25 April 2007
An excorps is 1 drawing created by 2 artists, in this case Peter van Oostzanen and me.
Peter first drew half a paper (on the right side) and covered most of it before sending it to me.
Working from the small visible part of his drawing, it was up to me to fill the other half.
After completion, the best part of course is the revelation of the hidden section.
I had never done it before, but I think especially for surrealists it almost never turn out wrong. On the narrow strip that was visible for me I saw an almost complete bird and a tail. The bird looked as if he just was beaten. Or had a hangover.
16 April 2007
The Hong Kong gallery couple cancelled the meeting after arriving at the New Zealand airport. They could not fit me into their schedule. I assume that when they are back in Hong Kong, they will email me again to inform me about the next steps.
Before knowing this I had tried to make the house guest-proof. A big spring-cleaning including hand washing a curtain.
The smell of the detergent brought me all the way back to the first weeks in New Zealand when our washing machine was still in the sea container. Those days I had to wash everything by hand and apparently I was pretty happy with that, because the smell memory of today brought me in a kind of serene mood.
For the same reason I love the smell of the repellent spray against sand flies, because it reminds me of working in the vegetable garden for the first time in my life. The discovering I was able to produce my own veggies had made me happy.
Also the song of the tui (a New Zealand bird that can create the fascinating sound similar to the metal cymbals of a drum set). The first summer he continuously had ‘drummed’ in our garden, but this summer I had rarely heard him. The few times I did hear him, I popped right back to the happy first weeks.
Now I’m wondering … could a person only be happy with retroactive effect? Is it because happiness is made of the same elusive stuff as smells and sounds? I thought in those early NZ days I was not happier than I am at this moment, but maybe I should have to conclude: How happy I am now … I only can smell next year.
The big cleaning was not for nothing, because later that week a family member from the Netherlands came to visit us. It was the son of my grandmother’s sister. We have met 34 years ago.
I’m not sure, but when we shook hands and I automatically turned my face to do the ‘European 3-kiss’ I noticed my uncle shrank for a moment. That’s fair of course. Let’s be honest; the European 3-kiss is quite a stupid habit if you are hardly familiar with the person. I just hope it’s not something worse than my 1 clove of garlic a day 🙂
Half an hour later I wiped a few spikes of hair out of my eyes and suddenly I had a white substance on my hand … Oh fucque! Just before uncle’s arrival I had forgotten to spread out the sunscreen on my skin. I only had squeezed out two round white dabs on my forehead and then hastily picked up the phone to give my uncle directions to find our house.
During that hand shake he must have thought that I had a brutal form of forehead acne. Or I was married twice to an Indian guy, or so.
The Opel Kadett (1975) was the very first car I owned in my life. I didn’t call myself an artist yet (it was 1990), I was just working in an accountancy office and still living in the Netherlands, in Alkmaar.
Somewhere in that period I visited the Maritime Museum ‘Prins Hendrik’ in Rotterdam. They showed a special theme about the camouflage of ships during World War I.
On the way back from the exhibition the idea came up to paint my old (green) car in the same way as the ships.
I tried to make it look unbalanced if you look on the back side of the car, by painting a kind of oblique shape around the license plate, the rear lights and the back window. The wheel openings turned out especially well; they looked like they were cut out in a square form.
It took me 2 weeks in total (after work and in the weekends) and probably 200 meter mask tape to paint the car white and then add the black paint.
In advance I never had thought about people’s reactions, but sometimes their comments were quite amazing.
Most people were just positively surprised. In fact … often I even got unlawfully right of way, so people got a few more seconds to observe this weird thing. I am an introvert person, but safe in my cookie tin I was excited about the funny reaction and thumbs up.
On the other hand, obviously the car sometimes raised some negative feelings to some people. Because I was living in the inner center of the city, I always needed to park my car in the second ring. One day in my favourite parking street, a furious woman came out of her house yelling out that I never may park that nasty, dirty car in her field of vision any more. She screamed that it was a shame! She was under the impression that the black parts where the sooty reminders of a fire.
Another thing I noticed were the empty parking spots beside my car. Even on a busy day the free spaces beside my car stayed empty the longest. Maybe people were afraid that some lunatic would jump out the car and do the same thing with their cars …. 🙂
Here is an illustrated article about the camouflaged ships.
Once in a while I get requests of people to use the images of especially this car, for different projects. The last one was for a book about stripes. And use as material for an exhibition about WW1 ships at ANMM Australian National Maritime Museum.
After a few years of fun, I had to let her go … dying in front of the junk yard, grabbing attention till the last moment.
All in all … having this car was a quite amazing period. Looking back, now I can say; those stripes were the first steps of my change of profession from book-keeper to artist.
After the black & white Opel I didn’t want to drive in a plain car any more. It was too funny to get right of way most of the time, so I made a blue ‘zig-zag’ one.
Then our boxy little Fiat Panda was just the right car for an intricate tartan pattern. It took some careful planning and a couple of days of concentrated painting but in the end all my efforts payed off….. the car looked like a shopping bag on wheels! In 1992 we travelled to Hungary. The car was small enough to park under an abandoned trailer.
This visually distractive pattern is based on the use of opposite colors. Fortunately the Citroen was red to start with so that made painting a bit easier. It still was a lot of work creating the sharp edges needed to maximize the effect. It was hurting the eyes.
And this … this was no joke anymore. My pride and joy till today.