Artistic and personal growth part I

Not all efforts succeed., writing

Paintings, drawings, animations, graphical prints and sculptures are the outcome of my artistic work. For 25 years an intrinsic creative energy powers me to look, mark and remark on my existence. Prodding in the darkness from different angles I try to determine the shape of my being. In South Africa, where I spent a large part of my youth, I attended a technical high school where we were taught the skills of technical drawing. From the first moment I saw the cross section of some unknown machine part drawn out on paper I was gob smacked by the intense clear facts that the drawing revealed. After high school I joined the mining engineering faculty of the University of the Witwatersrand and spend some time in the dark gold mines of Johannesburg. One year after enrolling at the university I quit my studies, left Africa and left part of my life incomplete.

Old people, they say, connect to their childhood, slowly moving their existence to the extremities of their life line. Now somewhere in the middle of my lifeline I seemed to have found reason to reconnect to machines and spaces devoid of sunlight. In my notebook I jotted down the following words:
[inclusion, inner silence, achievement, expansion, brain stimulant, belonging, desertion, fulfilment, learning and teaching].
I feel that these words connect me to my personal and artistic growth. On canvas I paint technical and mechanical objects in empty spaces and I feel that these paintings also connect me to those words. But an artist must also test and prod other areas to confirm the fabric of their existence. These other areas, as I will develop in the next paragraphs, are external motivators to accelerate artistic growth.

In my day, after leaving art school, one would approach the galleries with smart portfolios or for those living in the Netherlands apply for the subsidies. If those fragile self ‐ reference fields dried up, you became an artist in isolation. In my final year at de Vrije kunst academie, the Hague I was involved with Gaidaro, a group of artists that aimed to move the attention away from the entertainment aspect of art towards a more direct and raw form.
So far I have identified 3 external areas that can confirm the existence of the artist, namely: [the art school], [the art market/subsidies] and [peer groups with a common artistic goal].
Other areas are [projects], [artists in residence], [international call for participation] and [social media].

Last April I presented my art works at the Kölner liste art fair. My goal: sure enough was to sell. I wanted someone to exchange their money for my artistic efforts. For someone to go home and call their friends: “I’ve just bought this amazing painting from K_Van, you must come by the house for cocktails.”
During a slack moment of the day I got out my notepad and drew out each area that [confirms me as an artist]-> and connected them with the words that connect me to my ->[artistic growth].   This resulted in a great spaghetti of lines across the page. Then I regrouped the words using the Bartle test of Gamer Psychology according to the keywords Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killer.


my personal and artistic growth
confirm the existence of the artist
inner silence
brain stimulant
[the art school]
[the art market/subsidies]
[peer groups with a common artistic goal]
[artists in residence]
[international call for participation]
[social media]

[the art school]
[peer groups with a common artistic goal]

[artists in residence]
[international call for participation]
[social media]

Achiever and Killer
[the art market/subsidies]



After tallying up the result I came to the following:

  1.  peer groups with a common artistic goal
  2. continue with education.

Resulting in: my artistic growth can be greatly increased by making or joining a peer group with a common artistic goal.


more to follow


Open Call for Proposals 2014

Beyond imagination, Not all efforts succeed.

In this particular proposal, we were asked to send in a YouTube video pitch. In a kind email explaining the selection process and the intensive process, my pitch is rejected,  but according to my YouTube click statistics, no one has watched this video since I put it on-line. No hard feelings but Ireland’s Biennial Limerick City International 2014 you are not playing a straight game.

Dear K_ Van,

Many thanks for your proposal(s) to participate in eva International 2014.
There has been an incredible response to this year’s open call with an extraordinary range of proposals from artists based in 96 countries worldwide. The selection process has been a very interesting and intensive process, identifying many artists who I would like to work with for eva International 2014 and also for future projects.

I regret to inform you that on this occasion your proposal(s) has not been selected for inclusion in eva International 2014. Due to the number of proposals it will not be possible to offer individual feedback, but I would like to let you know that the selection process has often not been about the quality or scope of the proposals but about the exhibition as a whole, so the final selection has been made on this basis rather than the quality of proposals.

Thank you for taking the time to prepare your proposal(s) and I would like to wish you every success with future projects.

Warm regards

Bassam El Baroni

eva International 2014
Ireland’s Biennial
Limerick City


@diversity – European Idea Competition

Not all efforts succeed.

This summer I entered  the @diversity competition: innovative ideas for cultural and creative sectors in Europe which is an initiative funded by the European Union.
15 project could win tailor-made coaching sessions to further promote their idea, thereby unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries.

