the full weight of his own personality

A dry-point
the full weight of his own personality

the full weight of his own personality

Do you want to know more about these prints? a dry point on telephone cards
YES, they are for sale and remarkably affordable.
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I am not religious but I like the feeling.

A dry-point
I am not religious bu I like the feeling.

I am not religious but I like the feeling.


Do you want to know more about these prints? a dry point on telephone cards
YES, they are for sale and remarkably affordable.


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A dry-point on telephone cards

A dry-point

Before the mobile telephones, we used public payphones. You had to use telephone cards and insert them into the payphone’s card reader to make a call. Once the telephone credits were used up, the card was pretty much worthless, except for collectors and to the artist K_Van, who had a new application for the plastic card. He used the card as the basis for his dry point print. Similar to an engraving, a dry point is drawn with a needle or a sharp pen in a copper or zinc printing plate (without the use of an etching bath). In K_Van’s case, he used discarded phone cards as the printing plate.
Drawings where scratched into the surface of the card and then were inked and printed.
During a year K_Van made this series of 100 dry point prints, which shows a reflection of his life.
(a translation/adaptation from the description of his work in the Post and Telecommunication Museum, the Hague in 1997)


dry point technique

1) Scratch the drawing into an old telephone card with a sharp knife or nail.

small amount of etching ink

2) Cut the print paper to size and place into a bath of water to soak. With an old wine bottle cork spread a small amount of etching ink evenly over the surface area of the phone card, insuring that the ink is rubbed into the grooves. The remaining ink is carefully removed from the surface of the card by rubbing the surface with old news print.

The moist paper is then placed on the press plate.

3) Place the card face up on the printing press. The pre-soaked paper is taken out of the water and placed in-between sheets of new news print and rubbed firmly to take up the excess water. The moist paper is then placed on the press plate.

At an easy pace.

4) At an easy pace, the print is passed through the press.


With this work K_Van also won the NRK Federation “plastic recycling prize” award in 2000 for his innovative use of recycling of plastic. In 2014 he continues with his prints by adding text. K_Van collects art catalogues and magazines and cuts out snippets of art jargon; he reuses them for his own prints. This allows each print to be a refurbished piece of artwork, totally made with recycled material

Weekly I will be posting a recycled artwork and YES, they are for sale and remarkably affordable.
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Laugh and bow paintings


3 large paintings 150x100cm
The paintings are a mixed media using traditional painting combined with embroidery. The lines making the figures are embroidered using coloured threads. The brown and white surfaces are painted using oil colours.
Each combination tells a different stories.
Panel 1 condescending
Panel 2 announcements
Panel 3 help



Berlin 1989

exhibitions, writing

1 January 1990, Berlin

Somewhere near Hanover, I stood at a petrol-station, hitch-hiking, my cardboard sign reading ‘BERLIN’. To be more precise, Sunday the 31 of December 1989 . Strangely, it had been the bright idea of my mother to send me to Berlin for New Year’s eve. She gave me money for the return fair by train, I would hitch a ride from the Netherlands to the city that had captured our imagination when the Iron wall cracked a month earlier.
A family car drove up to the station, stopped, the doors opened. A woman behind the steering wheel, a basket with drinking cups, sandwiches, towels spread out on the passenger seat next to her, a man holding a baby swaddled in a blanket sat in the back seat. They hastily filled up the petrol tank, paid and reorganised themselves in a calculated nervous manner ensuring their baby would not be disturbed. The woman called to me, ‘do you have a driving license?’.
Before I could even show my license, she asked if I could drive them to Berlin.

