Mash Up

By Moltzer & De Kok

Mash Up is the result of a collaboration between code artist Elout the Kok and fine artist Narouz Moltzer. Zart brought the artists together as an experiment in the Mash Up project.The one-time-duo seems an odd couple at first sight. Whereas De Kok with his (often moving) work focuses on virtual space, Moltzer creates monumental works on canvas. Moltzer, apart from his ever growing presence on social media like instagram, does not have much to do with the digital field. However, what binds the artists is that both criticise society and its rules in their work.

Give a few thousand people a few simple rules, or in this case pixels, and you will immediately get a complete chaos, and funny patterns too, since each individual will apply the rules in his own way.

-Elout de Kok 2015-

Sampling Moltzer’s Big City

Elout the Kok interprets Moltzer’s Big City here. The print is literally a mash up of the original. De Kok sampled a part of the painting. He took various samples of interesting parts and tested a few existing software filters before he came up with the final result. To get the image that best expresses his feeling about Big City, he coded a new filter to get a soft and woolly effect.

New York

Moltzer makes what he calls: reaction art. He responds to what happens in his life and the world. Fans can follow him on instagram where he aims to post a painting a day (@narouzki). Big City is the interpretation of New York as Moltzer has experienced at that time. De Kok, in his turn, started working from the feeling that he had for this work. The monumental painting is full of contrasts: on the one hand reflects the somewhat dark and confined space that crowded city is. At the same time it is cheerful, colourful and one gets the feeling that anything can happen anytime because of the painting’s rich details. It is both static and dynamic.

New rules

In Mash up, De Kok rewrites the rules of the city jungle. De Kok softened the bright colors and turns the boxes of the origial painting into soft edged figures. De Kok translates the reality of the concrete jungle in a new friendlier one, by adjusting the rules; by modifying a sample of the Big City with a filter. Wouldn’t it be great if we could change the world tomorrow, by just writing a new filter?

More about the artists

You can see more examples of De Kok’s work on :

Follow Narouz Moltzer on Instagram : @narouzki
or check his website:

But… but… it’s not REAL !!!


David de Leeuw

David de Leeuw

I often use Photoshop to enhance my photographs. Nothing too spectacular – brighten up some parts of the picture, maybe sharpen a bit or remove some ugly details. This, of course, leads to a number of trolls critics who cry out: FAKE! We’re being CONNED! They insist a photograph must not be manipulated, ever.

Most who voice this opinion are blissfully unaware of the fact that quite a lot of the great photographers of the pre-digital era already manipulated the hell out of their pictures in their dark rooms. Strangely, no-one accuses a Jacob Olie or an Eva Besnyö of forgery. They are, and wisely so, evaded by the perhaps somewhat darkly motivated 21st-century comment crusader who strolls across the internet to expose “frauds” – thereby compensating their own lack of exposure.


Before & After: find the differences

And hey, what about Rembrandt or Van Gogh? Was it REAL what they did? Maybe artists should stick to copy-pasting reality? Or just photographers? God forbid they show us a world of magic that Is Not Real!

Another “It’s Not Real!!!”-cry emerges from folks who insist the puddles I often use to create reflection images are not real altogether. “There is no canal at Nieuwmarkt!” said one commentator after I posted a puddle picture taken at the aforementioned square. Apart from being obviously vision-impaired (a true reflection and a copied reflection are distinguishable) and unaware of perspective effects (a puddle up close often looks like a big lake) I think some people just lack a little faith. Or a life.

David de Leeuw

Artist Page > 



Copying is as Old as the Hills

In Zart’s series Thoughts about Print and Printmaking, we discuss topics based on questions raised by Zartians and Zartists. In our daily life a printmakers, we meet numerous people with ideas and questions. Hence, Zart started to publish a range of articles that will address matters such as copying, authenticity, and status of print in the art scene. Blogger Marceline Geelen gives her view on the matter of copy.

