Last week I had the unique opportunity to visit one of our featured artists in his own studio in the city centre of Amsterdam. I would like to present you one of accessART favourite artists – Michiel Folkers (https://www.accessart.co/artists/michiel-folkers)! Michiel is famous for his colourful works made out of posters he finds in the streets, and the choice of his “heroes” to be the centrepiece of his works.
How it all started
Michiel comes from a small town near Utrecht, The Netherlands, but he has been living in Amsterdam for around eight years now. It was not a sudden decision for Michiel to become an artist, more a succession of steps. Previously, Michiel has worked for an advertising agency where he had a creative job. Also, he has been doing graffiti all his life and from there he moved on to doing it on canvas. This evolved into his original style of paintings .
Michiel: “I am combining my art with DJ’ing which is a good combination, but I see DJ’ing as a hobby and in art is all my ambition. However, it’s always insecure, it’s difficult to survive as an artist. You never know what your income is going to be, but now I am selling worldwide. So things are going well.”
Michiel Folkers on Inspiration
When reading about an artist, and especially a painter, you always wonder, where does he acquire so much inspiration that he can’t leave it for himself and simply has to share it with the world? This was one of the questions I asked Michiel.
He said: “I have always had difficulty with the word “inspiration”.I think everything is inspirational for me. Of course I can mention some artists I admire, for example: Damien Hirst, Keith Haring, Parra, Rob Scholte, and many street artists from all over the world. What I do is a sort of the opposite to street art. I get things from the streets and put it in art works instead of putting art on the streets.”
About choosing the heroes
When Michiel is making portraits, he is trying to use popular heroes and anti-heroes. “The anti-heroes have been a problem: nobody wants to hang them in their houses!”. So, he switched to popular -“in a good way”- people.
“I always like to use images from the 60s. I am a big fan of Bob Dylan! Also, Sophia Loren (https://www.accessart.co/artists/michiel-folkers/paintings/sophia-loren) is very good looking and she is from the 60s.”
What is the art process?
Michiel is very honest about the efforts it takes him to do the work and the peculiarities of his technique: “The art is in tearing the posters. Tearing gives an original poster a totally different face.” The painting may have several layers of posters, acrylic spray paint and other materials.
And not everything goes smoothly all the time: “In the four paintings I make there is always one unfinished. One that I can throw away or repaint all over. Sometimes I work for an hour, but sometimes I work weeks on it”.
“The Art Is In Tearing The Posters”
About the art critique and being satisfied
“One always gets compliments, but almost never the critique” – Michiel stresses the point of receiving an objective professional opinion about his work. “Even when I try to look at the painting myself, I am not sure whether I still like it”
Being on the look out for new ways of expressing himself
What an artist is constantly doing is trying to find novelty. Michiel tells me he is exactly like that, rarely satisfied with the things achieved and searching the new: “When I invented this new style, I was really satisfied, but after a short while I want to make new stuff again and using different techniques.”
“When I invented this new style, I was really satisfied, but I want to make new stuff again”
Michiel Folkers’ biggest ambition as an artist
“I only want to do things in life that makes me happy, at this moment (and probably the rest of my life) it is making art!”