“Everyone can say what they want, but I do hope that my work comes across as fresh, dirty, firm, crispy, dirty, clean, fast, strong, smooth, messy, sleek and of course cocky.” – Ide André
Somewhere between the concrete walls of the Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, a talented kid with a big mouth and an urge to paint was bound to challenge perspectives. Years later, he found himself rumbling in his atelier, experimenting with ideas and creating things out of chaotic settings. With a determined attitude and an open mind, he managed to turn everything into a form of art. Some people liked his work, some people questioned it; either way it got attention. Right now, he’s working on several projects all exploring the relationship between painting and everyday life with the carpet (yes, the carpet, I told you this guy can turn anything into art piece) as main subject. His work is a reflection of his personality: bold, impulsive, fun and with a fair amount of attitude. He however likes to use a couple more words when describing his own work. This is the short version of his biography, the end of my version of his story. If you prefer a more authentic one here’s the story in the artist’s words:
I once saw a show of Elsworth Kelly when I was a child. The enormous series of two-toned monograms clearly made a big impression on me. I remember staring with my mouth wide open at the big coloured surfaces. I’m not that much of a romantic soul to say that it all started right there, but it did leave an impact on me. I actually developed my love for painting at ArtEZ. I started out working with installation art and printing techniques, but I was always drawn to the work of contemporary, mostly abstract painters, until I actually became fascinated about my fascination with abstract painting. Because, let’s be honest here, sometimes it seems quite bizarre to worry about some splotches of colour on a canvas. Even though painting has been declared dead many times over, loads of people carry on working with this medium no matter what; from a headstrong choice, commitment or just because they can’t help it. I am clearly one of those people, and that fact still manages to fascinate me.
At ArtEZ you talk so much to your fellow students, teachers and guest artists, little by little you kind of construct your own vision on art. And that’s a good thing! All this time you get bombarded with numerous opinions, ideas and assignments, some of them (as stubborn as we are) that seemed useless to us and weren’t easily put on top of our to-do-list. Until there is that moment you realise that you have to filter everything and twist and turn it in your own way. Then there is that epiphany moment. That moment you realize you can actually make everything your own. I think that’s the most important thing I’ve learned during University: giving everything your own twist and constantly questioning what you are doing, subsequently always struggling a little bit but still continue until the end. Like an everyday routine.
I’m not going to enounce myself about the definition of art. That would be the same thing as wondering what great music is or good food. I think it’s something everyone can determine for themselves. I do think it is interesting to ask myself how an artwork can function and what it can evoke. There is this exciting paradoxical element within art. On the one hand we pretend that art should be something that belongs to humanity, something that is from the people, for the people; on the other hand is the fact that art has its own world, its own domain where it can live safely, on its own autonomous rules, and it doesn’t have to be bothered by this cold, always speculating world. There are pros and cons about both sides, and I think it’s impossible to make a work of art that solely belongs to one of the two worlds. As Jan Verwoert, Dutch art critic and writer, words it: “Art as a cellophane curtain”. Without getting too much into it (otherwise I’m afraid I’ll never finish this story), there is this see-through curtain between the two worlds. The artist is looking at the outside world through his work, and the outside world looks at the artist through his work. That’s how I see art and how I approach it.
My work often comes about in various places, with my studio as a start and end point. I buy my fabric at the market and from there the creative process really starts. I print on them, light fireworks on them with my friends, or sew them together with my mother at the kitchen table in my childhood home. I try to treat all these actions as painting related actions. Like a runner that goes to the running track on his bike; we could ask ourselves: is he already exercising running? On an average atelier day, I toil with my stressed and unstressed fabrics, chaotically studded around the room. Usually I don’t have a fixed plan. My process is semi-impulsive and comes from an urge. Often this causes little and mostly unforeseen mistakes, these ‘mistakes’ often prove to be an asset in the next project.
As for the future, (Lucky for me) I don’t own a crystal ball, so I wouldn’t dare to make predictions. And quite frankly I wouldn’t want to know. Young collectives, initiatives and galleries keep popping up and I think we continue to grow more and more self-sufficient. Of course there is that itch of our generation to always learn more, do more; an urge that I believe will never disappear, also not within myself. I will stubbornly continue to work on the things I believe in. Not because it offers me some sort of security (most of the time it’s the opposite) but because I just can’t help it.