THE NETHERLANDS & TEXAS join forces for a new art show in New York! Could you find greater opposites? How about
Brooklynite Gallery is pairing Collin Van Der Sluijs, a Dutchman from the Netherlands, with Derek Shumate from Houston for Saturday’s “Stealth: Above the Radar” show, and these two share one thing in the eyes of the gallery.“We strongly felt that these two emerging artists deserved a bigger stage to showcase their exceptional talent,” says Rae McGrath of the Bed Stuy venue. Enough said.
BSA had an opportunity to talk to both artists, see some of the new work that will be shown, and find out more about them.
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Brooklyn Street Art: How would you describe your style of painting?
Collin Van Der Sluijs: Most of the time I’m working on paintings about my life, so for me it’s autobiographical work that I make. I take little aspects (or big ones) from my daily life, and I translate them into my images.
Derek Shumate: My style? Usually I tell people “Mixed-Medium” or “Abstract” but I feel as if it’s much more than that. At times I feel like we’re all going through similar experiences, facing dire straits and that this artwork pouring out is a result of this energy. We’re all bombarded with information on a daily basis and multi-tasking to survive in this confusing world that seems to be speeding off the rails.
Brooklyn Street Art: Both of you guys’ work contain many different elements, ranging from figures to textures to shapes and text. Can you talk about how you assemble your work, or how you decide on what is included?
Collin Van Der Sluijs: Basically, some elements appear in my work during the process of making it. Sometimes I also erase things when they don’t match with the things that are happening in my head.
Derek Shumate: I don’t really have a defined process. Basically I’m always gathering bits and particles of things I like that come through my life and I spend vast amounts of time filtering it out into what you see. A lot of the elements in my larger paintings are fragments of prints and other works I’ve done in the past. I’ll also mix in stuff from my childhood sketchbooks.
It really depends on the mood of the piece. I start by putting down a few layers of colors and take it from there. Once I grasp a concept I start to hide little relevant elements as I build up the piece to something that works for me compositionally. Regardless, every piece contains various mediums such as inks, oils and acrylics. It’s almost as if I’m just attempting to harmonize everything I’ve got onto the surface at hand.
Brooklyn Street Art: Collin, you have talked about consumer behavior and it’s affect on your work. How does it impact your work?
Collin Van Der Sluijs: I grew up in a small village and it’s still fun to see big cities. I travel a lot but it always surprises me when there is a 70% off sale sign in the window of a big shopping mall and I see everybody lines up like sheep. You know what I mean? I think about this and its’ visual communication. I like it and hate it at the same time. I think of these kind of things when I work.
Brooklyn Street Art: Derek, you use a lot of collaged pieces and textures and the occasional figure. Do you ever think of doing portraiture?
Derek Shumate: Sometimes. I’ve had ideas to do a series of different people like politicians, pop icons and other people of influence. I feel as if I’m heading more in that direction because there’s so much going on in the world right now and I want to put these people that are in charge into a new light, so-to-speak. You’ll probably see more portraiture from me in the future.
Brooklyn Street Art: Does Street Art influence you in any way Collin?
Collin Van Der Sluijs: Well, not really to be honest, I’m basically a studio artist. In 1999 and 2000 street art was big in my town, but a lot of people put like 3 stickers up somewhere and build a reputation out of that. That’s lame. There are some people I admire in the street art scene, but I think I can count them on my ten fingers.
Brooklyn Street Art: How about you Derek, does Street Art play a part in your creative life at all?
Derek Shumate: Most Definitely. The streets of Brooklyn to be specific.
I lived in New York for a few years and I would walk the streets on a daily basis, absorbing not only the art but also the weathered architecture and other surfaces.
I’d document and participate in the organic, collaborative atmosphere we were all creating.
I felt at home with creativity and potential everywhere I’d look. I’d never before interacted with my environment in such a way. I’ve got photo collections of all the street art and graffiti I admire from different cities I’ve visited over the years. However, nothing that I’ve found has the charm that exists in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Street Art: Collin, what’s your favorite part of the creative experience?
Collin Van Der Sluijs: When things go wrong. Then, with a little adjustment I can make it good again, or better. Small things like that put the strawberry on the cake, for me.
Brooklyn Street Art: Collin says he likes when things go wrong! Derek, what’s your favorite part of the creative experience?
Derek Shumate: Finishing the piece! Well, not really. That’s a great feeling but of all the other parts I’d have to choose that moment where I’m completely lost in the piece and absolutely nothing else in the world matters. I’m sure anyone who creates is familiar with this amazing feeling.
But like Collin, I also like it when you totally f*ck something up but then later you realize it was the most perfect mistake that could have ever happened because it leads you in directions you never thought you’d venture to and takes your skills and pieces to new heights.
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Thanks to filmmaker Charles Le Brigand, who got special access to the artists as they prepare for their upcoming show at Brooklynite Gallery.