Salon de Paris With an L-Tuziasm Edge

L-Tuziasm AtelierThe 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.

L-Tuziasm AtelierAt 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.

Graffiti Tunnel in Utrecht … or Is It Berlin or New York

Graffititunnel WestpleinYesterday, in one of the distance photos of the mosque, you might have noticed a wall of graffiti in the foreground. That wall is actually part of a tunnel — a bike tunnel to be more specific — in the Westplein area. As I mentioned, that whole area is undergoing a lot of transformation and the tunnel is meant to be closed off as work on the Van Sijpesteijnkade moves forward.Graffititunnel WestpleinHowever, it seems that the GroenLinks political party (literally GreenLeft, to give you an idea) is arguing that the tunnel should remain in some form, specifically because of its graffiti. As councilman Pepijn Zwanenberg explained, “This tunnel is known for the graffiti made by Utrecht artists, including KBTR.It is a unique place in the city, where you feel like you are in Berlin or New York.”Graffititunnel WestpleinZwanenberg sees the tunnel as part of the cultural heritage of the neighborhood and doesn’t want it to be lost. Rather than have the tunnel closed off, he suggests turning it into a space for a temporary or permanent gallery, music or exhibition space. To find the best way of transforming the tunnel, GroenLinks is recommending the creation of a design contest to get people directly involved.Graffititunnel WestpleinGraffititunnel Westplein
Source: Graffititunnel Westplein behouden

Art Meets Construction in Utrecht

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.
Construction and Art
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?
KBTR VredenburgVredenbearsVredenburg KunstVredenijntjeVredenburg action shotvredenburg liftoff

Utrecht’s Urban Gnome

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.