Music was my first love,
and it will be my last.
Music of the future
And music of the past.
(‘Music’, John Miles,)
When I am working on a painting, as I was, for instance, on the work “We can be heroes, just for one day”, David Bowies music filled my studio, out loud and intense. It was a tour de force creating and finishing this painting in just one day, in one motion. The music drove me, gave me a superfluous amount of energy. I played “Blackstar”, his last album, all the way. It was a shock that he died, seemingly sudden; therefore I needed my work to process this.
Looking at this painting now, I see reflected in it my strength, and a great dynamic gesture. Throughout the act of painting, I experience an entire range of emotions. As these emotions occur, they are the unfiltered versions of themselves. I let them influence me to a level where I control how they emerge and how I had better suppress them. Constructing a painting is not just an emotional or rational occasion; it is also a very technical event. In a certain state of mind, where ratio and emotions are in a fragile equilibrium, it is a very precarious position in which I can hold myself just enough to complete the work.
Once chosen, I apply the texts in a work that stands alone, or when the texts require a more spacious approach, I work on a series of paintings. It might appear to be a mere rational method, whereas most of the times the reason to start working on a painting, is emotionally charged. Subsequently I made works triggered by the deaths of Amy Winehouse, Joost Zwagerman, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.
Music has the power to freeze me exactly where I am at, literally and figuratively. These are moments I want to document. In my studio, I find myself standing before my canvas, of a finished painting. I might stand there just for a brief moment, or for a longer period of time in which I linger and think it over. In this gap of time, there is nothing that demands my attention. All I have to do is let my painting carry me, accompanied by the music or song that filled my head whilst working on it.
In search of an even more direct way of transmitting what I wanted to state with my work, I took up digital drawing. I started out with a tablet and a pen; the pen reacted to the bare minimum of pressure, and was therefore a wonderful tool for me that allowed me to work on this tablet as I do on my canvas. It made it possible for me to focus on composing, color and conveying meaning as I imagined suitable for the text I used. All I had to do was turn on the music and be care-free regarding the drawing, not even focusing on results rather than just creating room for thought or contemplation.
To my joy, this way of working generated images that were bright, colourful, and almost seemingly casual in their processing. One could imagine or desire a more traditional way of producing images. What makes me curious regarding this notion is the presumption whether the more traditional production of images can merge with these new available techniques. When all is said and done, it must always come down to the quality of the image, prior to its formation. The paintings and drawings that will be shown during the exhibition: “Music was my first love”, all find their origin in music. Without music… I can not imagine how this diversity and richness ever could had come into existence.
“To live without my music
would be impossible to do.
In this world of troubles,
My music pulls me through”
(‘Music’ John Miles,)