The western edge of the city has been a construction site for years. First there was the rebuilding of the music palace, and now there’s the rebuilding of the train station, the Hoog Catharijne shopping center, the ring canal, and various other new buildings. In some cases, old structures are being torn down to make way for new ones, including the row of buildings along Van Sijpesteinkade.
At Van Sijpesteinkade 11, you will find the atelier of local artist L-Tuziasm. Sadly, with the imminent destruction of the street, L-Tuziasm is having to find a new studio. However, to have one final grand exhibit, he is inviting a variety of artists from Utrecht, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam to show their work in the final Mooie Plaatjes exhibition.
L-Tuziasm has been putting together these group exhibits since 2009, showing the work of better known artists, as well as emerging artists. The works vary in format, including painting, illustration, photography, graffiti and more. L-Tuziasm sees these group exhibits as harkening back to the salon de Paris style of the 18th and 19th centuries, but having a bit of an edge, allowing for a variety of traditional and modern art styles to come together. With so many art forms being shown side by side, in close proximity, they almost create their own new work of art in the process.
The final exhibition will be held Sunday, 30 March, from 12:00-19:00 at Van Sijpesteinkade 11. It’s a great opportunity to see some fantastic artwork from a variety of talented artists. As well as L-Tuziasm’s own work, there will be work by Annemiek Vera, Sasa Ostoja, Jan Willem Campmans, KBTR, Bram Boomgaardt, Janus van den Eijnden, Gino Hoiting, Lize Kraan, Arie Bremselaar, Tomas Sabatello, Franklin Plein, Sasja Bork, Ox Alien, and Kris van Veen. If you’re remotely close to Utrecht, it’s absolutely worth a visit.
So yeah, still in a bit of a funk and lacking the energy/enthusiasm to do the research for most blog post ideas I’ve had. Thus, it’s been pretty quiet around here other than easy wordless Wednesday posts. This post is really no different, just with a few more words. As it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post a couple of my favorite heart-related photos taken here in Utrecht.
And one that is appropriate to the Olympics, taken at the Keukenhof Flower Garden a few years ago. I am loving the success that the Netherlands is having at speed skating!
One of the many nice things about living in Utrecht is that when plywood walls go up during restoration or renovation of a property, they often become points of visual interest in their own right. Certainly, when some of the university buildings along the Drift were undergoing renovation last year, the decorations that went up made an eye-catching and fun graphic story.
This time, walls are going up in the area behind the new Vredenburg music palace, where the old Hoog Catharijne shopping center is going under massive renovations and reconstructions.
Edging the western side of the large square where the outdoor markets are held Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, this bit of urban art gets the kind of viewership numbers artists (and bloggers) dream about. After all, location, location, location!
Looking at each of the images and panels, there are some great characters and visuals to catch your imagination. One of the most famous is the red-hatted gnome on the far right. That’s Utrecht’s own KBTR (kabouter/gnome) who pops up in various spots around town for the past six or seven years. The rest of his out-of-this-world companions can be seen from right to left and represent a few other Utrecht symbols and institutions, such as the Nederland Film Festival and, of course, Nijntje. Any others you recognize?
Although technically street art is illegal, it has become an art form in itself, to the point that some people are now decorating their own buildings/homes intentionally in this urban art style. The building above is an example of this, I believe. It’s along the northern part of the Oudegracht, outside the city center, just north of the Weerdsluis. I’m pretty sure this building was decorated like this by choice, otherwise, there must have been an impressively large, speedy group doing this!
Of course, not all street art is commissioned, but that doesn’t stop some of it from being truly fantastic. While Banksy is probably the best known street artist these days, there are plenty of people doing thought-provoking and visually interesting pieces. AVRO, a Dutch public broadcasting group that puts a lot of focus on art and culture, is putting together a map of some of the great street art of the Netherlands. So far, only one piece from Utrecht seems to be on the list. Hopefully more will be added, though. I suppose I should send them some photos!
For the past six years, a strange red-hatted kabouter (gnome) has been popping up in spots around Utrecht. Rather than showing up in 3D form in gardens, he shows up, instead, on walls and other flat surfaces. KBTR (Kabouter) is Utrecht’s most famous graffiti artist and has even been compared to Keith Haring.
There’s a website “by and for KBTR enthusiasts” and now there’s a book that will be released on October 27. The book, which features 160 full-color pages depicting some of the many appearances of the kabouter around town, is available in a limited run of 1000 copies and is only sold through Revenge, a concept-store at Vredenburg. There will be a special presentation of the book at the store on the 27th, from 17:00-20:00. There’s more information, in Dutch, on the Holland Streetart Flickr group.
I first came across the kabouter at the Griftpark, although I can’t say if they’re all originals or imitations. Still, I’ve since noticed them in other spots around town and always enjoy seeing them.
This photo was taken a few weeks ago on a vividly sunny Sunday morning. I loved the slight curve of the street and the mix of older and newer houses of different sizes, colours, and styles. And it’s not a Dutch photo without lots of bikes! Cars are being phased out of the city center more and more, so the few that you see there are some of the few that remain. Although to be honest, I’ve got lots of photos — this one included — that would be so much nicer without the cars in the shot!
This is another Dutch urban scene taken last Saturday. We stopped at De Tafel Van 18 (pictured on the left) to try their cheesecake, since they were offering free samples that day. Very tasty, but I still crave a slice of the strawberry cheesecake that American Baking Company makes. On the plus side, ABC is going to be at the Veldzigt Bourgondia markt on Saturday (not far from Utrecht/Zeist) if you want to try their baked goods.
This is a pretty typical urban photo in the Netherlands. Lots of bikes, as well as awnings and umbrellas so that any shop that sells food can make the most of good weather and let their customers sit outdoors, and even a Chinese fast food place, Wok to Go.