Mixed Media Merriment - new work by Roy Jongeling

It's good to talk to people that have a gleam in their eye. When I met Roy Jongeling at the Realisme Art Fair, I couldn't turn away from the funky spark I kept seeing in his face. It was a good chat and I asked him to meet me a few days later to see his work.

When I walked into Galerie de Hooffzaak  I was surprised by how many times I had peddled by the unassuming gallery with no idea it was there. Situated on the bustling Haarlemerdijk, the galerie/studio/theater is easy to miss... but not once you get off the bike. 

Outside view of Galerie De Hooffzaak, Harlemmerdijk 54
Outside view of Galerie De Hooffzaak, Harlemmerdijk 54

Roy's latest show, entitled "Vitamin H in image, text and 3d" is up until March 1st and shows the depth of Roy's skill as a mixed media artist and humorist. His compositions create a smile on their own, but it's his titles that bring it on home.

Yes, that is Sigmund Freud participating in a drag race.
Yes, that is Sigmund Freud participating in a drag race.

Roy and I definitely had a difference of opinion on his lack of framing for his work, but as the artist does as the artist do, he wants his pieces to stand alone and not behind glass - which, I admit, gives a very personal experience to his compositions. 

With a background that reads like an encyclopedia when it comes to art, it's not surprising that Roy continues to tap into fresh perspectives in his work - he's done everything from making jewelry and furniture to site-specific installation and creative writing. Though, when discussing this body of collage/mixed media work, he leans heavy on his role as a story teller. He is working on creating a full story behind each of his collages, perhaps in a blog or a book coming soon. 

Here's an excerpt from his story "Up In Smoke" - about quitting smoking:

"I finally walked out of that 'Tobacco Road" and quitted the Company. One should know that I started at fourteen. As a trainee. Kind of child-slave. In fact that is not really honest, as I started as a volunteer. Nobody forced me to do the job there in the old days. I wanted to try it. Just to prove that I could do it. To look like a sturdy boy, to be one of "them". "Them", were the older boys. They were at least one and a half years older than me. And more on their way towards maturity. In the beginning it tasted awful, but perseverance reigned gloriously over it and gradually I really liked it more and more. Well, at least that's what I thought then. "

Personally, I'd like to know the story around this particular piece:

Pascal is not looking too pleased with Peter, now is he?
Pascal is not looking too pleased with Peter, now is he?

It's been a very very long time since I have seen successful collage and what's most exciting about Roy's work is that he also is willing to teach us how to do it. Yup, he's teaching a month long workshop (four weekends in a row) - send him an email - Roy@RoyJongeling.nl. The workshop cost also includes materials - which in the digital age seem harder and harder to find. 

A wall full of funny.
A wall full of funny.
I love that Jack Nicholson is confident enough to wear a tutu, cause he's definitely doing it justice.
I love that Jack Nicholson is confident enough to wear a tutu, cause he's definitely doing it justice.

There are about thirty pieces on display and each warrants a pause and a chuckle. There's even a few interactive pieces - the content of a few of them is quite racey - too racey for a post - but this one really struck my fancy. His prices are fantastic for original art - from €150-€400 for some of the larger pieces. 

It's the toenails... he painted the toenails.
It's the toenails... he painted the toenails.

There is a "Finissage" for the show on March 1st, from 4-6pm - plenty of time between now and then to visit the gallery (Friday-Sunday 12-6pm, ring the bell) - and there's a sign-up list there for his workshop.  

And I will leave you with just one more for the road, the rest you go see - and as always, tell me what you think.

"Much to her own surprise, Eulalia was not only confronted with another 'Jeff Koons' in the Museum, but also with an array of possums"

Off Street Laser 3.14 at Andenken

When I found out Andenken was hosting the latest offering from street artist and poet Laser 3.14, I had concerns. Having never seen his work off the street, I doubted it's ability to translate. What would happen when you pulled the anonymity of Laser 3.14's work out of it's natural habitat?I did a fly by of the installation before the opening and was conflicted. At a glance, I saw a concocted line up of something that is part of our Amsterdam culture. An experience that usually happens organically has been trapped inside with it's energy compacted and compressed.

The long wall at Andenken.
The long wall at Andenken.

