applied art - a contradictio in terminis happily applied on this blog

illustrations / projects / picture books / story telling / applied art

Friday, 16 December 2016


2013/2014 Graduating in Art, part 1 (yet again) 


Is there any other kind?

After the last exam... 

It took me exactly one day of hanging in front of the tube, watching movies, and hugging the dog (until he almost puked), to crawl out of the dark and stinky cave of failure. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to dwell somewhat longer, it was because there was no choice in the matter. You have to understand that when you attend and academy or a university at a ‘certain age’, it’s like a killer contract. It’s about honor. The covenant is not with the school or other students or other muggles, it’s with the devil. In this situation it is actually soul sucking to fail. So, you will rise or climb or fight your way out of any apocalyptic hole. And just carry on. Smiling. It’s actually really creepy. 

I thought about the work I had already done. I glanced again at my self-portrait as Red Ridinghood, I looked more television (that was still on), I saw Morgan Freeman talk about memory, I remembered my father’s photographs and badabingbadaboom… I knew what to do.

The devil winked at me like a proud professor.

And now, this is exactly why you should never ask any artist how he gets his ideas. He doesn’t know. It happens. It’s like cerebral hemorrhage. This moment you’re you, and this moment your brain is doing something…well, something, and you’re another version of you with an idea. You look behind you and think ‘who did that’.
Think about that next time you hear an artist talk about his work. 

(J.K. Rowling is a good example here. She tells, when she’s asked the unavoidable question, that she sat on a train and there was Harry Potter. Read: she sat on a traingot brain hemorrhageand there was Harry Potter. It’s that simple.)

Photographs of three generations - my grandparents, my parents and mine

It became January 2014 and I arrived on a wintery-afternoon, with my fresh art, at the academy. A second change at the first part of graduating in the illustrious field of Art.

This time the classroom I got for my presentation, was quit white and sterile. The academy consists of four parts, build in four eras’. My room was located in the ‘new’ part (2003/2004). That’s a part with good clean architecture and no atmosphere. It was perfect.

I had to share the room with another student, he was not yet on the premises, so I took one wall and a table for my stuff and left the rest of the space untouched. In comparison to the last time (see the other blog THE BIG BLIP) I only had a few things to present to my almighty professors. Like the room, my body of work was minimal and clean. Accept for something rotten, a little detail that I thought would work like a stain on the white canvas and that I also thought added something rebellious.

I carried on with it and put up some black, white and red in the ocean of white space.


This was my project:
Telling Stories

A story is a reproduction of events, whether they are fictional or not.

A person consists manly out of memories, stories and experiences. This is what makes a person have a personality and a character. If you believe in a God, you will revere to this as the soul.

Theory of memory and self.


The Art I showed for this exam is an image of a how a story could look like when told by a person. I have taken the story out of someone’s mind and made it visual on the wall. The story contains memories (real and fantasy) and experiences.

Content of artwork
  • Red Ridinghood: represents the childhood stories and fantasies stored in the memory.
  • Photographs: represent family history of three generations and the stories and memories they shared
  • Color and adjustment in pictures: representing experiences and life lived.

The story you are about to see has a beginning, a birth, and an ending, adulthood. The beginning is clean and light, but time will fill a person with experiences, memories and stories. So, the story will get darker and dirtier, not because it is evil, it is just living a life.

First some scenes, then the whole story:

In the beginning there is just imagination and the memories grow wonderfull.
Adventures are all around.

Lovingly showing the travelled road in the forrest of life.

The forrest is never ever what it seems.

The whole story - printed photographs on paper, chalk and ink, 14x14cm.

Detail of the whole story.


 The cloak represented, in 3D, a story that is being eaten away by time and is getting rotten, stained and dirty. Because it is told over and over again it wears out and it’s getting holes and lose threads. Insects start to live in it, feed on it and die from it. It’s decay, it’s time trying to repeat a story. The story will partly perish before it becomes something new.

I made a red cloak because everybody knows who’s it is and why and how and for however and ever long.

I had collected little beautiful flies and insects that I placed on and under the cloak, the thing was alive and rotting.

But something went wrong here, because no one saw the cloak. The students that came to watch my presentation didn’t see it and the professors that were about to judge me didn’t see it. The thing was bright red, so that couldn’t be it. It was an interesting mystery.

Anyway, I was really very happy with the cloak.

Accept for the fact that it seemed to be invisible. But well, the devil is in the details.

Red's cloak. Isn't it creepy like this? See the flies? 
Vilted wool, nettings inside, flies, butterflie, mosquitoes.


‘Miss N, the last time at your examination we could hardly enter the room because of the enormous body of work and this time we almost past it by. There were some things we don’t know how to understand, but you are back on track. We think. Here is a seven. Next.’

 A seven.
Such a funny grade. Get a six and you know there’s some work to be done.
Get an eight and you know it’s pretty decent.

But a seven.

Come on…

Anyway, I will say it again:
'I was really very happy with the whole thing'


A few weeks later on of my professors told me they did see the cloak. (Well have you ever, rascals!).
He told me that, when they left the room after the exam, some of them were making fun about the flies underneath the cloak.

Madam, do you think she put the flies there on purpose?’ ‘Hahaha, of course not, you are funny, sir!’

 Isn’t it a great story…

Yours truly, Miss N -
(aka the Red Hooder)