Dutch contemporary urban artist Mr. Upside uses vibrant colours and bold patterns, as a visual language of happiness and joy. His art reflects his optimistic faith in the world. We have conducted an interview with him.
What inspires you to do positive art and the use of vivid colors and bold patterns?
Art is often percieved as ‘’difficult’ and pretentious. Many art is about suffering. About fear, loss and other negative issues. And although beauty can be found in dark places, I feel art has the responsibility to tell a positive story more often. Besides, art is far too often placed on a pedestal. Art should not be something to look up to. It should not be difficult. It should be funny, positive, happy and joyful. Positive energy makes the world a better place. Like many people, I hope to contribute to a better world. By making something that stimulates the imagination and makes a rainy day just a little bit more sunnier.
How do you attempt to bring happiness and a positive vibe into your work?
My early works are more figurative and extremely colorful. I recently discovered that a positive vibe for me can also be transmitted by more abstract shapes. Shapes that stimulate the imagination of the viewer. I remember me drawing as a kid made me lose track of time. Anything was possible. By using bold, drawn lines which can be interpreted differently every time you look at them, I try to take the viewer into a more happier, more reflective and meditative state.
What is in non-conformist skateboarding and the graffiti scene that captures you?
While I understand that rules are needed (I am not an true anarchist), I believe that rules are often misused to suppress and control. Skateboarding, for me, is about freedom, playfullness and not to many rules. Rules often make things too complicated. Skateboarding uses simple tools, outside. For me it inspires me to live a more simple life. The same goes for graffiti, although graffiti is also associated with vandalism. Graffiti brings colorful art to the people and is unpretentious.
Your artworks are being made without any preliminary sketches or preparation. What do you think is important during the execution of your creations?
I grew up as a rationalist. As someone who thinks rather than feels. I still like to solve puzzles. I still find science and technology extremely fascinating. But as I get older (I'm 41 now), I more and more tend to see the value of a more sensitive approach. Because your mind can be deceived but not your gut feeling.
Therefor with my art I try to rationally create the circumstances (good vibes in the room) to let my creativity run freely. As soon as I grab the brush and start painting, the inner chatter turns silent and my feeling takes over. And I know from experience that as soon as I am positive on the outcomes of my painting, people tend to pick that up. It almost looks like the positive vibe I had when I painted is somehow stored in the painting. Waiting to be released by a viewer who connects with the art.
What is the most inspiring place in your opinion?
Inspiration can be found anywhere. It is not a place that inspires, it’s your mind that does the trick. It all comes down to a relaxed, open and receiving mind. My studio is just a workplace. Needed for ideas to be put into action. Ideas without execution are essentially nothing. So I use various ways to save my ideas. I often write them down in an app on my phone, sometimes with an image attached. As soon as I notice my head is full with too much thinking rationally, I seek as much visual stimulus as possible on creative online and printed magazines. But also by watching music video’s on tv. It doesn’t matter as long as your mind is free of worrying and in a positive state.
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