Active Arab Women is a project aiming to overcome Gulf Arab stereotypes by publishing the…
Steph Wilson’s photographs balance fashion, art and politics
The work of photographer Steph Wilson is perfect in its balance of fine art, politics…
Active Arab Women is a project aiming to overcome Gulf Arab stereotypes by publishing the…
The work of photographer Steph Wilson is perfect in its balance of fine art, politics…
Welcome. Good thing you’re here!
We need you. There is a problem. Art is stuck. Its meaning is locked behind a door of which no one has the key. At least, that’s what we think. We think art is useless. That it is nothing more than an ‘ooh’ or an ‘aah’. And that art is difficult. Very difficult. The riddles that surround it almost seem unsolvable.
We think differently. Art is as hard as you make it. It is there for you as much as it is there for me, free for everyone to interpret its meaning. Art is to look and wonder, to be encouraged to think and to be motivated to act. That is the power of art. We see this and we want to share that with you.
We are Still Sunday and this is our mission:
We want to achieve this by releasing an art- and music magazine every two months and support it with events. No profit. Art above all!
Come, take our hand. There is plenty to see.
This article is an adaption of the lecture that was given as opening of the first Still Sunday festival in Brebl, November the 10th. Like the lecture, it consists of a number of fragments that are connected in a rather loose, associative way without it being an easy ongoing story. Its purpose is not to tell you how it works, not to explain the value of art nor to indicate in a directive way how to look at art. What I have tried here is to say something about what I think is a desirable approach to the world and to art. About the essence of the human existence and the role that art can play in this.
Prologue: A cup of tea
The professor arrived at the Zen master’s house. Jubilant about all the titles and diplomas he had acquired during his long years of study, he introduced himself. He then told the Zen master the reason for his visit, namely learning the secrets of Zen.
Instead of explaining everything to him, the master invited him for a cup of tea. When the cup of tea was almost full, the Zen master, who was apparently distracted by something, kept pouring the tea, which made the tea flow all over the table.
The professor exclaimed: The cup is full! Any more will not fit in.
The master put down the teapot and answered: You are just like the cup. Filled to the brim with opinions and prejudices. Unless you empty your cup, you will not gain insight.
What is art?
It is important to clarify some concepts. ‘Art’ is a concept, a catch-all term with vague and dynamic boundaries and a beautiful design for various superficial and profound opinions and discussions.
Artworks on the other hand, are specific, existing, present. It is the works of art that we meet with, that can move us emotionally.
Language and desire.
The empty tea cup from the well-known Zen story is a metaphor. It’s almost impossible to speak about art without using metaphors and analogy, because there is an incongruity between words and images that simply cannot be bridged by direct description. But something is going on with language in itself as well: you can never exactly say what you mean to say.
Michel Foucault describes in Les mots et les choses – “The words and the things” – the beginning of creation: the names of things, given by the first man (created by God in His image) to the animals, plants, trees , stars, in short everything in creation, coincided with the things themselves. The names being the things and the things being their names. The language was completely transparent. That only changed with the construction of the Tower of Babel and the subsequent confusion of tongues. The original, divine language disappeared behind a veil of references. The linguistic sign or word now refers to something else.
You do not have to take the biblical story literally: that itself functions as a metaphor as well.
We are born as human beings and at the outset there is no separation between ourselves and the world around us. We do not have a ‘self’ yet that distinguishes us from the world and from the other, our being is unmediated. The French philosopher and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan calls this paradisiacal condition ‘jouissance’: literally translated joy. But almost immediately after our birth we are absorbed into the world of language, the world of the people, the symbolic order. We get a name, we are brought up, marked by the expectations of others: parents, family. That is necessary for a human being to live and survive, but we lose the phenomenon of unity with the world. The gap between what Lacan calls the symbolic order, the world of language and words, and our original being in the world, causes a loss that entails a lasting sense of desire. We were expelled from The human being is defined by a loss, and from that loss human existence is marked by desire.