We’ve received 263 amazing and divers looks in the future of the cultural sectors in Europe. The high quality of your ideas obliged us to do a very careful assessment of all your applications and we performed even a second assessment round in order to take a founded decision on the nominees.
Had I won, I would be sitting in an online session with selected coaching experts  to coach my project to unknown levels. I did not win and felt like a bad loser replying with this email:
‘That you received 263 amazing ideas is great. It shows that people are thinking and are willing to step into creative Europe.
Unfortunately your rejection does not help us. It seems as if your program is to small to hold the creative minds of Europe.
I hope that you will improve your program so that you carry the load good luck’.
The man or woman that read my email can not do anything, yet I still believe that 247 amazing and divers looks on unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries in Europe will be missing.
Read below about my proposal and in future follow and get involved in the running of the  I-object

Name of the idea:


Please shortly describe your idea:

People give certain objects, natural or manufactured, a special place in the world as animated partners of our wishes, dreams and aspirations. This sharing of humanity between people and objects is what the project I-object is about. Artists are asked for an object representing themselves in the I-object display box.

Which sector(s) does your idea apply to?

Creation and exhibition of art objects/ tangible art products.

Which category does your idea apply to

Make Culture.

 Explain how this idea can change/improve the current cultural landscape

The display-units will showcase small artworks ”I-object”s  on a rotating platform. Alongside on a digital screen the artist’s name, title of work, concept and website are displayed. The units are brought to ‘watering holes’ where people gather to relax and talk with no pressure.  One could imagine coffee corners in an office building. In this way we bring the art to the people, and place it precisely into the environment were people want to rejuvenate. After a few weeks the display or displays are refreshed with new small art works.
The I-objects will also be linked the I-object website with a QR-code giving people easy access to part II of the I-object.
The actual objects will be gathered from an open call to artists  and will manifest craftsmanship but always place it within the context and the qualities of an art work. We expect works to be submitted from a wide cultural terrain.

Part II.
Internet and app.
A 360 degree video of each object with its detailed documentation will be available on the I-object website and app. People can browse through the works, bookmark them or react on them.
In this way we want to unfold culture and share humanity between people.

Explain how your idea will make use of Information and Communications Technologies

Gathering the object information.
The Gaidaro foundation is well experienced with gathering quality artworks for exhibitions through the use of communication technologies such as the web forums and social media.

The response of the artists has to be streamlined and pre-edited (like this website) before the images and documentation is viewed by the curators. This would need a web-page with the right forms, database and javascript to pre process the information so that it can be readily displayed on the web and is ready to be transferred to the I-Object display-units as image files.

Gathering the object.
Once the curator has approved the object the artist will send it by post. On arrival the objects is linked up with the information already present in the database, with the details of the maker and significance of the object. The object is also registered on video rotating it 360degrees.  This information is uploaded onto the I-object website and YouTube.

The object in the display unit.
The display unit consists out of a oval wooden container. Our aim is to construct the unit in such a way that a CNC machine from FabLab can duplicate the container anywhere in the world.At this moment our prototype runs with a digital screen and a solar powered rotating platform. The information on the digital screen is passed on through a memory card.

gather objects info through the internet spread info, through internet, apps and digital screen

Please explain the technology part that will make your idea work
What is the target group for your idea.

The I object’s goal is to get the viewer energized and inspired by looking and reading about the object. Our target group are those people interested in contemporary art. In our search to localize the target group we start by exploring the possibilities of tapping into new existing audiences. We start by identifying the places where people choose to be energized and revived, then we determine if the target group has already accepted contemporary art and/or any of these ideas.

A place to start are the coffee pantries or corners in office buildings for professional people. Ernst and Young  springs to mind, recruitment agencies, ministries of arts and education, flexible working places for young professionals and multinational offices. We do not want to exclude people that still need to find their way to contemporary art.  For this reason the I-object website is easily accessible and display-units can be placed in public libraries and café’s where people come to meet and relax.

The I-object is not limited to one place, city or country. Several display units may exist in an office building, encouraging employees to walk to an other departments and talk to strangers. The I-objects can be run in several cities or countries by engaging local curators whereby the physical objects are exchanged through the post.

Last and not least
The I-object artists and curators form an important target group as the project is a peer-peer exchange of information.

Implementation What are the next steps for your idea?