However, once inside, the work shifted in a couple of ways. First, though the materials are similar to what we see outside, the finish makes the natural textures more dynamic. The high gloss creates a tangible container for the raw content. Here, take a look:

Detail

Detail

Detail

Detail

The second shift, and definitely more poignant, is that caging this work provides us a valuable opportunity. Laser 3.14's commitment to what he does as a writer and public identity is absolute. Less than three months into living here I came across his work while walking the dog. I had no idea what the statement was, but I noticed it and now his work is stuck in my mind as an essential part of living in Amsterdam, it's iconic. It doesn't matter  whether you like his messages or not - if you live here you know his signature. The opportunity then is a chance to capture a piece of Amsterdam. Like it or not, Laser 3.14 is building the culture of Amsterdam and that is worth caging and selling from time to time.

A nice corner at Andenken -
A nice corner at Andenken -
Upstairs at Andenken.
Upstairs at Andenken.

Overall, Andenken and it's Laser 3.14 tagged floor make a great cage and, after hanging out a bit with owner Hyland Mather, I got a bit of an insider tip, things are changing for our icon... so making an investment now is a VERY good idea, because it runs about 300 euro - which won't last. It shouldn't last - it's ridiculously low for keeping the city stamped with messages that make you pause at 3am and discuss - even if it's to argue about the rampant graffiti artists that need to be jailed.

Excerpt from
Excerpt from

You want more? There's a ton out there about Laser 3.14, just google him - here's a few of the pieces that stood out: From StreetART.nl - a great site and basic background on the man behind the can, The Essence and their interview and last but definitely NOT least the interview with CFYE - a great online rag that stands for "Crack For Your Eyes." But to get a real perspective behind the man, we recommend his new book, White Phosphorous - best read in the gallery.

Hopefully Laser 3.14 is here to stay - but his work may not be - catch it if you can at Andenken (Passanistraat 17, Amsterdam), but if you can't make it to the site, you can invest online here.

Small Missing History

When I tried to find the work of Humberto Ricaldo online, I got nothing....maybe it's because it was made in 1978, yes, that's before the convenience of the inter-webs. I did the next best thing and searched the online catalog of work from the Tropenmuseum, where I discovered Ricaldo's work - that search also lead to a big zero.I want to know more about Ricaldo because I was moved by his work, so while I am searching for more information somewhere, here's what I DO know of Humberto Ricaldo - he is an artist from Mexico and in 1978 he was making these very tiny figures from balsa wood and paint:

Humberto Ricaldo, Dancer With Animal Mask
Humberto Ricaldo, Dancer With Animal Mask
Humberto Ricaldo, Carnival Figures
Humberto Ricaldo, Carnival Figures
Humberto Ricaldo, Folk Dress
Humberto Ricaldo, Folk Dress

Here's their actual size:

I have emailed the museum to see what they might have on record about Ricaldo. His genre of work though, is not so mysterious, it's called Pulgas Vestidas (Clothed Fleas) and sprang to life in the early 1900's. Most of the original Pulgas Vestidas' used real fleas in the the composition, usually just the heads mounted on tiny adorned little bodies. Though I have some issues about taxidermy in art, I have killed many fleas and enjoy the thought of their demise resulting in a curious work of art. Here's a great example:

Dressed Fleas from Xavi Puk website, http://magicpuk.blogspot.nl/
Dressed Fleas from Xavi Puk website, http://magicpuk.blogspot.nl/

It's believed that this tradition started with the Aztecs, though documentation is scarce. Mostly it seems Nuns in Mexican convents contributed to the art which seems to have lead to the ever popular flea circus - a tradition that is still alive and well today. Obviously this needs a lot more research, but here are a few places to start:

WorthPoint - this article by Maggie Turnipseed in 2009 gave a great summary of how the dressed flea came to become part of Mexican culture - as well as how much an original display would be valued at today.

MatitaTaller - worth a translate, Carmen Loyola tells the story of a collection of Pulgas Vestidas that was rescued from the Museo del Chopo when the building was demolished, some of these were later micro-photographed.

And then there's the Flea Circus Research Library a stunning collection of facts and trivia. Apparently the Aztecs had a special place for the flea in their culture, as it appears in many statues.

