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The Aliens have landed

9 Mar

I am lucky enough to live a stones throw away from the Vondel Park in Amsterdam and consider it my extended back garden, especially as I walk Mr Parker International Dog of Mystery around there every day, go jogging, have leisurely walks with hubbie Mr B, coffee and catch ups at the and picnics and BBQs in the summer. I even had my 1960’s Mod summer fete voodoo/ceremony wedding there. It hold’s many many fond memories.

Our Wedding 2010

Our Wedding 2010

Our Wedding 2010

It’s also often been a thought and a dream of mine that it is somewhat lacking in creative content and could be an amazing space for sculptures, art and installations. Yet in nearly 5 years I’ve never seen more than the Vondel Open Theatre Festival or a busker to lift those spirits. Until now.

When I heard the acclaimed artist and director (having recently watched SHAME ) Steve McQueen was showing an interesting installation in the park called Blues Before Sunrise, I was eager to see the concept flood the park and bring to life some of those visions I myself have had.

So dragging, I’m not sure who more unwillingly the dog or the husband, as it was torrential rain, to the park, we proceeded to set off just before sunset and whilst the lights were still off, to see the illumination from dusk to dark. This sadly couldn’t have happened on a worse weather day for Steve McQueen. It really was miserable, and a little hard to see the contrast of the illumination against a sunset, that you couldn’t sadly see.  As if magic every light in the Vondel Park did suddenly turn a bright electric blue, and as we plodded around the park in the rain, the skies got darker and the lights began to hover around the park and in the trees like mini space ships. And strangely in the wet the lights flickered and danced and colours skipped through the leaves, in reflections that otherwise would not have magically happened on a clear evening. Maybe the weather had been kind after all.

The over all feeling for myself however actually came across quite strange, as if the lights were somehow encroaching on the space a bit unnaturally, the blue lights seemed stark, urban, eerie, and industrial against the green natural covering of the beautiful Vondel Park.  The park really did feel invaded. But then I guess to have had another colour, say red coming from lampposts in Amsterdam, would have been a bit of a cliché.

Stedelijk Museum director Ann Goldstein states, “McQueen’s remarkable Blues Before Sunrise will not only alter our perception of the Vondelpark, it will also heighten our sensation of routine activity and transform a common space into an uncanny, beautiful experience, at once powerfully present and knowingly elusive.”

I’m not sure the Vondel Park needs industrial lighting to transform an already peaceful, romantic and beautiful space into a beautiful space. For myself and the love I have for the park it already was stunning. Yet as I mentioned before it wouldn’t go a miss once in a while to have some new quirky creations in the park to transform it once in a while. And I guess that is what Steve McQueen was trying to achieve.

Replacing the conventional warm white light with a subdued blue toned light, McQueen uses illumination to transform the environment, giving rise to a host of new associations. Like sound or music, light changes the atmosphere and alters one’s perception of a place. In this way, Blues Before Sunrise blends the sensory and cinematic.

Maybe as the weather changes and as the nights get even lighter, and hopefully the tones of an actual sunset emit against the blue of the lights, I will continue to see the installation transform the Park in many ways over the coming weeks as I do all through the year with the seasons. Maybe I will even get up at the crack of dawn and see the transformation before sunrise.
The Stedelijk Museum proudly presents Blues Before Sunrise, a project by artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen that will take place in Amsterdam’s from Wednesday March 7th until the 25th of March 2012

And in the meantime I will keep dreaming and looking for other outdoor inspirations that may one day also make a visit to the Park. Especially since the Park has now even lost the eye film museum

As of yet no signed lease for any new creative’s, although I have read that they assure the space will be filled with something worthy and cultural, I sadly feel we could well see another outstanding space in Amsterdam stand empty through the sacred summer months. Here is hoping they take full advantage of the opportunity and show some temporary shows, exhibitions and installations during that time, until the new residents move in.
So some thoughts on the park for the future, how about some Knitting Graffiti:

Or Tree installations

Berlin 2010 – Claire Ives

These bird and bug boxes have been installed by art and architecture collective London Fieldworks around trees across London in clusters inspired by neighboring housing.