1 January 1990, Berlin, life as normal

My small bag containing a sleeping bag, my 35mm camera, a water proof liner and dried fruits were put in the boot. We shifted seats, the man came to sit next to me, the woman and baby moved to the back seat to nurse. And I set the car into motion towards Berlin with the young parents and their baby. At checkpoint Alpha, the Helmstedt-Marienborn station some 170km from Berlin I gave our passports to the guards for inspection and then drove the last hours on the corridor like autobahn, the grey DDR on either side. At each bridge that we passed under we were greeted by waving children and adults in the fading light. The woman remarked, ‘a few months ago they would be taken to jail for waving at us.’ We followed the road to Berlin that had changed its way.
Close to the Großer Tiergarten of Berlin I stopped the car, I thanked my family for the lift and they thanked me for the drive, ending a most remarkable exchange of trust.


Willkommen bei der 11. BERLINER LISTE


Come and meet us at the BERLINER Liste from September 18th to 21st | Postbahnhof Berlin.
I will be presenting my art works together with Sofia Kapnissi (through the Gaidaro foundation).

If you needed an excuse to invigorate yourself, then come and find us in an adventurous art city trip.
The Berliner Liste will have 112 exhibitors from 24 countries and you will mingle with 10000 visitors, so there is plenty to see.

The opening is Official Opening, Sep 17th, 2014


Summarizing the events in Harare

exhibitions, writing, Zimbabwe


solar The airport  being the obvious place where airplanes land and take off, is also an important physical location where some serious thinking is done. It marks a moment when I project my self into the future, and on a returning journey I spend time reliving and summarizing the events during my travels. This time after my exhibition in Harare with rotating objects and drawings I tried to question myself with 6 key evaluation questions such as:
”What art processes were planned and what was actually put in place for the project?….”, but found the answers something short sighted and for the economist. So I page through notes and recall conversations.
The most remarkable moment of the exhibition would have to be that the audience  interacted with the artwork by means of a torch, light, solar panels and an electrical motor turning the objects. During the opening for example, people took their time to go from object to object and examine the reaction that the light had on the artworks. In fact what they were doing was examining the effects that the light had on the surface of the object, and this is precisely how I question and observe the small art works.  How does the light reflect, what texture does it reveal, what shadows does it cast, what tonal difference in the shadows tell me that the object is three dimensional and finally if I turn the beam of light to an other angle what happens to the image and why? This information I use as an artist to make painting or more sketches. But to come back to the opening, I felt that the audience was captivated, they talked about the objects, the mechanism, the show.

‘So what comes first, the object or the drawing, or the painting?’, guests would ask.
None, I would answer. The exhibition shows the precise evolving process of an artist. The origins of the idea is so far and faint in the past that they no longer have any influence to the present physical form, be it the drawings, paintings or objects. By observing, unfolding and questioning these three forms,  I answer with new artworks, that in turn will be observed and questioned again forming a continuous evolving spiral. [action reaction]

‘What are they? What does it symbolize?’ Each person will see what it is, what it symbolizes and how much power it has. Option, a sculptor tells me how ”the bull” triggered his youth memories. One of the objects, a small bull (approximately 2cm high)  made of dark brown earthenware clay, glued on the inclination of a triangular piece of wood, spins in the light. ‘When I was living in the rural area,’ Option tells me with excitement, ‘with my parents and grandparents on a small farm, we had a big black bull. It was a kind of crazy bull and on some occasions the bull would escape from its pen.  We would always find the beast on top of a hill, feet locked like a mountain goat on the steep rocks and head pointing proudly up, nostrils flared and grunting at the far horizon.’  Later Option wrote in my guest book ”I like that BULL!!”

