The full story. Probably more than you came for. Read on!
The full story. Probably more than you came for. Read on!
Most of my autonomous art taps into contemporary issues. I identify as non-binary, meaning my gender exists outside of the binary ‘male’ or ‘female’ spectrum, and I have a long history with chronic depression. Both are examples of ‘taboos’ which have only recently come into the general discussion, be it in a positive or negative way. I think art is a great catalyst to make people understand – or reconsider – hence I often start with subjects like these to create my art. In the same way art can be used to make people understand and experience contemporary issues like climate-change and inequality.
Together with my long term friend and muse Elea Bekkers I created STAATSGREEP, an art collective rooted in these values, to make art accessible to a broader audience again concerning topics that were or still are taboo at large. With a sustainable clothing line dubbed “Gay Cult” and an opera about mental illness, STAATSGREEP amplifies my own artistic values.
I grew up on the Veluwe, a vast (for Dutch standards) nature reserve in the heart of The Netherlands. I spent a lot of time in the forest as a kid, and I still do. Spending my time in nature as a child opened my mind to the endless possibilities of the imagination, unbound by the stark rules of towns and cities. I’d run around building huts and searching for branches that would do nicely as a magic staff. In the forest my peers feared me as I didn’t care what grown-ups would think about me away from their rules and dull visions – in the forest I’m a wizard, and no one could tell me otherwise. I’ll let you in on a secret: I still believe I’m a wizard. Don’t tell.
This freedom of thinking and imagination might have been buried just a bit deeper now that I’m older. It might just as well be the fact that I now live in the city where real nature sometimes seems lightyears away. Luckily I can now use my art to channel my imagination when I can’t physically dart around a forest.
I started my career as an artist when I enrolled at the HKU, the Utrecht School for the Arts, where I persued music composition for movies and games with a dash of audio technology. I had a lot of fun, but something was missing. After the first year I switched to the Utrecht Conservatory in persue of more depth in the trade of contemporary music composition. I found this depth in Caroline Ansink and Jeroen D’hoe who, with very different visions I must add, taught me to dive into my own process of creation. This was both envigorating and confronting to do, as facing my own process of creation in part made me try to control it which completely shut me down.
This inner conflict made me again reconsider. I thought repeatedly about persuing my interest in global sustainability and studying at the university but alas, I realized that changing the world takes art, not only science. I finished my studies at the conservatory with the monodrama “De Man die afdreef op de Zee” which I wrote with Elea Bekkers.
After my studies a few years of wandering around followed – I worked as a barista, as marketeer for an orchestra, as head of marketing for an unorthodox opera production and was a trainee in the talent development programma of the Dutch Chamber Choir. That last entry is where I finally found my footing: during this traineeship I was able to express myself in so many different ways; by singing, composing, designing and writing all at the same time. At this time I realized I’m not a composer or a designer, I’m a maker, a creator. I have one crative process and I express it in a myriad of ways – my art is all interconnected. For that same reason I’m a natural autodidact; the creative process is always the same, it’s only the medium that changes.
The programme included composition techniques relating to cinematic music and audio technology relating to studio work.
Studied with Caroline Ansink and Jeroen D’Hoe. De Man die afdreef op de Zee was my graduation work.
In 2016 and 2017 I was responsible for the marketing of the Utrechtsch Studenten Concert, the student symphony orchestra of Utrecht, The Netherlands. The USConcert is the oldest still active symphony orchestra in The Netherlands, having been founded as early as 1824.
In 2017 together with writer and mezzo-soprano Elea Bekkers I founded “Staatsgreep”, an art collective focussed on radical new art. With Staatsgreep Elea and I want to take modern art out of high-society theatres and operahouses and bring it to the audience instead. By adressing modern issues in a confronting yet accessible way STAATSGREEP makes art part of modern-day society again.
In 2017, 2018 and 2020 I’ve been the in-house designer for the Dutch Student Chamber Orchestra, providing them with thematic posters, flyers and digital material like banners and video’s.
For Stichting LustrumOpera’s 2018 production of ‘Thijl’ by Jan van Gilse I arranged the opera according to cuts and edits made by the artistic team to make the opera more workable. This involved deciding on where the music could be realistically cut and writing new passages of music in Van Gilse’s style to connect newly neighboring passages. Side work included arranging parts of the opera for chamber orchestra for performances outside of the full opera performances itself.
In 2017 and 2018 I oversaw and organized the marketing efforts of the unorthodox opera production Thijl 2018, an opera performed on a former army airbase in a theater built from sea containers for the occasion. The opera was performed 8 times and sold out everytime, catering to a total audience of around 7000 people.
Photo: Marco Borggreve
From 2018 to 2019 I was part of the Dutch Chamber Choir talent development programme. In a small team we worked together to produce multiple shows. My activities included composising new work, singing, concept development and overseeing the marketing as well as designing the marketing material. Even though our official running time was in 2018 and 2019, we continue to perform our still relevant performances. Check out nkknxt1819 for further information.
In 2019 the Utrechtsch Studenten Concert, the student orchestra of Utrecht, The Netherlands, commissioned an ouverture for their summer programme of 2019. “Wayfare Concerto” was the result, which was performed multiple times in Austria, Kroatia and The Netherlands alongside Szymanowski’s violin concerto and the Symphonic Dances by Rachmaninov.
In 2019 I arranged a selection of Spinvis’ work for symphonic orchestra for his performance at the UUnited festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Until spring 2020 I was part of the core team of ControlF5 for three days a week alongside my own work as an artist. A young company offering cutting edge websites to smaller sized companies and individuals. I was an all-rounder; I was reponsible for design, development and project management. In 2020 I decided to fully focus on my career as an independent artist, leaving ControlF5.
For the Utrechtse Studenten Cantorij, the classical student choir of Utrecht, The Netherlands, I’ve been designing the promotional material for their concerts since 2019, combining my photography with graphics design in a recognizable style.
Following the finale performance of the Riciotti “Niet Normaal!” tour it was announced that my piece “Fifteen Decimeter Supermarket Music” won first price in the composition competition in which is was earlier announced as a top 3 contender.
During a very rainy open-air performance, the three finalist works were performed by the Ricciotti Ensemble, amongst other pieces, in the Openlucht Theater Hertme in front of a compact audience due to the COVID-19 regulations. The performance was broadcasted live to a livestream. The registration can be found here.
Let’s work together. Let’s inspire each other. Let’s create something.