Copying is as Old as the Hills

By Marceline Geelen

Copying of art a dirty word? It’s as old as the hills! The famous Rembrandt van Rijn was so busy drinking, hitting on women and being The Man that he gathered students who could do his job, copying his style meticulously. All he had to do was put his signature at the bottom. Et voilà, a new Rembrandt was born.

What if you live in the mountains, but you love to paint seashores? You go on the Internet and choose a picture or painting – possibly originally made by a well renounced artist and now reproduced by you as if it were the original. Is the painting less beautiful after you copied it?

Good artists, bad artists
In 2014, BBC Culture highlighted an article titled ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’. Without context, this seems a pretty bold statement, but philosophically speaking, if you dig deeper into the matter, there’s much more than meets the eye. ‘Counterfeiters copy and conceal they are doing so’, is stated in the article. ‘Students copy, as artistic training. Assistants copy, as labor for more famous artists’ (hence Rembrandt, red). ‘But as Sturtevant shows, the border between original and copy, invention and plagiarism, is constantly up for negotiation’.

Authority and authorship
The thin line between art and copy has been a subject of debate for as long as remembered: ‘Sturtevant, who died earlier in 2014 at the age of 89, was faking Warhol and Lichtenstein and Johns – but she was faking the act of faking them too, using the techniques of a parodist  – or criminal forger – for much bolder ends. Philosophically sophisticated but not at all conceptual in execution, Sturtevant’s art actually hinges less on copying than on the big questions of authority, authorship, circulation and history’.

Installation by Elaine Sturtevant

Hyde Park, Serpentine Gallery — “Sex Dolls” (2011), art installation by Elaine Sturtevant. Image: Willard, Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Upper class
If art is only available to look at in a museum, or exclusively affordable for the upper class, what is the sense of it? Why aren’t we all so privileged that we can enjoy our favorite painting every day – above our own couch, in our own living room? Or at least a one-on-one print of it?

We’re positive that none of us will be less impressed by ‘only a print’ of our favorite picture. From experience, we know that we generally lavish our eyes every time again when we look at it, over and over discovering new aspects and details. Details we would never have figured out by just watching the piece of art for a few minutes in a museum or gallery before we head over to the next one. Just sayin’.


Likes, egos and freedom

By David de Leeuw
David de LeeuwI share I lot of my photography on facebook as well as elsewhere on the internet. Aside from (if I’m lucky) ego-boosting numbers of likes, comments are made and often a dialogue with the audience ensues. A ritualistic exercise in futility, I find.
Some examples:

1. ‘Mind the rule of thirds!’

A favourite among some of my followers. The rule of thirds means that the object of your photo should be at an intersection located somewhere else than smack in the middle. That would be more pleasing to the eye. Well, I disagree, even if the principle were true in general. I like a lot of my work, especially reflections, with a horizon SMACK in the middle. I work intuitively, learn as I go and make up my own rules. Reinventing the wheel perhaps, but definitely evolving my way instead of fearfully studying all possible rules and techniques, or maybe attending a boring, ‘let’s drain those sheep of all their money’- kind of photography school, before finally venturing out. Does this make my photographs less pleasing to the eye? A growing number of buyers don’t seem to think so. And neither, of course, do I.

Cyclist, David de Leeuw Amsterdam 2015

2. ‘Make it a square!’

I truly have no idea why people so vehemently propagate square photos. I like all sorts of formats. Broad often makes a dramatic impression, long vertical photographs can both minimise and, therefore, accentuate some tiny detail(s) at the bottom edge. And, most importantly, I DO rather than THINK. My photographs come into existence without much thought, but with just the eye, intuition and experience. That is the ‘story’ and ‘philosophy’ behind my work.

3. ‘You always photograph reflections in water!’