At this moment we are busy testing out our prototype display-unit, feeling that this is one of the main driving motors behind the project. Once a robust unit is finalized we will manufacture 3 display units for the first trial run. Through an open call for artists we will collect 40 works, document them and upload them on a non-automated website. Multinational businesses will be approached in the Netherlands for a trial period. In the first stages of the project while there is no financial support for advanced IT programming the project will run on DIY php programming skills. Once we have a foothold and the project gains in financial momentum we can invest in programming and automating processes. Once the complete ‘engine’ is  made, we can focus on expanding with other participating partners and curators in a multitude of cities and countries.
However through the @Diversity program we hope to get into contact with potential stakeholders, ICT professionals and executives of the cultural industry. This will not only strengthen the project but greatly speed up its development and implementation. Explain what kind of next steps (activities) you would like to undertake to realise your idea and who or which partners you would like to involve in the implementation process.

Explain how you expect your idea to survive in the long run

Not only are we exploring possibilities of tapping into new existing audiences, but also funding. We are basing are idea on 1. a free educational service (such as public libraries) and 2. a paying service by the business community.
In the working place where the I-object display units give the employee a moment to vitalize we expect businesses to subscribe to the service. In the long run we believe that the I-object will improve networking within businesses. The display units allow people to focus their attention on a third thing rather than on each other, making interpersonal engagement more comfortable. People can connect with strangers when they have a shared interest in specific objects. After a trial period businesses can subscribe to the I-object.
It should be noted that the I-Object is a cultural platform and not a gallery or market space. While the objects are in the display units they are not for sale. In this way we want ensure the museum like ambiance of the I-objects and let our cultures unfold.

costs: website, app, programmers, volunteers, display units, transport of display units, maintenance of  display units, maintenance of social media. Transport of objects.
income: rent of display-units, web advertising

If you have additional information about your idea, you can add this.

if  you like this project please contact me

multiplex front

multiplex front

Finalize Submission

Not all efforts succeed.

A week later, a desktop and table full of scraps of documents
The submission was successfully finalized.

Ars Electronica Linz GmbH
Ars-Electronica-Straße 14040 Linz, Austria
Code: Prix “Collide”

the results will be posted…. never received a result


oily_water_separator, oil on canvas, K_Van 2012

submission for the New York Hall of Science

Not all efforts succeed.

When it is ready to produce spores, the fungus grows into the brain of the ant and releases chemicals that make the ant climb a plant then attach itself near the top. It then kills its host by devouring its brain, before sprouting a mushroom from the top of its head, which disperses its spores as widely as possible.
Source: newspaper articles, radio reports and posts on the internet., National Geographic and PLoS ONE


“Infected Ant” K_Van, June 2012, oil on canvas 90x90cm

The painting depicts a low polygon mesh representing an ant infected by the Ophiocordyceps fungus. Polygon meshes are used in computer programs to model 3D objects, and each mesh can be broken down into perfect straight lines. Using these straight lines, the artist K_Van follows each line with a needle and embroidery thread and covers the canvas with straight lines using its precise starting and finishing points. Once the form is established he commences by painting in the mesh using different tones of colour.

Exhibition proposal

exhibitions, Not all efforts succeed.

Small wooden sculptures and drawings

Wooden object

The works of this exhibition are based on the basic forms; spheres, blocks, pyramids that are merged together or subtracted from each other; each action to be studied and looked at. It is up to the viewer to use the imagination and determine the scale of the object. An object might suggest a tiny synthetic anvil that passes vibrations from the hammer to the stirrup in our ear, or might suggest an enormous outer space sun ray shield shading the earth from global warming. The scale that determines our vulnerability with the vast universal space around us or the vulnerability of the object as we tower above it.
Practical exhibition proposal

lets talk and do nothing for 200 euro.

Not all efforts succeed.

Visual poems exposed on LCD screens in Holland

Not all efforts succeed.

This is an a competition entry for art in the Public space.
It did not win. But the idea remains impressive.

Project PAx database



With a nod of approval Mayumi presses enter and the images of the visual poem “rain” uploads onto the PAx database. This entry will be part of a collection of 24 visual poems from all over the world and will be displayed on TV screens in 4 public places.

In the mean time Ted is waiting for the tram in the station of Rotterdam. It has been raining on and off. Impatiently he stares at the tram announcement board. Eight long minutes. A quiver of light from a flat screen panel diverts his attention. On the wall opposite the tram track are three large LCD screens forming a triptych. Still images are subtly overlaid with new ones. Repetition of forms and colours form coherence in the motion of the images changing from one to the other. A tram turns in to the station. AS if spellbound, Ted climbs into the tram and watches the 3 panels until the rain on the window panes fragment the images into a billion stars.

Tokyo: 5 artists group around a PC terminal. They have been testing the final images of their poem and the moment has come for the submission. With a nod of approval Mayumi presses enter and the images of the visual poem “rain” uploads onto the PAx database. This entry will be part of a collection of 24 visual poems from around the world and will be exposed on the PAx triptych in 4 public locations in Holland.
From an other time zone Juan logs into the administration panel of the PAx database. The city of Utrecht has assigned him to select next weeks sequence of images for the PAx. From a broad theme board Juan can choose many combinations, but he has chosen to search for images sequences with the key word “butterfly”.

