the next to participate in the gentlemen interviews
is wim heldens, a dutch painter from amsterdam endowed with heart + a truly prolific talent. i first discovered mr. heldens through an email and have since been after him for these interviews. his work has been housed in such galleries that include henoch gallery
, ganymede gallery, national portrait gallery
, stedelijk museum
, the open studio ps 122 among other private collections held in the netherlands, england + germany. the best way to introduce you to his work is for you to view his work. below are a few selected pieces that emotionally effect this blogmaster. my favorite selection is entitled 'saint jelle', i can't say why but this piece tugs at my heart. do enjoy the work of wim heldens. he is quite a discovery.introduction:
born in 1954. has an obsessive fascination with drawing from an early age. trains at barry's fitness centre [according to "paw's cave"
]. wears funderwear
. is listed among the professional artists
. his work is categorized as "modern realistic oil paintings" by the online art navigator and categorized as "contemporary psychological realism" by google.com.1. How did the picturesque journey begin for Wim Heldens the artist?
I don't remember when I started painting, but I must have been little, probably as soon as I was capable of holding a brush and had access to paint! I was always painting and drawing as a child. When I was a teenager, I experimented with every style in painting one can imagine. On my 17th birthday my parents gave me an oilpaint-kit ( on my request), that changed things dramatically!; now I became absolutely obsessed with painting! After 2 years of experiments with oil-paint, I discovered gradually that realism was my true love and great passion, and that is what I have been doing ever since!!!2. Does the love for your work leave room for a relationship?
I am in a relationship with a man who lives in another country, when we are together I don't paint and when I am alone again I do nothing but paint ( have painted him twice already). But if we would be living together, he wouldn't be in my way if I was working, he understands my drive, my love leaves room for painting... ;-)3. How should an up and coming artist handle world criticism?
An up and coming artist should put criticism aside most of all. Art comes from within, an artist should listen to his inner voice. The problem of the art-world nowadays, is that it is dominated by people who work professionally in the arts but are not artists ( curators, critics, artdealers, consultants etc.) but art, however, is still made by artists, not by the curator, critic etc.
Remember that a critic is someone who can't paint, he doesn't have the talent or the courage to be an artist himself ( because if he would have that talent he would be painting and not writing about it!) Time is the only real judge capable of deciding which art is really worthwhile!
There are many examples of artist who weren't appreciated by their contemporaries during their lifetime, but who's work , in the long run, proved to be of great importance for the history of art.4. What do you suggest an American gay couple do while visiting Amsterdam?
Visit the Gay Monument
, although I personally don't like the design of it, it's nevertheless absolutely unique!! It's the perfect place to celibrate and memorize our history.5. Which selection of your artworks has the most heartfelt or humorous story that you love to retell.
My painting "The Goatee" is probably the most touching to me. It's a portrait of my (adopted ) son in which I went through a very intense process of regaining his trust, after I had lost that by selling a painting I'd promised him, to an important museum collection.
It should be my luck that the first time in my career a museum wanted to buy a piece, they insisted on wanting just that painting I had promised my kid. I had to sell it to the museum though, such a thing is just too damn important for an artist's career. But my kid was only 15 and he couldn't fully understand how much this meant to me, he felt betrayed and I felt very very guilty.
"The Goatee" I painted for him, and this time I didn't promise him the painting but I gave it to him. We're "cool" now but it was a painful process!6. Educate me about art.
Oh boy!...........you would have to go look at paintings together with me, that is the only way in which I could "infect" you with some of my enthusiasm and passion.7. Educate me about love.
I wonder if that is possible. Maybe you'll just have to live your own life and have your own experiences to learn about love... isn't that what life is all about? I've made many stupid mistakes in my life, so who am I to educate you?
The only advice I can give is this: If you're in love with someone, make sure you still have your own life, don't sacrifice everything to be with your lover. Don't neglect your friends and keep doing the things you are interested in.
Relationships between people have a much better chance when a couple doesn't make emotional prisoners of each other, you are much more attractive to your partner in the long run anyway, if you still have your own life ( versus just being an appendix of him).8. Voice your opinion(s) on pop culture, politics and/or religion?
Let me start with religion;...I am highly suspicious about anything religious, I think that most world-religions are institutions of power. They use the same tool to control and oppress people; they take away what is so natural and essential for human beings; their sexuality! And then make them feel guilty about it. ( works all the time)
Buddhism is the only religion I can find sympathy for.
As for politics; I feel we have to learn from the past, many ideoligies from the 20st century have failed, nevertheless I want to believe in a better world for ALL people. The capitalist society with its shareholder-economy is a disaster, because it is only fueled by greed and it doesn't care about people or the world.
I think we need an enlightened free market system with a social face, we need to re-evaluate our political believes and systems,...non of them is working. Our cultural climate craves for something deeper, for something meaningful, for something with substance. Since the introduction of conceptual art, any fool who shits on the museum floor can call himself an artist.
Since the introduction of "reality-TV" any fool who has been on TV long enough is a celebrity.
There are no qualities required to be an artist or a celebrity. Modern art has become sheer madness, absolutely in-comprehensable for any normal person. Televison has become a platform for exploiting human values and emotion. Our culture knows no quality, it only seems to celebrate cheap and shallow shock-effects. But history always goes in waves... so it will change eventually.
9. What's the best thing about being 51 years old?
I am painting better than ever and I am getting a bit more successful after 30 years of struggle. This is a very exciting time in my life!
10. What could a 40 something guy do to romance a gentleman?
I cannot speak for other gentlemen, of course, but I can tell you what would I would appreciate ( If I wasn't "spoken for" already..:-)) My work is my passion, so I like it when a guy who's interested in me shows an interest in my work, seems obvious right? But you wouldn't believe how many times I've met guys who would express sexual interest in me, but would ignore my paintings! I can assure you; that is LETHAL!!!
In romance I like to have the feeling that I am the only one, number one on the list that has only me on it!! Even when that is an illusion in that moment, it's still a nice illusion! Many gay men feel the need to talk excessively about other sexual experiences they've had.... WHYHYHYHYHYHY?????? It is so un-romantic... is that supposed to make me feel special????
I like the whole package, I find that sex gets better when there are a whole lot of other things to share. It's a bit of a paradox; but when it's not only about sex, that is when the sex gets really good. And a sense of humor is absolutely essential, if I can't laugh with you I am going to get bored very soon.
any last words:
The best argument I've heard so far why gay people should be able to get legally married: We should have the full right to suffer like anyone else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!