During my studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy I felt that painting was a medium to explore before finishing art school. My fascination with painting grew after reading an article about the fact that people are unhappy nowadays because they demand too much of life. According to the article, people want to be smart, good looking, socially skilled, successful and more. The fact that this is not achievable and that it is normal to sometimes be scared, afraid, unhappy, sad, lonely or insecure seems sometimes to be forgotten.
Based on that idea I started working with that medium that gives me feelings of insecurity. The reason I feel insecure about painting is not only because I feel I am not skilled enough. Also because of the fact that it makes me feel insecure to invest time in a medium that often seems to be outdated in the conceptual art movements. Why should I invest time and energy in a medium that might not be the most relevant anymore? Why do I want to try to make a ‘sufficient’ out of an ‘insufficient’ when I could also invest my time in practices that are already sufficient? Gerhard Richter said in an interview:
“It is more interesting to be insecure. You should have a measure of uncertainty and perplexity. What’s happening? What am I doing? What can I do?”
Is it ‘easier’ to be insecure about a work when you know you have the right skills, or would that make your insecurity even bigger? When you are able to hide behind the sentence ‘But I can’t paint.’
After several exercises on painting without really mastering any skills I approached a professional and well-known painter who said yes to my proposal of a master-apprentice project. Several weeks I have studied painting techniques in his studio, trying to master the classical painting assignments.
This was interesting in regards to first of all the question of what happens with insecurity about technique when actually studying techniques, what if I try and I am still no good? Does my insecurity make it more interesting?
Secondly, the fact that I could graduate from the Rietveld Expanded-Painting department without actually knowing painting skills or techniques made me realize even more how I placed a bigger focus on ‘what are you saying’ (concept) rather than ‘How are you saying it? (techniques).
Therefore, talking about these painting studies with teachers at the Rietveld became an interesting aspect, as well as talking about conceptual art with an artist who focuses more on the medium of painting as a messenger.