World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 129 - Michiel Nijkamp
When I enter the MLB Gallery to interview Michiel Nijkamp, I see him drawing at a table near the window. I see a large round planet, it looks like Saturn, with on the left of this planet a few protrusions and some smaller squares.
In the gallery are more of his works, detailed pen-and-ink drawings with circular shapes and drawn structures. Collage elements play a major part in many of his works. Around those collages is the drawing that responds to the collage. Nijkamp's works are hanging alternately with those of his wife, Renneke van der Linden. 'Travel Impressions' is the title of the exhibition.
What Michiel and Renneke have in common is the attention to detail, which sometimes refers to the many trips they have made together. Chinese characters, coins, a luggage barcode you get at the airport, dried flowers from a far country.
“Those collage elements I find on the street or elsewhere," says Michiel, "I'm going to fantasize with that. Around the collage elements I weave a drawing. I try to tie everything together, but sometimes the drawn parts are apart from the collage. "
The work is created while working on it. "I start with the center, I'm responding with a circular shape. Sometimes I try to interrupt it or send another way. " He writes with a drawing pencil with pigment ink, he used to work with a dip pen. The pen-and-ink drawings have no horizon, but a bird's eye view.
Usually the drawings are in black and white, but he also uses color. Certainly for his paintings, which are larger in size, 50 x 60, but also have drawing-like elements. Most drawings he makes in drawing books.
At the moment, the size of the drawings is smaller, one half A4. "I often make them on my lap while the Star Trek series is on. If I look at that series I do not have to concentrate that much on drawing, so there is a relaxation in drawing. I can turn Star Trek on whenever I want, because I'll see it through Netflix. Star Trek has a connection to a circular world, planet-like, round, and the spacecraft itself." What attracts him in Star Trek is its atmosphere. "But I can also draw at the news journal."
Michiel Nijkamp graduated from the Arnhem Academy in 1993, nowadays it is called Artez. The training was quite intensive. "I'm autodidact in terms of working, so it's hard to learn something." Before going to the Academy, he already made drawings with a lot of colors. At the academy he went to paint, but remained faithful to drawing. He learned to know Japanese ink and use the Japanese brush. "There I made arcadian landscapes. The ‘Nijkamp style’ slowly emerged. "
We walk past his works. "I've been challenged by strangeness." We see the work "Ode on our travels" with coins and foreign (visit) cards on it, and ‘Fools Gold’, a three-dimensional work with a clown with a red nose and mouth and eyes made of coins, two stamps on a purple surface and a joker play card with a coin of 25 cents. That's where the title of the work comes from, 25 cents was called 'Fool's Gold'. The clown’s head is made of an egg box found by Michiel. "It was lying on the street. I thought, it seems like a clown at age. "
Art life is quite heavy, Michiel finds. "Making is something different than exhibiting. Making gives me a lot of fun, but the sale is not so easy." That's why he has a job as an archivist of the municipality of Nijmegen.
Finally, what is his philosophy? Michiel: "Do not think too much when you work. The work must come about while you are doing it, which makes it adventurous. I have become an artist because of the adventure, I'm excited to surprise myself. It's a challenge every time. "