Yes! 🙂 I bloody well photograph what I like. That’s what’s being an artist is about. If you don’t like it, don’t try and make me do something you DO like – go look for artists who cater to your needs. I do what I want and the popularity of my work is a pleasant consequence to me, not a driving factor. I am not an art takeaway – what were you thinking?

Now, this is not to say that I am a very accomplished photographer. Remember, I just started three years ago. I can safely say, however, that a lot of comments originate from people who –when I take a look at their photos- almost never succeed in bringing magic into their work. One can sense they are stifled by convention and obsessed with technique and equipment. ‘I have just bought a so-and-so camera with a this-and-that lense!’ they clamour, and still the results remain the same – bleak and boring, boring and bleak.

My equipment has been, and will be for some time, a modest compact camera – the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5 and LX7. Suits me just fine and it’s all I need. I can carry it around and use it everywhere. Heck, I’ve seen people make fantastic shots with their mobile phones. Equipment is second to artistry. So, all you would-be critics: surpass me by your works, not words!

Two cities

Artist Page>


3 Common Misunderstandings About Print

As printmakers, we Zartists have to deal with a lot of old-school presumptions about the art of printmaking. The three most prevailing misconceptions regard its status as a ‘copy’, the notion ‘authenticity’ and its ‘value’. Hello art world! It is time to dust of ideas from before the turn of the century and start to rethink the status of print and printmaking. We will raise a few questions here rather than we can provide full answers. The three big But(t)s we often deal with are:

1.”But it ‘s a copy!”

False: it is a remake

To speak of copying is so last century. Copying is dead. Copying is something you do online when you grab a picture someone posted and add a comment to look smart. We prefer to speak of remakes. Why do we refuse to speak of copies? To start with, it is truly an art to make a good print. It is not exactly the case that you can put a painting under a photocopier and expect a good print. Of course a print is a remake of a work and concept that already existed, that can’t be denied. Zart recycles a concept of an existing work and transforms it into a new ‘product’. But you can hardly call it an exact copy. In the words of Zart photographer Bram Kloos: “ Making a print is an art in itself. It is quite difficult to make a photograph of a work and translate it into an exact same image. I do not see why anyone would think of a print as a lesser product. It is a different product. Of course, you are highly indebted to the creator of the original idea when you use a work as a basis, but the prints appear in a completely different form. The material is very different. I fail to see why that is something bad”. Zart couldn’t agree more.

2015 Zart 3 misunderstandings about print infographic

2.”But it has to be authentic!”

A Print is not the same as forgery

In art, buyers want a work to be authentic because being real defines the price and cultural value a work. Authenticity is not one thing. Most of the time people refer to the origin of authorship, though. Who made the work and how do you know it is not a forgery? Printmaking is often associated with forgery. Zart makes its prints in co-authorship with the artist who created a concept, an installation, a virtual work a graphic or a painting. Since we work with living artists we have the opportunity to request a certificate of authenticity. The certificate carries the original signature of the maker.  That way there can never be any misunderstandings about the origin of the works. The works appear in limited editions only. The prints are signed and numbered. What is not real about that? Let’s not confuse a print with a forgery please!

3.”But a print has no value …”

Time will tell

As no one can tell for sure which artist will be of ‘worth’ – money wise, buying art as an investment for your great grandchildren is not a good reason to purchase anything. As art pope Charles Saatchi states in an interview to a journalist of the Guardian when asked what artists will write history: “ General art books dated 2105 will be as brutal about editing the late 20th century as they are about almost all other centuries. Every artist other than Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd and Damien Hirst will be a footnote.” So if you are interested in art, you might as well choose a work that suits your taste and wallet. From this perspective, there is a lot to say for a print. Only time will tell who will be classic. In the meantime, Zart thinks it is best to let Zartians decide for themselves what artist is hot or not.