Art shows us both desire itself and a glimpse or suspicion of the other side of the gap, the indivisibility, the unmediated unity with the world. What we have been granted are those brief moments that we experience as undivided, fulfilled and whole: the Zen master’s Satori or enlightenment, the mystic’s meetings with God.
‘Verlangen’, Frank Tarenskeen
The land-art artist Andy Goldsworthy, who performs magnificent things in and with nature, experiences these moments when, while climbing a mountain, he leans into the strong wind trying to find a balance.
Creed of a painter
‘I paint for friendly, benevolent people with open eyes and an open mind.’
‘Not filling your canvases with paint, but with love.’
An artwork as a palace of mirrors: Las Meninas (1656) Diego Velazquez.
The fact that you must have an empty head and an unprejudiced and open minded approach to artworks, which in itself costs a lot of effort, does not mean that you do not have to take the time to look actively.
Countless pages has been written about the famous masterpiece of the 17th century Spaniard Diego Velazquez, among others by (again) Michel Foucault in Let Mots et les Choses. However, I’m not going to tell you what to see. I’m going to ask some questions. During the lecture in Brebl I discussed the answers with the audience. I will not do that here, the questions can serve as directions. The answers can be thought up by the reader and perhaps discussed with others.
– Who is the main character of this painting, to whom is the eye drawn initially?
– Who is the person left on the canvas and what is it he is doing?
– How is a self-portrait usually made? What could we conclude from that
for the whole canvas?
– Yet something is wrong: besides the door opening with the man in it, something else lights up on the back wall. What could it be?
something on. What could that be?
– So we do not actually look in a mirror. Whose position are we as spectators put in?
In conclusion: the performance on the painting is a play with reality and appearance, which is played via us, the spectators. It only opens up to us when we activate our gaze instead of consuming it passively. We are forced to ask questions about the nature of representation, the ratio between what is real and what is representation, without expecting perfect answers.
But that is not yet everything. We get the impression of a more or less coincidental snapshot, the composition is lively and balanced, the paint treatment is superior, in short it is also ‘just’ very beautiful. It is worth taking the time and asking yourself: what is happening here?
The painting inspired Picasso to paint an extensive series of his own interpretations, in which the palace of mirrors that Velazquez presented to us, was first ‘broken into pieces’, and then reassembled again, which was Picasso’s way of adding a new layer of meaning.
Pablo Picasso – Las Meninas. After Velazquez
Still Sunday was launched with a wonderful festival. I congratulate the initiators and I wish everyone to have open eyes, an open mind and an empty tea cup.
Frank Tarenskeen, November 2018
Mirka Farabegoli is a visual artist. That’s what she calls herself since she graduated from the ArtEZ Academy in Arnhem, at the department of Fine Arts, in 2009. Her focus is mainly on drawings. Pencil and pastel crayons on paper. But Mirka uses a small set of other techniques, too, like etchings and silkscreen presses. And besides that, she started applying herself more to photography since 2016/2017, and took a step out of her comfort zone with the fabrication of several masks made out of woven fabric which are build from the same triangular shape that she uses as a formal element in a lot of her other works, too.
Mirka’s style is easily recognizable. Soft pastel-colors applied with crayons dye her mystical figures, often pictured on a monochrome* background. And even though the differences in her artworks from the different phases of her career are clearly visible, there is definitively a theme going on. ‘The in-between-world’, Mirka calls it. This world is, easily said, a world that is close to the human world, but one that contains unearthly elements. For example: the dream world. Here, Mirka’s subjects (the people/animals/mythical figures she pictures) are transformed in a way that they are still recognizable as human figures, but simultaneously would never be able to exist in this world.
During my travels through Bolivia, I have come across a culture where people draw inspiration from unreal worlds and celebrate those; a culture that has one foot in age-old folk traditions and the other in the culture and religion of the Spanish conquistadores, who brought these with them during their imperialistic strike of the South-American lands, several hundreds of years ago. The conquistadores forced the autochthonous population to work the mines. The devils and demons of the Bolivian culture that were long lingering in these mines, were made into allies in order to fight the Spanish. This alliance still stands nowadays and recurs during the Bolivian carnaval, where the bitter story of slavery is retold in a mocking manner. During carnaval, it is the Bolivian of the mountains and the mines that triumphs over the idiotic conquistadores. I found this Bolivian devil very intriguing and used it as an image in my painting La Fusion (2010).
