World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 107 - Timothy de Graaf

Timothy de Graaf is inspired by Rembrandt. Motion and visualisation are important themes in his work. He has a fascination for hands and gestures. He learned sign language because he’s deaf. Sign language you see a lot in his work, not only in painting, but also in his films, his cartoons, his drawings and his sculpture.

In his second exhibition at the MLB Gallery titled ’What’s next II’ there was impressive new work in strong frames and sizes. A powerful portrait of Johan Cruyff with an orange background. A work, consisting of two parts with at left a woman’s body seen at the rear and at right a knight with an iron helmet, is even measuring 240 x 240 cm. In a cabinet setting there are many smaller paintings. Before the official opening the cabinet was closed, but after the opening word we got to see the contents of the cabinet.

Crystal ball

We talk a few days after the opening in the gallery. “The idea of the cabinet was a revelation for me. It started with a suitcase, in which you could put more paintings and take it with you. But it became to heavy for that. I want to continue with a cabinet full of paintings. A large rand a smaller one, that you really can carry like a trunk.”

On quite a few of his paintings is a crystal ball. Timothy: That is indeed a beloved element. I paint a lot of nudes and I am particularly interested in the muscle of the woman or the man. They are individuals who mimic strong. Especially in the hands is a lot of movement. I capture it in delicate colors and beautiful combinations of color schemes, which I’m very inspired by Rembrandt’s work.”

Usually he uses oil paint. “I like to drape cloudscapes in such a way on the canvas that you can see light raids. Like Rembrandt I make the background dark and the central figure lighter. You also see it at the use of paint. On the bright parts of the painting, the paint is thicker, in the dark parts it is thinner.”


Timothy also makes bronze sculptures, including the human body. He shows the muscle masses. Preferably a of whole body, but making a bust he likes as well. He takes inspiration from Biblical images and Auguste Rodin’s work. Making sculptures is costly, so the paintings and drawings prevail.

In recent years he has started to work more refined. You can see it among others at the paintings in the cabinet / box. “By changing the people remain interested. And I myself also.”

There is also a number of drawings inspired by Guyot. Timothy, born in Melbourne, Australia, was a pupil for many years of the Henri Daniel Guyot Institute in Groningen, which was founded in 1790. Guyot, a Groningen pastor, designed a mixed method with words and sign language for the communication of the deaf. They also received oral education.  


Timothy is a versatile man: he also makes cartoons and movies. He has written many screenplays. I saw in the back of the gallery a film of twenty minutes with four men playing cards around the table. They played very empathically with clear movements and gestures. Over the time one of the card players disappeared to heaven. There were only three. And then two and finally one.

Timothy has been an artist over 25 years. He was a student at the Minerva Academy in Groningen. In his daily life he is also filmmaker at Stichting Welzijn Doven Amsterdam (SWDA). He is reponsible for camera work and editing, among other the talk show Hand on Table (HOT) and Amsterdam Visual News, a monthly report series. He works the scenarios, makes storyboarding, is directing, working with the camera and mounting. “In the past I made the film ‘Wild Dogs’. I would like to once again make a bigger film. I have several scenarios ready. The big problem is to get the necessary money together.”

As cartoonist, he made a pair of comic books issued by SWDA and several tear-off calenders with gestures drawings. Timothy has a studio at home. In the future he hopes to realize a couple of times a good selling of his paintings. “That gives me the opportunity to concentrate on my painting and sculpture.”  





Do culture your way

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0