Call for entries

Bloggers pay attention

A million more things can be said about print and copying, value and authenticity. Do you agree? Do you think our line of argumentation is off the wall?? Are you a blogger or a writer who has something to say about print & printmaking on a slightly theoretical level? Do not hesitate to offer us your contribution! Send us your article. We will be happy to take your work into consideration for publication on our blog. Articles can be sent to .

Why Do We Multiply?

Everyone knows what a Platypus looks like, can envision the rings of Saturn, imagine a blue whale, ‘knows’ how lava flows, or even search for an X-ray scan of a Masai warrior’s chest. From the cradle to the grave we are bombed with visual input. With each image that rushes into our world our concept of the world grows. There is practically nothing we did not see before. Nothing we can not imagine. What can be known is shared. Even in real time. We obviously have a desire to pass on what we see and hear, a need for news, a passion to multiply.

Life is Sharing by A. Levine. shared by cogdogblog

Life is Sharing by A. Levine. Source: Flickr Creative Commons Licenced (BY-SA)

Sharing culture

It looks like the image has gained power over the written word with the rise of the internet. Where we used to read articles we now prefer an info graph. A good press picture is as powerful as a journalistic report. Why do we prefer images over text these days? One explanation is that an image is easier to share. It is more practical as a way of communicating with the world. When we see or hear something new we want to share this fact with our friends or who ever wants to listen. Visual information simply takes less processing time and is easily absorbed in the midst of the information overload. It is easier to digest. Thanks to modern distribution techniques sharing never was easier. An image can be multiplied by pressing a button.

Power to the image

The steady growth of the power of the image did not happen overnight. Visual culture experienced several revolutions. There seems to be a relation between the desire for news and the art of printing. More specific, we are referring to the art of multiplying. People set out by manually copying on a small-industrial scale. Then there was the invention of printmaking like engraving woodcuts, lithography, followed by working with rotary presses, photography, film and motion picture, television, the digital image, and finally the ubiquitous ability to create images and immediately share them with the whole world through the internet. Apart form all kind of psychological aspects, one of the main reasons we share our images with the world because we can. Because we have the techniques.

mage from page 14 of "A short history of the printing press and of the improvements in printing machinery from the time of Gutenberg up to the present day"

image from page 14 of “A short history of the printing press and of the improvements in printing machinery from the time of Gutenberg up to the present day”. Source: Flickr creative commons


In the past, let’s say in the Middle Ages, images were rare. A man knew the faces of his fellow villagers, the local landscape with its buildings and animals in it. The only variation on the images of the familiar surroundings formed the predictable change of the seasons. Maybe he saw a stained glass window in the local church, a painting or fresco, a pair of saints or a tapestry. New visual input was rare. News in general was an extraordinary thing. News usually came in the form of spoken word, storytelling, songs and gossip. Nowadays we consider visuals also as news.  Visually, news could be a new face to watch, perhaps a strange pair of trousers or unknown keel or cap to stare at, and stories from behind the horizon to listen to.

Hunger for news

One can imagine that the hunger for visual input due to lack of outside impulses led to intense studies of things and creatures that were available in the direct surroundings. The average person in the Middle Ages may have known in detail all trees, plants, animals and people in his habitat. Botanists and travellers drew in detail what they saw. Most imagery was religious or scientific by origin. It did not take long before popular images were reproduced by copyists in monasteries and studios. By hand. This changed radically with the invention of the printing press in the 14th century. Pamphlets, prints and illustrated books spread over Europe. With the books and illustrations a world of ideas also spread. Like in today’s FB updates, people wanted to share their view on the world.

So we share our images with the world because we have the technique. Thanks to modern distribution techniques sharing never was easier. The techniques are constantly renewed but the need to share news and things that surprise us or emotionally hit us, remains the same. Did anything really change?  

Joep Zijp

Joep Zijp

Every now and then Zart invites a guest writer to say something about art, printmaking, graphic design or photography. This week we are highly indebted by by Joep Zijp for his contribution. Joep whas journalist and editor  for several media and worked for publishing house Sanoma among others.