It are these figures, like the Bolivian devil, that embody a sense of magic in the real world; mythical creatures upon which we can mirror the inexplicable things of everyday life. In this way, incomprehensibility (and the dread that adjoins it) takes on a concrete shape – the nothing turns into something and the something can be battled. This process (of concretization) paves the way to inner peace. “After my work trip in Germany, where I painted Tripkau (2012), I continued making connections between the exotic creatures from far-away lands and the magic and mythology of local stories, here in Europe. I found it interesting how, just as the Bolivians proved, ancient stories can be imbued with meaning again when you transport them to the here and now. In these tension fields, where opposites meet (old and new, but also: love and hate, life and death, reality and dreams) and join, new things can be learned. As long as you’re open to wonder.
Our good friend Von Abseits is a producer of sample-based Lo-Fi Hip-Hop beats. We paid him a visit in Berlin and made a mini-documentary about him, in which he talks about his music, philosophy and his way of living.
Von Abseits releases his very first EP on Still Sunday Records, called “Detour”:
Going on a journey, venturing into the unknown, curious for what will occur on the way… At some point, you will open your eyes and your ears and you’ll be surprised by the world and yourself.
Von Abseits started the project of “Detour” by putting together different beats and arrangements that were collected on, inspired by or began on his travels. The excitement of listening back and editing led to new beats, which, together with the other material, transformed into this EP. His very first release.
Mischa Wolff a.k.a. Von Abseits’ own words on creating “Detour”:
“The process of its creation turned out to be non linear and confusing at times. The concept formed and adapted itself according to its surroundings, the atmosphere I found myself in. It felt like taking a lot of detours on the way. It helped me a lot to let this project rest and then, after some time, returning to it with fresh ears and new inspiration. All this needed to happen to let it sound like it sounds now and for me to be here at this point.”
Take a listen and enjoy!
Beats, Hip-Hop, Lo-fi
Extended Play record
On a wintery cold day in March, me and my companion David travel to Den Bosch, where, somewhere near the train station, lies a premise that reminds me of my old elementary school. It is the temporary atelier of Koos de Vries. He welcomes us in his immaculate army-green overall at the front entrance of that which indeed used to be an elementary school. Big, concrete masonry stones form the walls that are supposed to protect the handful of artists that occupy the premise. The heating stoves, one in each classroom, give away that the concrete cannot fight the cold alone. “They’ve cut off the heating system and this is the alternative for keeping us warm. An expensive solution if you ask me. Luckily, this condo is but temporary. Soon it will be taken down,” Koos explains.
To minimize the rent, Koos shares the atelier with Peer Vink. Both of them are students at the AKV St. Joost in Den Bosch and both are graduating at the end of the semester. As a result, the atelier is boxed with paintings, sculptures and other unfinished projects. My eye meets this painting, which draws the attention with its piercing colors. It is one of the works of Koos. One half is colored with a deep vibrant red. The other half is a field of moss-green, with a soft-blue stroke of the brush here and a dot of orange there. In the middle, I see the shape of a man, slightly bent over, rummaging a sack.
The depicted colors are not natural for what is depicted. The huge field of red for example, is used for the human body as well as the air and the clouds. Koos determines his colors by what the objects feel feel like instead of what he knows they look like. Let us glance back to the beginning of the 20th century, where a group of artists did something similar. I’m talking about the expressionists. This group of artists sought, just like a lot of their contemporaries, for new ways to represent the world around them. They painted the world not how it was, but how it felt too them. And they used colors to express their feelings. As a result, their paintings were no perfect reproductions of reality (as was the tradition), but spirited explosions of color. The depicted objects kept their initial form, but the way the lines were filled in was determined emotionally. A nice example of an expressionist painter is Henri Matisse. He noticed that colors possessed more powers than simply giving-color-to-objects. “Color provokes reaction”, Matisse stated. Red can provoke feelings of anger, just as the red matador cloth enrages the bull (or so myth goes). Blue can make feel lonely and cold. With this idea, Matisse touches upon an important characteristic of colors: the use of colors in art influences the emotional reaction of the beholder.
