When is Art real Art


‘Pensieri nascosti’ – secret thoughts, oil painting used for the cover of my book with the same title.

When is Art real Art

The question when is Art real Art is rather subjective. Generally speaking it is thought that Art isn’t Art when it is a functional object, but does this then exclude potters? Are professional potters not artists if their work can be used? Is such a criteria even helpful? Stephen Colbert said “If enough people agree with it, it becomes a reality” suggesting that if enough people consider something to be Art, then it is real Art. This definitively applies to a lot of modern art that has made it into museums and prestigious art galleries.

The art-world is a strange world where art experts decide who is hot and who isn’t, which can be very frustrating for artists who try to make a living. It always strikes me as odd when people who like my work say “I’m not an art expert, but I really love your work”. I personally think that what makes an artwork a real piece of art is when it moves someone, when it touches the soul of the observer.

But then the next question arises.

When is an artist a real artist and not someone with a hobby

Detail from one of my paintings

This is a tricky question. Some people in the art world seem to think that it depends on whether you have an art college degree or not. Self-taught artists are often not taken serious, which I feel is a very limiting belief and can exclude a large number of very talented artists. I have also heard from a different type of art critic who explained that if a self-taught artist is capable of creating beautiful, original art this means they are in fact the ‘real artists’. They didn’t need to be taught techniques, they just taught themselves and they seem to have this urge to create, no matter what.

The other day someone told me that he thought that a true artist is not just someone who can create a decent artwork, it is someone with a drive, with charisma, with an interesting life, with a story to tell. Someone who is different from ‘normal’ people. Some artists are very extravagant and the way they dress and act makes them stand out from the crowd, think about Friday Kahlo. However, even when Frida was not wearing her extravagant clothes and jewellery she still stood out. You can see this in old photos of her online.

The (life) story of the artist is important. When people buy an artwork they want to know who the artist is. This is easily illustrated by asking people whether they know Picasso. The answer will mostly be ‘yes’, and many might even be able to tell you where he was from, where he lived and worked, about his extravagance and his live style, but ask them to name the titles of five of his works and most people will struggle and might just come up with ‘Guernica’.

There are also those who have attended art classes, often later in live, and then started to exhibit their work and call themselves an artist. So who is to decide whether they are or aren’t? Generally speaking professional artists, who have exhibited in galleries and sold their work to art lovers, find it hard, and are often advised against, to lower their prices, as this devalues the work and it is negative for people who have bought their art in the past. This is a choice, but you often see that the artist’s past is reflected in their price.

So what does all the above mean to me as an artist.

Me standing next to ‘El Albanico’ oil painting from my flamenco dancer series

I want my art to be observed and noticed but I personally don’t really like to be observed and noticed. I like to dress in black, hardly ever wear make-up and I don’t try to impress or draw the attention. However,I do have an interesting life story to tell having lived in five different countries. Even though I don’t like it when people watch me, I love being seen through my art and my words. I have no problem being very personal, exposed and honest in my books and blogs. I have a very busy mind and an endless stream of ideas that often wear me out, because I don’t have enough time to do them all. I write, I paint, I create ceramic sculptures and mandalas. And I don’t want to let go of any of these. I have an urge and a drive to create on a daily basis, I have to, it’s like oxygen, I cannot live without it.

I am mostly self-taught and you could argue that I’ve done it the old-fashioned way by working in the studios of professional artists both in Italy and The Netherlands. Since 1986 I’ve had numerous, even hundreds, of exhibitions in galleries, exhibition halls, large company buildings and during art fairs in The Netherlands, Italy and Spain. I have also participated in group exhibitions in Paris and other locations in France, Italy and Spain.

So does this make me a Real Artist?

This is perhaps for you to decide, but the truth is I cannot be anything else but an artist and in periods in the past, when I had to do other jobs to literally survive, only creating art and writing made me happy inside. We now live in strange times where the crisis has very much affected the purchasing behaviour of art lovers. I’ve sold my art all over the world, from New York to Moscow to Amsterdam to name but a few, but living in a small seaside village in southern Spain makes it a challenge to reach those who love art, appreciate it and understand both its artistic and investment value. However, the light in Southern Spain is fantastic and filling my soul with inspiration and ideas!

There is an active ‘art’ scene here on the Costa Tropical, where I live, but it seems to be a mixture of ‘Real Artists’ and people who paint as a hobby. I have chosen to not participate in the many group exhibitions they organise. Instead I’ve decided to blog about my art, my live as an artist and writer and to communicate to art lovers this way.

Get to know me!

‘Charity’ Angel figure – acrylic – part of my series of Angel paintings

Do you love art and would you like to follow my blog? Feel free to subscribe to my blogs! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’m not giving away gifts, I don’t make any promises, all you get is a story, my story… about what inspires me, about who I was and who I am now, with images of my art work. I hope you enjoy my colourful journey.

You will also see a link to my blog about a specific book I wrote and as a subscriber you will be able to download two chapters of this book for free. I leave it up to you to decide whether my Art is real Art.


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