The PAx commission in The Hague has gone for a local choice allowing SMS user to choose 30 sequences for this week viewing.

The physical and software motors behind PAx is not very much different from any other images database system, that collects images, resizes them to desired formats, collects data, and has a forum. But what is different is that it takes the images out of the PC and places them straight into the view of the public by means of LCD screens. The INPUT of the images sequences are created and designed by artists interacting through the PAx web based forum.


The mission and image of PAx


PAx aims to uplift awareness of Art culture in the public domain across a spectrum of age, nationality, and profession. This is to be achieved by the exposure of images that have resulted through an exchange of ideas between artists.


A “hands on” public window to a “global think-do tank” for the creation of images for a public domain.


Input and Output


We want artists to be involved in a dialog to make sequences of images for the public domain. Images can be new media, or digitised paintings, collages, drawings and so. A guideline to the type of images are those that reflects a sense of peace and tranquillity, which will vitalise the public space where the LCD triptych is installed.
Groups can be formed by means of the PAx internet forum, Academies, workshops, art projects, mail art, and others. By collaborating with people from different countries, exchanging ideas, pushing physical boundaries expanding limits, we find ourselves designing paths wider than the personal story of one artist. .
(An example (link stopped) of an internet magazine)


By means of keywords, descriptions and themes the PAx internal search engine can find and assemble lists of images. It is up to the administrator of the local PAx system to determine who makes the lists, this can be done through the PAx web site, SMS, or appointing specific groups (local schools, clubs, business, artists).

Once a list had been made the computer sends the images to the display units, each consisting of a PC with a connection to a LCD TV screen. The display unites can be set up in stations, city halls, airports, hospitals… People at home or in the office may also display their own list by displaying them on their computer screens like “slide shows” screen savers.


Content spin off

  1. Light emitted from the PAx triptych will improve the physiological and the physical “feel” of a public space
  2. PAx provides a much-demanded professional global exhibition platform (free from any form of discriminations) for artists.
  3. Gives artists a tool that allows for the development and expansion of defining new images for a public domain.
  4. Involves the people with the cultural creation of our time. iste not longer exits

jury comments

Max Bruinsma

Public comments Interesting attempt at producing ‘public art’. Apart from the fact that editorial questions like moderation and interaction criteria are not addressed, it gives a glimpse of how we can link private, collaborative and public spaces in an aesthetically rewarding way. Potentially a soothing alternative for the ubiquitous advertising billboards.

Sally Jane Norman

Public comments VISUAL POEMS LCD screens set up in public locations are used to display various kinds of art work, created and designed via the PAx web-based forum and uploaded to public spaces in keeping with commissioning mechanisms used by local PAx administrators (soliciting individual artists, calling on schools or organisations, implementing collaborative international platforms, allowing SMS users to select available sequences from an image bank, etc.). The project is simple and direct in its goals, which consist of demarcating and investing specific, designated display spaces for electronic, web-mediated visual artworks. Inclusion of specific display spaces for artists is considered necessary to heighten general public awareness of art culture and, conversely, to engage visual artists more directly with the general public. The project revolves around a demand for heightened and broadened artistic and cultural sensibility, by targeted use of public space. Display technologies are considered to be potentially able to enhance public space, and to extend artists’ possibilities to exhibit their work. This in turn is likely to acquaint a broader public with contemporary artistic creation.

Anne Nigten

Public comments

The visual poems (hopefully indeed with sms interaction options) seems an appropriate format to use the displays for those in city transit. Although not sensational I think this can contribute to peoples creativity and imagination while waiting for their public transport or so. The format is overview able, and exist so rather realistic and good to have networked artist communicate their work via this very accessible way with their audience.

Derrick de Kerckhove

Public comments

This is a very nice idea, but as unfixed artworks go, it is perhaps better directed at art galleries than at entirely public spaces. It also requires a disproportionate amount of technical and labour infrastructure for the overall effect. Perhaps something better geared at large international fairs and exhibits than at permanent city locations. Of course one does not exclude the other.

I’m returning your slides

Not all efforts succeed.
oil on canvas 100 x 120 cm

nude, table, chair, chair

Not all efforts succeed. An other batch of letters to galleries. No promising possibilities of an exhibition at this time.
This could go on for years.

Please find enclose your slides

Not all efforts succeed.

‘hands”, oil on canvas with silkscreen, 1 of 100 images

Not all efforts succeed first time round.