Q&A Oliver Vrancken
Friday, 5 August 2011
We came across Dutchman Olivier Vrancken and his stunning painting work via the internet.. and what a find it was. We are massive fans of his figurative abstracts - and everyone who sees his work tends to agree. We thought we'd ask him a few questions via email - to see what makes him tick.
Hi Ollie.. where are you now ?
At home in Breda, The Netherlands
What's been happening in your world lately - what's new ?
A lot of change, all for the better i hope.
Name a few favourites - film / book / album / sandwich filling ?
Film: A Space odyssey 2001, Requiem For a Dream, The Holy Mountain, Enter the void. Books: Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond, Aldous Huxley's 'Brave new world' Albums: 'Master of Reality' - Black Sabbath / 'Burial' - Burial / 'A Sufi and a killer' - Gonjasufi / 'Awfully Deep' - Roots Manuva. Sandwich filling; anything with cheese!
Describe a perfect non-work day ?
Hanging out with my kids.
Describe a perfect work day ?
Get up early and paint the whole day through till late at night, no disturbances, lots of coffee and music... that's about perfect!!
Briefly summarise your journey to get to where you are now in your work ?
I dropped out of the academy in 95 after 3 years of graphic design & illustration. I then started to work as freelance designer in both commercial and non-commercial work, doing different jobs in between and in quiter times. Late 2009 design work was severely decreasing for me due to the economic climate. So, with more time on my hands, I decided to pick up pencils and brushes again and started making stuff. An urge that was dwelling around for quite some time. Not long after, the first offer to participate in a group show presented itself. From that point on things evolved gradually till where I am now.
What motivates you ?
Good question. I simply make work just because i love it and i feel the need to, it makes me feel good. Maybe it's the sheer desire to create and to achieve, the personal challenge that lies within it... something like that.
You use repeated motifs & similar elements across your works... roughly describe your work process - what determines the elements you use in each piece ?
The whole process is an impulsive one. It think you keep it more personal that way. Starting with some basic lines or forms, a vague thought or idea and build the whole image up until i get the right balance or composition. I see it as a get together of fragmented thoughts where colors, shapes and motifs define the contrasts. It's a process of adding and deleting until it feels right. Mixing through the timeless and primordial feel of Geometry, symbolism, primitive forms and repeated motifs, which in themselves are abstractions of larger concepts.
Do you start a piece with a goal in mind or is the process more organic ?
Up until now it's more of an organic process. I don't plan too much. I let the work evolve naturally with a pallet of forms, patterns and colors i favor now. Sometimes i don't look at it for a day or two and then go on with it. There's always 2 or 3 pieces i'm working on simultaneously.
Can't help but notice a distinct influence from the likes of Studio Ghibli - the Japanese animation house - in some of your characters - is this a conscious influence ?
Maybe a subconscious one? I'm not familiar with Studio Ghibli. I will have to check that out though.
Your work seems to be becoming increasingly detailed - is this down to increased confidence in the elements you paint - or a conscious change in style from the simple, more basic shapes to more complex intricacy ?
As you go along confidence grows, you try new stuff, take different approaches - and end up with new things. Can't say if it will keep on evolving in to even more detailed work. What i feel good with in that moment will define the result. I consider my work still in an early stage, I'm exploring and eager to discover what that will bring forth.
Any other specific things that inspire or interest you ?
Weird movies, books, music, science, Primitive art, anything involving design and architecture of the 60s & 70s, other artists...
Which other artists - alive or still with us - do you most admire ?
To name a few old masters - I think of Giorgio De Chirico and Jeroen Bosch. As for more recent artists, there are so many dedicated people I admire.
You are also a graphic designer - how do the two aspects of your creativity work together - or is the design work purely to fund the painting ?
The design work is purely to fund the painting and the bills. Mostly small assignments like logos, vinyl covers, flyers etc.
What are your thoughts on the current graphic art world - the whole "street art" phenomena ?
Whatever it is, it's growing fast and gradually gaining more and more attention. Due to internet & social media like Flickr, Facebook etc it's much easier to profile oneself and show work. It has made art more easy accessible in my opinion.
What are your creative plans for 2011 & 2012 ?
Work hard and make lots of new work. Look out for a decent studio or maybe transform my basement in a suitable workspace so that i'm able to work on bigger stuff. I'm still bound to a small table so... I'd love to do screenprinting and some big walls. Hopefully more exhibits. I' m keeping things positive.
A selection of Olivier's work can be seen on this site - and more on his own site www.oliviervrancken.com We hope to be bringing you more from this talented fella as soon as we can - watch this space!