Regardless of history, Humberto Ricaldo choose not to use real fleas in his work, but kept to other dynamics of Pulgas Vestidas intact, namely the representation of the cultural traditions of Mexico. It took him about six hours to complete each figure, which I image to be back breaking work with little room for error... and again I have to ask myself, why? Why chose this medium and format over anything else. How did Ricaldo discover that he had talent for this? I may never find out, but I am determined to try - hopefully I will hear back from the Tropenmuseum, but for now, I have stumbled into the world of Micro Artists - you can check out some of my favorites here.

Highly Designed Incongruencies, DDW.

It's Dutch Design Week, where you get a lot of content and shitty service experiences. Apparently the Future Now concept does not extend to user experience... or perhaps it was just us? Our particular disappointments were the extremely slow ticket fast lane and mis-prints for the end time for the Graduate show, not to mention some more general food service orientated items.Let's forget about the negatives, as these may be cultural, and focus on what we were impressed by.... which, of course did NOT include the Graduate show.

Vaccination against the unknown, Brekel & Strekel
Vaccination against the unknown, Brekel & Strekel

Top on our list was the work by Brekel & Strekel, who think that our society has become way too safe. Their design re-inserts risk and mayhem back into our lives - super thank you for that. The product above, which is not currently on their website, is essentially a 9 volt battery on a stick, complete with ice cream shaped vinyl sheath. You insert your tongue into the piece and enjoy the tingly shock. Yes, lot's of tongues have hung out in it and, no, it's not sanitized... I used it twice.

Lieke Brekelmans demonstrates the Doll Heads.
Lieke Brekelmans demonstrates the Doll Heads.

The device above is called Doll Heads and Lieke was kind enough to demonstrate the risky adventure one would have trying to light a match and avoid frying hair. Fantastic in both concept and execution, these ladies must be placed on the watch list, which I will read while running with scissors.

The True Size of Food
The True Size of Food

From Dik & Stijlloos, The True Size of Food aims to shed more light onto the food we eat, our food choices and food contents. They do this with a simple design that made the information accessible and fascinating. There website shows more of the exhibit and I walked away never wanting to eat pasta again.

Available Food, The True Size of Food
Available Food, The True Size of Food

In a beautiful homage to the polaroid, Dik & Stijlloos display a  picture of every place you can buy food within 500 meters. The physical component necessary to complete a project of this scope impressed me. They also showed photographs of how food ages over 96 days, which must have been quite the experience to execute. Where exactly did they store the hamburger for 96 days? Definitely check out their website - and buy the book

Donor Design Week
Donor Design Week

Six artists participated in an exhibition called Donor Design Week, this piece above by Jalila Essaidi uses Golden Orb Weaver spiders to demonstrate the crafting of synthetic organs. The world of organ replacement is rapidly changing and the processes are blurring the lines between living and not living... the spiders building their living space around a static form were a perfect example of the juxtaposition. Unfortunately the lighting created great issues or my images, but the exploration in to the body and it's various replaceability and advancing technologies was a refreshing line of exploration.

Elemental break down of the Fairphone, Awards Show
Elemental break down of the Fairphone, Awards Show
Elemental break down of the Fairphone, Awards Show
Elemental break down of the Fairphone, Awards Show
Elemental break down of the Fairphone, Awards Show
Elemental break down of the Fairphone, Awards Show

Seeing the natural elements that go into creating a cell phone was a great experience. The Fairphone strives to bridge the gap between high tech and sustainabilty by producing an Android based cell phone for a living wage, using conflict free resources, using open architecture for easy upgrades (instead of replacement) and providing ecological waste solutions. At 325 euros it's a phone that is designed to change when technology changes and give you a peace of mind where you may have never considered it possible - that is, if you can handle the Android system.

Lore Langendries
Lore Langendries
Lore Langendries
Lore Langendries

I wasn't sure what I thought about Lore Langendries work with the cow, but the longer I looked at it the more the craft(wo)manship won me over. Though I didn't try it on, I wondered if it was itchy, design wise, it was simple but dynamic.

There's a ton more images to process, but perhaps the best bet is for you to go. It's amazing to see so much design in one place. By far the best part of the experience is the accessibility to the artists. For the most part, the designers are there, and engaged. It's an opportunity not to be missed. Here's a few more shots, all from the Klokegebouw, if you go, and get me the artists name, I will send you a gift - consider it a scavenger hunt.