
Adjusting to 'pandemic life' I found my own ways to cope with uncertainty and restless nerves: I picked up the camera again and restarted my photoproject 'Slowing down': focusing on the everyday I brought a simple single-use camera with me. Photos can be found here. The project became a kind of personal visual diary to remind myself of a difficult time in which I also experienced a lot of beauty, joy and love.
RIDE TO ART
In August, when the sun made the pandemic a little bit less daunting and nature hikes and bike rides were my weekly adventure, I participated in a creative group exhibition 'Ride to art'. This free public art event featured artworks that were being displayed in the windows of local businesses in Amsterdam Oost. A route was made public online and people could enjoy the art from outside, a Covidproof exhibition.
For this exhibition I made the biggest painting I had ever done which was a challenge, and had me running to buy new supplies a few times. It was a stressful process in which I learned a lot, the resulting painting 'Red thread of fate' seems to be one of my most popular so far. After sharing it online and at Krugerkamer in Amsterdam, I received many enthusiastic responses and the painting quickly found a new home.
TENGU ON MOUNT KURAMA
After completing 'The red thread of fate' I decided I wanted to keep challenging myself, continuing the series of paintings called 'Japanese mythology', which will all be significantly larger in size than my previous works.
A talk was organized by 'See you at art' where I explained my creative process. For this occasion I also made a process video.
This video is now on view online here: 'The making of Tengu on Mount Kurama'
SUPPORT FOR MY ART PRACTICE AND SELLING ART
The painting 'Tengu on Mount Kurama' would be shown in a group exhibition that was postponed due to Covid19. The amount of support I received at that time was really heartwarming.
But it was not only at that time. Since I vocalized my desire to seriously pursue and build my own art practice, I have received support, help, advice and interest. For a starting artist this kind of support is essential, it is a form of fuel to keep me going. I would like to thank you for your support and interest in my work.
Knowing that there is a genuine interest in my work is motivating. This year I also sold more paintings than before. Transferring the works to their new owners is a satisfactory process: from framing to actually hanging the work in its new home. The paintings sold this year went to different cities in the Netherlands and were included in all sorts of beautiful surroundings, from a Japanlover and artcollector (the painting in question is now part of a private collection and in the excellent company of - amongst others- beautiful Japanese woodblock prints) to a home where my painting is surrounded by a extensive bookcollection of a promising hardworking scholar.
My painting 'Lotus Pond' was on view at 'De Japanner' in Amsterdam West from mid-October to 22 Dec 2020. The painting is still available and will soon be on view at Liever Hier, Nieuwendammerdijk 413 Amsterdam.
SLOWING DOWN: COVID KNOCKING
My most fond memories of this year are related to my artistic achievements but also the time spent with my partner Benno, close friends Harriet and Nina, and my family. With all kind of white noise of normal everyday life suddenly on mute, this for me was also a year of love, kindness and friendship. I was able to slow down and be more in the moment.
With the year drawing to a close, Covid knocked on my door in the last week of October. This was slowing down version 2: I had very little to no energy. After being sick and quarantined at home for about two weeks and temporarily losing my sense of smell, the tiredness, headaches and other Covidrelated symptoms persisted. It took a while for me to really accept the situation of this 'Covid afterparty', but I am now living at a snails pace and resting up and focusing on recovery.
Out of this period of rest also springs a feeling of clarity, a positive sense of direction; where I want to go and how I would like to go there. I am looking forward to making new works and share them with you!
And lastly, I ended the year with finding a new way to share my work with you: A new webshop! You can view it here.
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