The Artist Who Followed Her Heart

Where does inspiration come from? Sometimes you just seem to get stuck. You have zero idea what you want to do next or you are sick of it all in general. Illustrator and textile designer Wietske Claessen knows all about it. While some only dream about changing their lives, she actually had the balls to do so. Wietske started out in fashion had a career most can only dream of. As a textile designer, she worked for several large brands until one day she decided to turn her back on the fashion world and to follow her heart. Thank God for that! Or should we say thank Pacha mama, the main source of inspiration for one of her most popular works, Mother of all Birds.

imageInspiration is not one thing. It often comes from 1001 things happening around you and then out of the blue, there is this little voice inside that says: “ hey that is it! That is what I want to draw!


Claessen’s works appear to be accessible at first sight. She draws funny and cute creatures that make her work seem dreamy. If you take a longer look at her creations you will see they are close to surrealistic and have a twist or undertone that is not easy to define. What you are looking at are highly personal documents made in a recognisable but not-easy-to-do style. To fully understand her work, you need to tune into her magical world.

Mother of all Birds

A personal document

Mother of all Birds is at the same time a highly personal document and a metaphysical statement. Here, Claessen intelligently weaves several layers of meaning together. Mother of all Birds is a work she made for mother’s day. How personal can a work get? The visual shows a Robin proudly showing his red breast. A Robin has many symbolic meanings but in this case, the bird symbolises fertility. “At the same time the Robin is in some cultures seen as a messenger of the spiritual world,” Claessen informs us.

Mother of all Birds by Wietske Claessen

Mother of all Birds by Wietske Claessen

A Metaphysical Statement

The Mother of all Birds is also a plea for more love and care in the world. “For me, this illustration stands for a “Mother” who takes care of us all. A mother who loves us equally by instinct. The instinct we were given by Mother Earth. She lets us ‘be’. She makes us grow into who we are and will become. She teaches us how to take care of others and the world we live in so we can all be a ‘Mother’ in our own way”.

Pacha Mama

Mother of all Birds reflects Claessen’s personal experiences and attitude to life. After she took the brave decision to give up her admirable career in fashion she started to travel. She moved a year to Peru and ‘met’ Pacha mama. Pacha mama is usually translated as Mother Earth, but a more literal translation would be “World Mother”. In Inca mythology, Pacha mama also was believed the Goddess of fertility and harvest. The Peruvian way of life and religious interpretations of what happens in the world is very different from what is believed in the Western Wold. Other cultures see the world in a different way. Claessen internalised some of these views and recycled them in her own style.

Drawing or to Lose a Sense of Reality

It is really quite amazing how Claessen finds the time to make such wonderful work. She runs a store in Maastricht, incidentally makes commission based illustrations. Illustration and finding inspiration sounds so easy. But what if you are so busy? Claessen admits it takes time. Before she reaches the boiling point where she actually starts to illustrate, she has done a lot of research. Ok, in her own way. Wietske: “How do I transfer the mental image to the paper?”… I will find myself frantically going through all kind of books while cutting and pasting images together in my head. …Or it happens that when I watch a movie and unconsciously get touched by a range of colours or its visuals in such a way that it leads to the next illustration. Somehow you internalise what you experience. Yes, a lot goes through my mind before I get to the actual illustration. But once I get into drawing, I lose all sense of reality and go mind travelling … I literally dissolve in my work”.

To Artist Page >

The Artist in Residence

2015 narouz moltzer, Interpretations of Van Gogh

From the first week of June 2015 onwards Zartist Narouz Moltzer is artist in residence at the Van Gogh House in Zundert where he will work on a series of portraits of Vincent van Gogh. Zundert is the birth place of Vincent van Gogh – there he spent the first years of his life. Moltzer is best known as a painter and for his abstract portraits. By way of experiment, he painted a few portraits of Vincent van Gogh and got selected for the Artist in Residency project. 1+1=2, You see.

