Harry de Kleurenjager –
Photography with swing and ‘schwung’
From writing, comes writing.
From painting, comes painting.
From painting, comes writing and from writing comes painting.
From creating, comes creating and even more creating.
You might recognize that feeling, when the urge to create something keeps coming up or you’re in the middle of a creation process but you just can’t get on with it. This article tells about a game of creativity and how this playfulness with materials could serve as a means to get you going (again).
The story starts with a visit to Harry de Kleurenjager (the Colour Hunter) in his home where the door is always open and the coffee is always warm. I found him bending over a night light with a bunch of color foils in one hand and a cheap camera in the other. He had an air of peace and serenity around him, while he was fully concentrated on catching the light-reflections with his camera. I came closer to see what captured his attention and saw a branch of garlic, some pieces of trashy gag of dried out oil paint, autumn leaves and some collected little pieces of plastic. All these materials were used to create his pictures. Later on it occurred to me that the sports programme on the television wasn’t just there playing on the background but served as a vital part of the creation process as well.
After Harry offered me a cup of coffee I curiously asked him about the artmaking process I just witnessed. With great enthusiasm he showed me his immense catalogue of abstract photos. Their deep colours and multi-dimensional patterns were impressive. I asked him: “What are these photos about?” He told me: “Portraits of married aliens, alien horses, platinum trees and packaged and detached king poodles a.o.”. And asked me provocatively: “What do you see in them…?”
And now we ask you: What do you see in these photos?
“Not by learning, simply by looking. Not by thinking, but by doing. But of course it’s not as simple as that. It takes practice. Every day.”
For these photos, all the different shapes and colours are created from the same couple of materials. Only the position changes and the light is broken in different ways. You can see how the raw substances of the material come to live in these photos. When a different light is shone upon the coloured plastic foil papers, it brings forward the fluid forms of oil which are at the basis of this foil. Besides the natural forms, Harry emphasises on the fact that you can see anything in the photos, it’s illusionary and completely open to one’s own interpretation. Just as other abstract art forms it can function as a mirror, when it reflects your own association and possibly your personal state of being. And, the longer you look at it, the more you will see. It’s a practice to take your time to focus and discover your own wondrous world that lies within these mysterious photos.
Almost everyday, Harry is encouraging and enthusing the Art Therapy students at the HAN.
Harry likes the idea of making art accessible and artists approachable, this is why he wants to share his methods with us as well. He believes you can give new life to everything. The littlest things can be a source of inspiration. Mainly because the materials he uses are simple and available to everyone. Also his camera, which wouldn’t seem like the high-tech camera you expect. The known concept of thinking you need exquisite equipment to create good art is thrown out of the window. He emphasizes on a much more approachable way to art making. It’s not about the camera, but about what touches the lens. How you manoeuvre and combine all the different aspects into a single click that is unique on its own. Because it’s you who deliberately made the decision to push the button. You choose the material, how you hold the camera, the amount of light and what kind of movement is portrayed on the digital screen. It all influences the end result and is always a surprise.
“Everyone can make art, if you just do it.”
Because of this element of surprise this form of playing with materials and creativity can serve as an unexpected source of inspiration for all kinds of artmaking. This form of artmaking allows letting go of the end result. It keeps you busy without thinking too much. Following your gut and intuition. Sometimes it’s important to simply activate your creative brain. Subsequently, to maintain a creative flow the brain often feeds on little success moments. Playful tools such as experimenting with photography can offer your brain little shots of inspiration. Harry mentions that ever since he regain his enthusiasm for experimenting with photography he has been working more and more on his drawings as well.
Harry is one of those extraordinary souls who can find a story and beauty in almost anything. When we asked him how he learned to look at things like that, he answered:
“Not by learning, simply by looking. Not by thinking, but by doing.”
After some smiles from our side, he added: “But of course it’s not as simple as that. It takes practice. Every day.” And it’s worth it…
Our excitement about the photos and Harry’s enthusiasm towards Still Sunday made him decide to donate about 3.000 photos to Still Sunday. We directly used seven of them to create the posters for the Still Sunday Release Party. We’re very thankful for that.