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Essential lessons from established artist Berend Strik for every creative

Berend-Strik

Berend Strik (Nijmegen, 1960) edits images with needle and thread. Berend uses pieces of fabric, gauze, and velvet as part of his photography.

When did you know you wanted to do art and why?

Around the age of thirteen, I came into contact with my high school drawing teacher in Jack De Rode’s first grade. He proudly walked through the classroom with the first drawing I made and showed the other students how special he thought the drawing was. This did a lot to me, and I felt I was waking up. I knew from that moment on it was going to be something like this. You don’t become an artist, you are one. You fall somewhere in the 3 degrees of artistry: bad, mediocre, or good. You have to learn to live with this, you can create with a sincere intention, but that is absolutely no guarantee that it is good (or even mediocre).

Vito Acconci (left) with Berend Strik (right)
Which work of yours do you find most inspiring and why?

I have no preference. With every work there is a certain preference and/or learning moment.

Which artist from the past would you like to have a conversation with and what would you like to learn from that conversation?

Michelangelo. Michelangelo was a person who left the world more beautiful with his supernatural achievements.

An example of this was that he spent a lot of time with men, and then made drawings for this with references to their physical togetherness. These drawings were brilliantly put together and the references were set up in an abstract language understood only by the person for whom the drawing was made. In short, there is no specific lesson I would like to learn, but I would love to engage in conversation with him.

What would you recommend to starting artists if they are trying to create more brand awareness for themselves?

The greatest possible focus on work. Once as a young artist made a good work. The rest will come naturally. Middle age and advanced age as an artist are also much more difficult because the Dutch art scene mainly focuses on the young and promising.

Everyone likes young and promising. It’s fresh, innovative, and gives new energy.

The Needles with ‘Deciphering the Artist’s Mind’
How did you become eligible for group shows and solo exhibitions?

Organize a group through artist friends and organize the first shows yourself. Creating a new order against the established order

You exhibit in various museums and multiple galleries work with you, how did your first collaboration come about?

By organizing momentum of a group show of like-minded people. Then a new hype will automatically arise and everyone will come and have a look.

What do you do when you have no inspiration?

Allowing inspiration to arise is part of being an artist. Giving up is not an option, sometimes it takes longer to create inspiration than you would like, but you have to. I make drawings every day, sometimes I don’t feel like it, but as soon as I start something begins to flow. The good thing is, you can often do something with ‘not having inspiration’. Confront yourself with this emptiness, dare to face it. What does this do to you? Is this useful to you?

What would you always like to avoid in the art scene?

Dumb people. “Dumb” is a general term, but by this I mean people who are clinging to rules, are being naive, self-centered, or lax. Art is a form of rising above the self. art is there to make the world more beautiful and this should be done from a pure intention.

When you look back at your art career, what would you like to do differently?
  • Want to apply more strategy.
  • Think big
  • Thinking far ahead
  • Don’t be afraid of anything

Would you like to see more of Berend Strik?

More work can be seen at Galerie Fons Welters and Jack Tilton Gallery, the book by Berend Strik is for sale here.

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