The airplane took me from Harare to Lusaka and in the early hours of the morning we landed in Dubai international airport where I would catch my connecting flight to Amsterdam. Having some time on my hands, a twenty dollar bill and a wish for a cup of coffee I set off to find one of the coffee chains. When the lady at the counter saw the dollar bill, she immediately said  she could not take it, ”It’s too old”.
‘Yeah but’, I protested, ‘I’ve been using dollar bills like this for weeks, dollars can’t get old; it’s money.’
The next place told me my money was too dirty, and they would also not accept it. This encounter put a whole new spin on money laundering. However this left me without a coffee, a worthless 20 dollar bill and I felt like a sitting duck, a target for unscrupulous bank CEOs. It made me link the arts and money, how some art was worth money and other art works as worthless as my dirty money. And yet for the artist, each art piece that is expressed in physical form is a step in the artist’s personal development and so his culture. At the next coffee place I ordered an expensive cappuccino from Harkaman hiding my old and dirty money until Florence proceeded to whizz the machines. Ha! My money was no longer old nor soiled, because Harkaman saw the agreement between himself, the cappuccino and me. [Back in the game].

Bringing art works to Zimbabwe for an exhibition  is an exceptional process. Not so much the logistics which consists of making the art works look worthless in a messy suitcase, and thus avoid having to pay import taxes. But an exceptional reversal process as art flows out of the country not in. I have had three solo exhibitions in Harare starting in 1994, 2012 and now 2014 and each time I bring something, it surprises to the brink of ungraspable. Not because the work is indecipherable, rather there are hardly any international exhibitions let alone African art exchanges. In fact there is not much of an contemporary art interest or market amongst the local population, the players are few and the road to any form of success (economical or spiritual) is to Europe or North America. This causes a general unease in the arts, besides the education system is not strong enough to educate about contemporary African art. As the local artists tell me all the ‘important’ art has been sold over eagerly to collectors outside of Africa and what cultural documentation remains is hardly contemporary and is written by former colonists three decades ago. Needless to say there is great awareness amongst artists to educate their fellow man, they know, road is long.

moon northern hemisphere

moon southern hemisphere

In Zimbabwe the moon is upside down. After a few days in Harare you change your point of view, and some time later you see it like all people living in Zimbabwe, bright and surrounded by dozens of nebulae and other star clusters. The way I observed the art and the maker also changes with time. I have noticed that art is made in a different way. One way that European artists may start making their art work is from the art supplies and tools at hand (canvas, paint and brushes). In Zimbabwe I found that the artists starts from a different point. There is hardly any art material to work with.  Creative survivalist know the challenge ”How to open a can without a can opener”. Creative kids know what to do when there is no TV and they have gnawed through their boredom. So the starting point of the artist is from nothing, and that makes the work so very challenging. It is almost like a training, a school of thought, a style like minimalism, but then the ”starting from nothing” style. The Zimbabwean artist starts painting with nothing, then finds household paint, continues to paints mixing colours with offset printers ink, or starts with yellow and finding other colours in the form of plastic bottle tops, sweet wrappers or broken shoes. Or consider this simplification; an artist drawing a silhouette of a rabbit, in Africa they may draw the abstract forms from the space around the rabbit (from nothing), and not from the ears or eyes or fur. When I look at their work the opposite happens, I first see the bottle tops, the electronic print plates, the bicycle pedal and then as if by magic, I see the creation.

analyzing the inside shapes, or look at the outside shapes

analyzing the inside shapes, or look at the outside shapes

During last  three days in Harare I freed myself up from the exhibition to spend some time in the botanical gardens and to explore the clouds using a video camera. The clouds form low and rapid in the skies after eleven o’clock in the morning. By leaving the camera on the ground and pointing up towards the sky I recording five minutes at the time. Playing the video fast forward made me realize that the rolling motion of the clouds was similar to the the rotating objects. It is something I want to work with.

But what impact did your art work have?
In 1999 I left the USA after doing a collection of paintings on shadows of basket ballplayers and hotel paintings in Mexico. I thought they had little impact on any one but my self, but I was wrong, Kelsay Myers wrote in 2013:
“But this one looks like spirits,” I said, and it did. What I didn’t say was that the spirits made me want to write. Their shapes and colors haunted me. The sky captured my imagination.”

A N    E M P H A S I S   O N   R E A L I T Y


next: 3rd Ruhr Biennial – Townshipwise different 2015