2015 narouz moltzer, Interpretations of Van Gogh

2015 narouz moltzer, Interpretations of Van Gogh

125 Portraits of Vincent van Gogh

During his stay on holy ground, Moltzer will try to finish a series of 125 portraits of Van Gogh during his four week-residency. At least that is the plan. Spokesman of the Van Gogh House, Ron Dirven, says he selected Moltzer for the following reason: “Narouz had been working on a few portraits of Vincent van Gogh already. The Van Gogh House wanted to give him the opportunity to expand on his works and make a series”. Zart thinks that is lovely.

In the spirit of Van Gogh

Narouz will be staying in the atelier with accommodation on the top floor. The restored verger’s house from Van Gogh’s period is just a stone’s throw from the Vincent van Gogh House. A gallery has been established in this annexe. Next to this is a new guest studio housing a Van Gogh ‘Artist in Residence’. Artists from home and abroad are invited to work here for a period of time in Van Gogh’s genre. “The goal of the artist in residency programme is to inspire contemporary artists who come to stay to make something in the spirit of Van Gogh. The purpose is to motivate the to artist in residence to create something different than they do at home”, Dirven says informing us on the project.

It’s not easy to be an ‘Artist in Resident’

What does it feel like to work on the very grounds where the great master Vincent van Gogh was born? Zart briefly spoke with Narouz to hear how he’s doing in Zundert. Moltzer says he has done a lot of work, the people are super friendly but he starts to miss home. He has done 50 to 55 works now, thats seems to be on schedule with two weeks left. In contrast to what you would expect, it does not feel like being on holy ground to Moltzer. This partly has to do with the modernisations of the guest house and partly with the new experience of being Artist in Residence.

uest Studio Van Gogh House

Guest Studio Van Gogh House

Home is where the heart is

When asked whether he rather works as an artist in residence or at home Moltzer frankly answers: “ Home!!! Unless I could be alone all of the time. And if I knew it was like this, i would have organised things better at home so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. I would have brought more stuff for example. Now I had to travel up and down a few times. It’s the first time I experience an Artist in Residency like this”, Moltzer continues.

Mixed feelings but very special

Moltzer was greatly honoured to be invited for the project the last time Zart saw him. Is it what he expected? “ It is a bit different than I thought”, he says. “It is a wonderful experience though. I have been looking forward to it. When I wake up and open my window, I look out over the yard that harbors the grave of Vincent’s’ brother, who died in childhood. And I live next to church where his dad used to preach. That makes it all very special to be here.” Moltzer is not sure (yet) how this Artist in Residency project has influenced him. He is only halfway after all.“ I don’t think I changed the way I work”, he tells us. “On the other hand, probably because the atelier is so light and the beautiful surroundings, I have refreshed my colours”.

What the H*** is this?

The Artist in Residency and the Van Gogh House itself draw many visitors. Moltzer indicates that is the most difficult part for him. It is great to have an exhibition but less great to BE the exhibition, so he experienced. “All day long there are these groups of people passing by”, Moltzer tells.“Behind those glass windows, I feel like a fish in a bowl. I am there right in front of their camera’s. I wonder all time : “what the H** is this? Can you imagine? That is a thing I can’t get over somehow”.

2015 narouz moltzer, Interpretations of Van Gogh

2015 narouz moltzer, Interpretations of Van Gogh

Future exhibition and symposium

As all of you, Zart can’t wait to see the results of this project. The Van Gogh House plans a symposium and an exhibition of all works made during the cycle of Artist in residency projects. The dates are not fixed yet but you can follow news about events on their website:

On Saturday, the 26th of June, the Van Gogh house will present Moltzer’s work as a sneak preview.
Artist page >

How to make an abstract selfie

Are you ready to reinvent yourself? Rembrandt did it, Van Gogh did it and so can you! We have an irresistible solution. Instead of going around with a selfie stick to get the best angle for your profile picture. Instead of going to the hairdresser or making radical life choices like gambling away your house or cutting off an ear, you could try Clippr. Clippr is an online image distorter developed by Elout the Kok, owner of Pixel Lab. It is fun to try and gives you an abstract portrait for free. Get your own artistic selfie at Clippr. You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself.

