I'm lucky enough in life to have travelled a little bit around Northern & Western Europe and have seen some amazing art work that had inspired me firstly in the books I looked through as a teenager. As an adult visiting them, it's like meeting an old friend but this time they remind you why you love them and why they play a huge part in your life. Then you look at the landscape they belong to and the cityscapes they have gone on to inspire and they have a whole new lease of life. And then again you see how the new goes on to inspire more and more. Holland is a perfect example of an ever changing terrain of Architecture and Art, a country that wouldnt exist if it weren't for an understanding of engineering and water (look up the word polder) and what they have built on that reclaimed land is truly captivating and always fresh and challenging in its thinking. As with my last visits to Holland I was again partly hosted and shown round by my good friends Rene & Ingrid, without them I wouldn't have seen such a rich range of culture, places, buildings and collections of art work that make their country such an inspiration, nor would I have had such wonderful apple pie and of course meatballs!
It is also thanks to these good friends that I am now proud to say I have work on sale in Holland, they introduced my work to Rob, a gallerist from Flevoland who took an interest in my style, and from there a meeting was arranged to show Rob some more of my drawings and prints. We met on Wednesday and after looking through several of my works the gallery took seven pieces for re-sale through their galleries. It is a great opportunity, and it feels great to have the time effort and money I have put into the work acknowledged. I have discussed with good friends the idea that I have long wanted to make something that not only has personal meaning but an aesthetic quality that engages me and others as well.
The work I started making in February this year has allowed me to find a richer vein of creativity than I had first hoped, on the way I've realised some things are better left behind, alcohol might have been a big one personally but another is the notion I had to make work following a fashion, particularly one that wasnt really doing anything for me. It took me almost fourteen years of frustration to realise that all I ever really wanted to do was draw again. Draw to record my experiences and my thoughts about what inspires and has inspired me. My work is me looking at celebrating what I love and hate about this world, and what I find mundane, and trying to find and make something out of it that I can't take my eyes off. It makes me feel good if its something that others want to look at, and even better if its something they see for themselves and not for what I see, because thats how it should be.
With that I also bought myself a few wee bits of art while in Amsterdam. Firstly a print by an artist called Onno Blase, just cause it was a cool wee drawing. I then visited an amazing gallery called 'Go Gallery' on The Prinsengracht where there was work on exhibition by an artist called Erik Hudson, I bought a couple of his smaller pieces, due to what I could carry home, but I could have spent a lot more if I had the money, although the prices were very reasonable for what was on offer, his concrete sculptures are really cool, his paintings I could stare at for hours. The Go Gallery is run by two outstanding fellows Oscar and Farud. I spoke with Oscar briefly (on my first visit to the gallery) on the work by Hudson and could tell straight away he truly cares for the artists whose work he exhibits, it really is inspiring to see and hear such passion about Art by gallerists, Glasgow is also lucky enough to have guys like Alex Campbell at Veneer who is similarly compassionate about those who display work in his gallery. On my second visit I had returned to show the gallery some examples of my work this time both Oscar and Farud were there. Both were very complimentary about my work, and agreed to take in two pieces for sale ('Fly Life' & 'Follow me' from the 'Glasgow examined' show) then Oscar was off to help set up the Imagine exhibition: An exhibition set up soley to help refugees (which I later visited and bought a print). I had a coffee with Farud who gave me directions to the other gallery and spoke of his enjoyment of working in the Arts and how the diversity of what they exhibited kept it fresh and interesting. I thoroughly reccommend a visit to their gallery if you are in Amsterdam.
I also visited a few other galleries notably Cloud Art & Coffee and Oostloor Art & objects, both also on the Prinsengracht and in this instance quite different in terms of content but equally as exciting work. The owners at Oostloor were both really nice guys and told me to have a look at Cloud Art & Coffee, I was also fortunate enough to meet Judith De Haas whose beautiful wire sculpture work was on display at Oostloor. Cloud Art & Coffee had some beautiful photgraphic work on display. Again a reccomended visit if you are in Amsterdam, Prinsengracht is a great street.
Overall my Dutch experience has been an excellent one, and I will shortly start working on a series of drawings mapping my time in the various cities and towns I visited while there, The working title of the series will be 'I am Kurious Oranj'.
Some links to galleries below, all well worth a visit.