lunedì 21 maggio 2012

Jasper Hagenaar

Can you describe your work?
The main theme in my work is longing. 
Longing for a great adventure, longing for a place not here, longing for history.  
It’s a form of modern romantic escapism. 
I want to bring back the feeling I had as a young boy. 
Reading a travel guide or a science fiction novel; dreaming about the adventurous life I planned to live later on.  
In my paintings I reflect on this feeling, because now I know I’ll never be an astronaut, explorer or cowboy. 
Therefore there is always a melancholic, retro perspective touch to my work.

What are you working on?
At the moment I am working on a proposal for an exhibition. I’ve been nominated for an art prize, and this exhibit is part of it. I have to work within a certain theme, and I am trying to put in as much of my own stuff as is possible. I am also working on a series of paintings for a solo exhibit later on.

What inspires you?
My inspiration comes mainly from reading. 
Sometimes from watching movies; I used to watch a lot of of movies, but through the years this influence declined. 
I like old books, mainly non-fiction. For instance, I lately found a book from the seventies about ocean liners with all the details about tonnage, size and motoric specification.  
Every ship was photographed and its history written down.  
For me a book like this generates a stream of images in my head, and slowly these images find their way into one or several paintings. 

What do you hope to evoke from your viewers?
I hope my paintings evoke a certain feeling from my viewers. 
I want them to leave in a different state of mind. If I manage to suck them in to my mood of melancholy and uncanniness through one of my paintings, I succeed. 
I want my work to raise questions instead of answering them. A painting should slowly creep up someone’s mind.

How has your work grown and changed?
A few years back I started out painting modern icons. 
I wanted to focus upon the act of painting instead of the content. So I decided to make paintings of subjects very well known. It had to be immediately clear what you were looking at. Palm trees, cowboys, airplanes etc. After a while the content became important again. 
I often used photography as a source, and the ideas for paintings originated from these photographs.  But nowadays, the idea is first.  
Then I start thinking about what could be the best way to turn this idea into a successful painting. Most of the time I first make 3-dimensional models. Models in clay or paper-mache.  Then I do a sketch in watercolour, before the painting in oil. 

Do you experiment with different mediums a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
A few years back I got some serious health problems while working in my studio. 
Because I used my paint very thinly I had to use a lot of turpentine. This was causing me problems. 
I experimented with all sorts of paints to get this turp out of my studio. 
I started using oil paint that you could dilute with water. Since then I have used this paint. But the search for the perfect painting ground continues. I work more and more on panel; also linen glued to panel or even plaster grounds.  Experimenting with these grounds is one of the main things in my work at the moment. 

Can you tell me something about your residency in Rijksakademie?
My years at the Rijks were two of the toughest and best years in my life. 
Everything I do now originated there. At first it’s a little intimidating, but when you’ve found your way around it is an enormous help in your development.  
The fact that the Dutch government considers closing this unique institute is outrageous. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for posting my work!

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