Interview with Maurice Van Tilburg - Glimne
Maurice Van Tilburg - Glimne | Netherlands
The Decomplexify concept is like many of Maurice van Tilburg-Glimne's concepts part of his personal learning; his meaningful journey. The conceptual reflections are useful to deal with challenges in his role as a senior manager in the financial services industry. This concept is about bridging the gap between 1) knowing our life, business and challenges require in depth know-how and 2) current social context has short attention span and only absorbs simple key messages. Starting from a wonderment about the way society works, how it elects its heroes, he investigates drivers and patterns in himself and in research. Themes linked to Heidegger about structuring our lives and at the same time removing our reflective capabilities, theories on complex expression as well as the 'group psychology' all influencing the way we deal with the vast increase of communication in our lives. The art works are materialised thoughts of the artist in discussion with himself, using literature and research as means of reflection.
Contemporary Art Station: Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
It all started when I was a boy of 5 years old. I loved drawing, could isolate myself and just draw for hours, and wouldn’t hear my mother when she would call us for dinner.
All through my youth I continued, spending hours and hours drawing birds and other animals, portraits and also caricatures of my teachers.
I didn’t appreciate modern art as it was not clear to me whether here artists had any skills, and what they were trying to do.
Turnaround came around age 15 when I saw a Cobra exhibition with my parents, where I was fascinated by one painting of Pierre Alechinsky...it was abstract yet it touched me. And it made me start exploring modern art.
I continued experimenting, until I was around 27. At that time I worked with an art teacher outside my day job to further enhance my skills and concepts. And I discovered parallels between theories around inspiration and what I learned as a manager around leadership. Since then these two are connected.
CAS: What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece? Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?
It starts with areas where I feel frustration or a lack of being effective. This can be at work or in personal life. I see this frustration as a sign of running into my limitations. Basically it tells me that there is something important that I am not mastering, and therefore a learning opportunity.
I start exploring the subject, reading research and philosophical books while continuously reflecting.
Once I have found what it is that I need to improve I turn this into a new concept.
The Decomplexify concept is about myself, often understanding the depth and details of things, but facing a challenge to convey the key concepts. Mainly because the audience has a short attention span and just wants to hear the key messages. His is a sign of our time, where challenges get more complex, yet patience and willingness to understand he details is disappearing.
So this concept I make paintings in a way that forces me to be bold in my lines, simple in the composition and expressive in its colors.
CAS: What do you love most about your creative process?
He actual painting or drawing or creation. This always gives me energy, allows me to push out everyday stress and find peace. I need to create, that’s what it feels like.
CAS: What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?
Personally I feel that he artist primarily reflects on who he or she is, and what his or her meaningful journey should be. In order to do so, you peel off your layers, digging deeper and deeper in your own behaviors, patterns and values.
The value for society is that artists have learned how they are shaped through society, and can provide a mirror to society on what is really going on.
As an example, my concept about Decomplexify started as a personal challenge, but as many other concepts provides a mirror to society; how will we bridge the gap between superficial populism and finding complex solutions that need detailed plans and commitment.
CAS: Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.
Pierre Alechinsky, for the influence he had on my 15 year old self.
Frederik Beerbaum, artist and highly educated philosopher and symbol expert, that was generous enough to be my mentor.
Picasso, no just because I like his paintings. He would work on a new concept each time. When he came to mastering the concept, and when his gallery would request more of the same paintings, he would switch to a new concept. Galleries love it when they can define your art, and deviations are not always welcomed. As an artist I recognize this, and when switching each time to a new concept I tell myself that all these concepts are each like a river, and they will all end up into the same sea.
CAS: What is the best advice you received as an artist?
It was at a time where I was struggling on whether I was a real artist. Should I be able to paint a masterpiece to call myself an artist.
My mentor at the time Helen van der Deen, asked me to make a canvas and make multiple portraits of myself using different techniques.
I made some 5 portraits and when she came back she asked ‘which portrait is the real Maurice’.
I didn’t have to think twice, it was the one where I made my portrait in a few lines. That was the real me.
After that I was more at ease and tried to stay close to my style and I let go of the ambition to become a second Vermeer.
CAS: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
One of the most important moments was when I was approach for a commission piece by a collector. He had asked several famous artists to work with parchment. He had seen some of my work and was fascinated.
This drove me to more deeply understand how the topic related to me personally and I developed a concept called ‘Hidden Sacrifice’.
I made two objects, think8ng he would buy one. But he wanted both. And later I was informed that an important art critic had deemed my objects as best in its series. And then I was also approached by a New York gallery...and a lot of exhibitions and projects were triggered by that.
So, yes, I am still grateful for this commission piece and to the mr and mrs Maas that gave me that amazing opportunity.
CAS: What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own?
Keep making the art that makes you feel energized, then build your skills and concepts.
Do marketing, but make sure you make art for yourself, not design for others.
Thank you Maurice!