Unfortunately, the mobile version of Clippr has some difficulties. You can see how the tool works, though. To create your own work you will have to get to you desktop or laptop to run it. Sorry, we are working on that! We hope you will enjoy it anyway.


Metamorphosis: Van Gogh and Rembrandt meet Clippr

Tutorial on Clippr

Not sure how it works? Read the tutorial.


To Artist Page>

The Accidental Artist

Incidentally, Zart invites artists to write a guest post. When asked to do something for Zart on art and photography, David de Leeuw is for once at a loss for words. This does not happen very often. David is a senior editor and journalist in the first place. He did not take his work as a photographer very seriously at first. Until the success of his recent photo series Reflections blew everyone, the artist included, away. As so many others before him, he is an accidental artist really. Read his story.

The Accidental ArtistDavid de Leeuw

By David de Leeuw

Writing a blog post? About art and photography? I really have no clue. Alright, I take pictures and Zart sells them and rents them out. That transforms my pastime into art all of a sudden. Not that you will hear me complain. Let’s proceed to tell you how I go about the business of making photos, shall I? And why I do it in the first place.

From Keyboard Mercenary to Photographer

It wasn’t until 2012 that I bought a camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 (compact) and started photographing for real. I was 47 then. Before that, I’d never taken pictures. I thought it was bollocks, really. ‘You can always remember where you’ve been, right?’, I thought. That turned out to be not quite the whole story 🙂 As a child, I already had a sense for moods and atmospheres, not only with people but also with environments like cities. I didn’t know what to do with that inner world of magic and fantasy. At 25, I’d already turned my writing talent into word prostitution. After a working day as a keyboard mercenary, I’m completely empty. Who knew a camera could come in handy as an instrument to express myself? I discovered that in 2011, when I started taking simple snapshots. That was fun! Likes on facebook! Hi, I’m David and I’m a facebook-likes-addict. People encouraged me to proceed and I switched to a real camera.

Mirror City

Mirror City


I’m steadily wising up as a photographer because I ‘have to’ venture out with my camera almost every day. EXPRESS YOURSELF! the expression animal keeps on urging me. So then I take a walk and see what happens. I love puddles. When I hold my camera just above it or even dip it in, lovely reflection photographs result. Why doesn’t everyone do it this way! Tourists and locals crowd the streets and look wearily upon the kneeling fatso taking pictures of water in the gutter. They don’t know, do they. Of course, reflection photos become a bit of a standard trick after a while but I LOVE IT! A recent discovery is the vertical panoramic picture, a great way to cut out a beautiful and relatively unspoilt image in ridiculously busy city centres with ugly cars and clothes everywhere. For the past half year or so, I’ve been using a photo editing programme which shows me all the colours in black and white and how to correct warped perspective so buildings appear straight again. Sharpening is a nice tool and highlights and what have you but you must be careful not to exaggerate, however, that can be good too at times and blah blah blah, look I’m already rambling.

Photography  as a Free Zone

Bike Star

Bike Star

In principle, everything I do is intuitive and through experience, a bit of craftsmanship creeps in. I don’t read manuals, it all comes naturally and that’s the way I’d like to keep it. I don’t do assignments, photography is my free zone. Of course, I have Great Examples, from Eva Besnyö and Jacob Olie to Pim Kops, a contemporary fellow Amsterdammer. All of them real artists. Am I one, or becoming one? Judge for yourself on Zart.