A hundred years, and countless pieces of art later, Matisse’s belief has been accepted and adopted, but left behind by some. In the paintings of Koos, color is determined freely, just as Matisse did, but in contrast to expressionist master, Koos leaves the idea behind that every color is linked to a fixed feeling. Moreover: “Color doesn’t have to symbolize at all. Art, at least mine, comes to exist because the painting ‘asks’ for a red field or a blue background. That doesn’t mean that my red paintings are intentionally triggering anger or that my blue paintings indicate social isolation. On the contrary, I chose colors that seem fitting to fit the whole of the painting.”
Nowadays, the question ‘how to determine your color?’ is answered way easier than it was in the past. In the days when paint was produced by the extraction of colors from different sorts of raw materials, some colors were way more expensive than others. Blue, for example, was not made easily. Ultramarine, a deep, full blue which, according to legend, shined on the canvas, was one of the rarest colors in existence. In order to create ultramarine, lapis lazuli, a rare gemstone mainly found in Afghanistan, had to be pulverized and mixed with some other, less valuable ingredients. Insanely expensive color, as you might have guessed. Hence, mainly holy figures are depicted with the color – think about the Holy Virgin, for example. Color supported an idea of status rather than solely expressing a feeling like the expressionists believed. Nowadays, every color imaginable is available at every art store in every town. Blue is not worth more than yellow. Color is color.
“But who am I to tell you what to feel when you look at my paintings?”, Koos says. “My intention is not determinative for the meaning of my paintings. You always interpret a painting in your own way.” But that ultimate interpretative freedom, isn’t that dangerous? What you said earlier about color and that it not meant to be symbolic goes unprotected when everyone is free to decide what to think about your art. “As long as somebody sees something in my work, doesn’t matter what, my art is successful. But that doesn’t take away that there is a dark side to this much interpretative freedom. I’ve noticed something I like to call ’the artists on a pedestal’. What that means is that there is this image of the artists as an ‘all-knowing character’, some kind of God that is always aware of every possible interpretation of his or her work. And that is unfair.” The finger on the sore spot. Remember people, an interpretation is always guided by personal experience; it is a story that you constructed yourself by plunging into your past en picking out experiences that suit the image in front of you. To believe that an artists is aware of what’s in your life’s suitcase is a bit naïve. In short, the big message here is: the truth is made by you.
The idea of ’the artists on a pedestal’ has triggered Koos to create a series of self-portraits, where his face is the subject for different color-, form- and thought-experiments. “Self-portraits contain a bit of self-glorification,” Koos says. “Paintings where the focus is aimed totally on one face, mine in this case.” It is fascinating how the focus on one object, a face, but also an apple or a candle for example, can idolize. But it’s not strange, is it? After all, there is only one object inside the frame, independent of any other object. “And so I bring myself in the picture, literally”. Koos plays with the idea of ’the artist on a pedestal’, not only by looking what happens within the frame, but also by looking how he can strengthen his message outside the frame. His self-portraits, for example, are hanged a bit higher than the rest of the paintings, just to emphasize the idea of self-glorification.
Playing with these forms of presentation is not something Koos only applies to his self-portraits. Sometimes, he uses the exposition-space fully by using standing frames, where his paintings are not meant to be put on a wall, but rather, placed on the floor. Immediately, the possibility to walk around the artwork emerges, which adds an extra dimension. Exciting stuff can happen when you add dimensions. And exciting stuff happens in Koos’ graduation-project Watching The World Burn At Bikini Beach. It consists of three panels (in art, this is called a triptych). On these panels, we see three different characters (all of them resemble a bit of Koos). From left to right, we can distinguish: the Visionary, the Slacker and the Martyr. But what connects these three characters?