Or maybe I will just enjoy the grass, trees and nature, sitting on my patchwork 60’s blanket; reading a book and drinking some processeco with the sun on my face, watching the world go by.


Check out Amsterdam Affordable Art Fair this week with from Project Amsterdam Street Art.

26 Oct

Just walk around Amsterdam and as in any city, there is FREE street art to find, without even having to step foot in a gallery!

The Amsterdam Affordable Art Fair is kicking off this week, so get yourself down there to check out or buy some contemporary street art for your wall!

Affordable Art Fair Campaign Image

You can find with Project Amsterdam Street Art at the B12 stall and he was kind enough to give an interview.

MAKE: How did you get into street art? I started with GRAFFITI in 1994/1995. Several years after that, I also began liking more kinds of art and photography. So with that came exploring other techniques and methods for making my ART in the form of for example stencils and posters. The techniques I now use are generally called street art. Since 5 years I started to make more of this which is kind of the only thing I do now.

MAKE: There is more of a commercial approach to street art now do you think this is a good thing, or does it take away the “street ” unique appeal of art? I’m still a bit of in a struggle on this one. I think it’s a good thing, because creative minds can work on what they love without being a BUM. I make what I love and if people like it and want to pay for it to, than that’s cool. But I think there is another side on the story also. What I mean with that is that there can be people who call themselves artists, but actually never put something on the STREETS. How can you call it STREETART then? This a tendency which I think is wrong.

MAKE: Is Amsterdam your clear favourite base as a street artist and how do other cities compare? Amsterdam is my city, my hometown. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love to travel around to spread my work. I want people to see my work as much as possible. It’s a campaign. I think we got a alright scene, but there are much better or suitable city’s/ country’s like England or the US to work and/ or sell my artwork.

MAKE: How are you involved in the AAF this year? I’m involved as an artist of project ASA. They invited 6 artists to show their work on there stand and I’m one of them. I will also do a LIVE ART performance with RECAL.ONE on the premiere opening.

MAKE: What do you think the AAF brings to Amsterdam in the way of support to new creative’s in Amsterdam? I’m not sure, because in the end it’s the choice of the gallery’s who will appear in the stands. Project ASA and the GO gallery will present STREETART. For the other gallery’s, I don’t know. What I do I know is that the AAF likes the tendency of the contemporary art that involves STREETART. They support it.

MAKE: You are also a founder of UmbrellART can you explain more about this and when the next show is?

UMBRELLART is a group show that has more than 50 customized umbrellas. In the first year I invited all the artists to customize their own umbrellas and sent them to me. The following year I got help from Melissa with the organization. We all showed them for three years in a row at several places like the FOAM

in Amsterdam and OFF CORSO in Rotterdam. Because of the time it takes and my personal artwork, I decided to make a little break and will show old and NEW umbrellas in 2012.

Umberella Art.

MAKE: And any new projects coming up, what are your future plans? I’m busy with my SOLO show in march/ april in Amsterdam. Also there will come a new show that involves me and 3 other Dutch artist, but at the moment that’s all I can say it.

Also I’m working with RECAL.ONE as a combo IVES’RECAL, which is a great side project that involves the combo between stencil work and photorealistic painting. This project will be amazing and is also planned for 2011.

At the moment I’m busy as a CREATIVE DIRECTOR for Project ASA ( <> ) and doing commercial assignments.

Just like working with MOKUM ZOO and XSC.

Shout out to: RECAL.ONE , TIQUE , BO24 , AMER , The London Police , SJOCO SJON and BUST

End. what a nice chap!

And when I asked why did he call himself IVES, as I’m kinda partial to that name myself, he simply said  “I chose my name cause I thought it sounded nice,” well you can’t blame him can you!

MAKE will be heading along to the AAF this year, we suggest you do too!

Affordable Art Fair

28th – 31st October 2010

Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek Amsterdam
Contemporary Art from €100 to €5000

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