Intervew with me, conducted by gallerist and artist Adam Fox from FreudMonk Gallery, published at www.freudmonkgallery.com 2019
• To begin, could you tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I am raised in Groningen in the north of the Netherlands, at the age of 16, I moved to Zwolle. At early age I was really touched by music and arts. I knew at that moment, this is what I want. This is my life. At the age of nine I started with the study of classical guitar. Later on I was studying at the high school for the arts (ARTEZ) I graduated in when I was 24 years. From that time on I was starting a living as an artist., When I was 30 years I had a profound oneness experience, the falling in you centre , true deep meditation. The Unio Mystica gave me a total different view .This awakening had a great impact on me. I had to make a long journey to integrate this awakening. Now I am working as a designer, composer, and artist, and sometimes I give Satsang. I had the privilege to design beautiful commissions, such as the Dutch part of the horticultural world expo in Shenyang China, where I designed the pavilion, and several sculptures. I had several nomination and design awards.
• Describe your journey to becoming, (or identifying as) an artist. Has it been easy? Natural? What has been difficult?
In the beginning I find it very difficult to choose which way I tried all kinds of styles. Because I could draw very well after nature I started figurative. But soon I dropped everything .But the creative process is the one of playfulness, to be a child, it’s not complicated when you are not attached to the result. this nonattachment is the end of the journey, of becoming something ,to becoming an artist. It is the realization that you are an artist, With infinite possibilities when you give it a chance, when you’re not standing in the way.
• How would you describe your work to someone?
The spontaneous gesture of the brushstroke is becoming the subject of the painting, So I am working in the tradition of the abstract expressionism and the action painting. What you see is what it is, it’s not referring to other places or other ideas than what it is. Through my working with thick impasto I have also brought in , another element, and that is light and shadow . And I’m also have the opinion, that an art work is a carrier of energy ,you can feel the energy in which the artwork is originated. You can feel the energy of the state of mind of the artist. Is it from an open no-mind, totally aliveness, true and authentic, originated from stillness?
• What is important for viewers to note when viewing your work?
Don’t try to understand it just feel, be still and just look with an open mind. My work is from heart to heart
• What is your process like? How important is process in understanding your work?
My works originates from the works I have made before . But in the meantime the works are standing on their own. So it is not necessary to understand the process but I think it’s interesting to see that some solutions are originated through the process. I think the way of the artist is to awaken himself to his timeless and spaceless awareness, it is the way of un- knowing, the way of openness, so that it is not you mind who makes decisions, it is more closer to you, it is the eyes of the heart from where the answers arising. “the usability of the wheel is in the void of the hub.” And you can feel the energy in which the artwork is made
• I'm interested to know how you arrived at your choice of process, materials, and 'style?' How did this develop?
I have been working abstract for about 30 years now, the brushstroke has become the subject of the painting, through my 3D sculptures and my designing I feel the need that more and more the paintings had to become a sculpture . I also arrived at the inner state of simplicity. And that means, not reducing the many, but putting the most necessary together, The works are originated from stillness, from the state of no mind, from the secret, The state of not knowing and free attention. And my works are reflecting that.
• What does your work aim to say?
The content of the work withdraws from every definition, for it is not the material with is used, or anecdotal content, it refers to the un manifest side of man, the groundless, the heart of perception, and the home of man. Because it is also there, from where the work originated and was sent. That exactly is the aesthetic experience. The collapse of the egocentric awareness, the awareness of separation, in oneness, in the natural non dualistic state.
• Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how they have impacted your work?
I think the most important experience which I had, with confronting me with an true artwork, is the dissolving power it has. For example I saw an exhibition of 300 watercolours and drawings of Joseph Beuys, and when I saw the pictures ,I was struck by that totally free energy it has, and that freedom, is the freedom of me, the freedom of grasping, The freedom of wanting I recognized the energy. It was not the energy from an ego, it wasn’t egocentric. It was more deeper, from a far more deeper level.and after seeing this, it was in about two hours I think, I was totally in bliss, totally high. The normal dualistic state, was for a moment gone. The impact on my own work is, the deep understanding what art is, it is my religion.It arises from the heart of perception, it is pointing to the heart from where everything is perceived.
• Where do you find inspiration?
From the process ,from works I have done before , and from works of other artist with have touched my inner voice. When the “me” is not there, the inspiration fills the moment, And comes to you. This is the magic of creativity. The result of no- mind
• In your experience, what is the best thing about being an artist? What is the hardest thing about being an artist?
To be free is the most difficult and also the most beautiful thing as an Artist.
• If you were not an artist, what would you be?
• What piece of advice would you give to a young artist?
Do not listening to anyone, except when it is helpful to find your inner voice.
Harmen van der Tuin | artist | composer l designer l 2019