Besides the formal and stylistic coherence there is little connection between the three. But, take a few steps further, walk around the artwork en look at the back of the triptych and it all comes together. What do we see? We see a giant mushroom-shaped cloud that only becomes visible after a nuclear explosion. But sideways. And in black, white and grey. “We are looking at the product of the atomic tests that have been held at Bikini Beach, shortly after the end of World War II,” Koos explains. We look at it, but not only from our own perspective. We also take on the position of the Visionary, the Slacker and the Martyr. In other words, the two sides of the artwork are the two views you would have if you were standing in the middle of Bikini Beach.
The middle, the position that every beholder of art occupies, always. Not only with Koos, but with all art. Always at a safe distance, a small step away from reality, ready to reflect on what is happening in front of him or her. That is where the power of art lies: the step back that enables you to reflect on the world around you, objectively. What you make of it, of Koos’ face in his self-portraits, of the color red in the first painting or of the Visionary, the Slacker and the Martyr, is entirely up to you. There isn’t always a message, but there is always the freedom to interpret.
THE RAFTMAN’S RAZOR is a Zen/existentialist fable about two boys fascinated by a comic book hero with no superpowers. He only wakes, shaves, thinks a philosophical thought, and drifts alone at sea. We interviewed director Keith Bearden.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello lovely people. My name is Keith Bearden. I am a screenwriter and director in New York City.
Who is the Raftman?
The Raftsman is a combination of things. Mostly he is a metaphor for the disappointment of growing up and discovering that nothing is really as good as you thought or hoped it would be. Visually, he was based on people I worked with at the worst job I ever had, working at an insurance company that refused to use computers, and had a huge library of paper files. They were open 24 hours a day, and I worked there from midnight to 8 am in the morning. A lot of sad characters worked there.
The idea for the story came from your writing partner Joel Haskard and you rewrote the story in half an hour or so. What was it that drew you so vigorously to the Raftman?
I think I was drawn in by Joel’s brilliant writing and the simple absurd “hook” of the story (a superhero that does nothing), and it made me sad to read it, so I added the pathos, the emotion to it. Also, I think a comic character that does nothing is weirdly empowering. Superman and Batman make us feel weak and hopeless. The Raftman, who does nothing but shave, can make us all feel powerful and amazing.
The Raftman’s Razor is often summarized as ‘Two young teens obsess about a comic superhero who does next to nothing.’ This is not a conventional superhero-identity. What makes the Raftman a superhero?
The medium of comics automatically makes a superhero. Like porn, you don’t have to be beautiful or sexy to be a porn star. Just be in it.
But really, just like film has it’s anti-heroes, comics, too should have their anti-superheroes. The Raftman is a symbol of super failure. He’s a middle aged man who has let everything fade away and succumbed to the sad order of rank and file society.
Ideally, with what kind of mindset would you encourage the viewer to watch the Raftman’s Razor?
I like whatever people bring to it. The film was shown at a Buddhist film festival, and neither Joel nor I know anything about Buddhism. Some people think it’s funny, some sad. Some “cute.” Just as long as the picture is big and the sound is clear, that’s what’s important in cinema.
In the film we follow two boys who are completely obsessed with the story of the Raftman and how they’re searching for meaning, narrative and (maybe most of all) closure. What is the Raftman going to do with the razor? Will he cut his throat? Will he let the boat sink? When these questions are being answered in the last issue of the comic, they feel cheated and fooled with. Their interpretation of the Raftman’s story had not been in line with the intended meaning of the writer. This is a generally recurring issue in the world of arts. Viewers often don’t know what the intended meaning of the author is. As a consequence, the viewer has ultimate interpretative freedom. How do you feel about this? Is it worth more to give the viewer interpretative freedom with the danger of ‘art’ becoming ungraspable or is it more important that the artist makes his/her vision explicit so the story is read ‘correctly’?
I think the worse thing an artist can do is tell a viewer what to think or feel. I hate when museums tell you the life story or “opinion” of the artist. My friend says when you only like a photo or painting by knowing the subject or condition it was made then it’s a failure. Audience über alles. Film is a mass audience art. Time gives all film its just rewards I believe. I am old enough to see boring popular and acclaimed films forgotten and brilliant obscure films now beloved. That is a lovely feeling.
I think The Raftman is told from the point of an older man remembering his childhood. And even though he felt cheated, he was also touched and changed. I think the film is about the power of art in some way. And even though the two boys were hurt by the ruse of the artist, it still lingered with them.
All love disappoints us in some way.
In our magazine, we try to give our readers food for thought on how to shape their understanding of what art is. Of course, they have to shape this term themselves and me and you can help them a little. What is art to you and why do you think the Raftman’s Razor is generally regarded as such?
I think my work succeeds when it’s shamanic. When I don’t think about it, I don’t doubt it, and it just sort of vomits out of me. I think you have to loose self consciousness before art can happen. I think art has a worldview. And The Raftman has it—it feels like a transported or intentional reality. The best praise I ever got was someone in France who said my films take place on a planet very much like earth but not exactly.
I think cinema fails to be art when the person making it has no opinion and nothing to say and only technical skills to give. The Raftman has a lot of layers—a conflicted vision of being a young boy in America that other directors would not give to it. It’s all based on real things I’ve experienced or heard of. The sombrero stuff comes from Joel Haskard. He and his friends would ride bicycles in their small town while wearing sombreros they found at a used clothing store. (He might have been on LSD at the time. I forgot.)
But really, you know something is art when people regard it as such. It’s a mystery. Like “sexy.” When people say you’re sexy, that’s when you know it. Otherwise you never know.
What do you think is the specific power of film? Is it the same power that drew you to film?
My earliest memories of life are being two years old in the hospital (asthmatic shock) and my father renting me a television to pass the time. I saw the original 1933 King Kong on television and I was hypnotized and transported. I remember that and playing with a sick little girl who got better and went home.
I think film’s power is to created a shared immersive hyper-real experience that transcends time and place. Theatre is mercurial—it changes every time you preform it. Fine art is very intimate. Cinema is shared. I can meet someone who has seen one of my favorite films and it’s instant community. We’ve both shared this same 90 minutes even if we have never met or have nothing in common otherwise. I love that power to connect people.
Also, I like that film is finite. It lasts only a certain amount of time and then is over. Like a summer love, it’s sweeter because it didn’t last.
How do you come about creating a film? Where do you draw inspiration from and how does that inspiration evolve into a film script and eventually a movie?
My inspiration comes from real life, real people and things that bother me or I feel nobody is talking about. And then it becomes pieces, usually a start and an ending, and I fill in the rest.
In the Raftman’s Razor we see how time pressure works on the artist. Stuart and Jesse expect a new issue of the Raftman every third Friday, so the artist is stuck to a tight schedule. Can you share some thoughts about the concept “time”? – What are the influences of time on your creative processes?
Time is very difficult to find when filming—everything is too slow and complicated and the day goes flying away. This is why someone like Kubrick shot for a year sometimes. (Anyone can make a masterpiece if they have that much time). But time as a writer is yours to play with. My new feature film ANTARCTICA was brewing in my mind off and on for 10 years probably before I finally wrote it in 6 weeks. And then revisited and rewrote and kept thinking about it. All to prepare to film it in a very quick 19 days. So I guess preparation is crucial and focusing the time you do have.
In our ever-fast-moving-society, we feel that there is a high pressure on performance and gaining big successes (starting at a young age). What do you think about the countermovement of taking time instead of rushing your creative processes? In other words, what is the value of time in the process of creation?
Well, good things take time, and something good has a real power to last. I think the best thing to do with our overstuffed over-rushed culture is to detach yourself from it. Dominant culture is more often than not a bad influence.
On the other hand, you are what you do repeatedly, and there is a certain skill set you gain from doing things often and repeatedly.
There are many great writers or filmmakers whom made very few works. Nothing can take that away from them. My film career started at 37. I don’t think I was ready before then. Or maybe I was just scared.
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?
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.
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.
Thank you for reading our first Still Sunday Magazine, we hope you’ve enjoyed it. Since it is still far from perfect we would really like to know what you thought of it. Down below you can leave us a message or some tips, so we can continue to build the Still Sunday experience. Thanks again, you’re awesome 🙂