Artist page >

Ludy’s stories of cruelty and madness

Recent developments in e.g. the Middle East show, once again, that civilisation is nothing but a thin chrome layer that over time will peel and flake. One of our Zartians, Ludy, made a series of literary paintings based on old stories that suddenly seem very contemporary.  Her paintings remind us that cruelties and atrocities are not a new invention. “The Green Ionian islands on the West Coast of Greece are the place where I travel around a lot”, she writes us. Here she picked up many stories and recycled them into paintings. Ludy: “Some of these stories, describe such cruel behaviour that I felt a need to tell what happened in a series paintings”.

Portrait Inside, see below, is about an aristocrat’s daughter, who falls in love with a poor village boy. This enrages her family and especially her father who locks her up in a convent. But her lover does not give up and brings her a serenade. When the father hears about this he loses it completely and comes to a most horrific solution: he beheads the lover. Then keeps the poor girl locked up in the attic with the severed head of the man she hoped to marry. Short fuses they had”, Ludy tells. And if no one saved the girl, she must still be locked up somewhere.

Ludy-Portrait inside


Zart does not have the complete collection of Ludy’s work but showcases 4 pieces. Check her artist page to see more.

Ludy’s page >


Skyscraper, I love you

Skyline Tokyo Photographer: B.Bampbell, Source: Flickr

Skyline Tokyo Photographer: B.Bampbell, Source: Flickr

 Underworld’s Mmm, Skyscraper I love you could have been written for our Zartist Coen Pohl. Graphic designer Coen Pohl has a fascination for cities in general and skyscrapers in particular. Pohl’s works are graphic interpretations of big cities and massive buildings. The bigger the better. What is so interesting about urban landscapes? “ It intrigues me how people live there”, Pohl starts to explain. “ How life in the city is organised is far more interesting then nature for example. Seen from above, a city resembles an anthill.”

Pohl obsessively follows new developments on his favourite website, Pohl: “I spend a lot of time on that website. You can see all kind of building projects from all over the world. There is a section for every country. Members upload updates every day. You can see anything that happens on a construction site. From London to Shanghai.”

Don’t look down

Don't Look Down, Coen Pohl

Don’t Look Down, Coen Pohl

Don’t look down is the result of Pohl’s experiment with perspective. “I fancy heights with a wide view over a big city. And a good skyline. In Don’t look down, I wanted to combine height and skyline in one image. It is almost as if it has been made with a fish eye lens or as a panorama. I wanted to make people experience depth, the feeling you get when you are standing on a tower and look down onto the streets and buildings.

World’s tallest Skyscraper

Pohl’s favourite skyscraper construction site is The Kingstower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “The Saudi’s are building an incredible tower of more than a kilometre in height. Imagine that in the middle of the desert. Economically it is a bad idea to build skyscraper like this. There is no demand for such a project. But it is amazing to see what the human race is capable of. That it is possible”, Pohl tells with enthusiasm.

Pochemuchka design: collage art as integrated design

All things change and we change with them. This is the leading idea behind the collages for Zart by Esther Vreeland, aka Pochemuchka Design. Pochemuchka Design is best known for her collage art. Vreeland is not too fond of the label ‘artist’ but would rather be seen as a designer. Together with Zart she also started to produce what could be called integrated design concepts. Integrated design is a term borrowed from architecture referring to a collaborative designing method that requires multidisciplinary teamwork. From beginning to the end, all stakeholders are involved in the design process. Vreeland is a master in remixing all kind of elements into one total design. The product, formerly know as artwork, can be a large visual or a room. In the end, it is the juxtaposition of smaller design elements that tell a story, make up a collage.2014 zart esther vreeland

Catchy Sketchy Style
Is there a Pochemuchka style? ”I do not have one way of working”, Vreeland says,”although I do have to admit that I often use simple cut and paste techniques. I take cut outs from drawings. Somehow that feels a bit mysterious because you do not know in advance what story will come out in the end. What remains to see after the cut out process is just one isolated part of the original image. If you assemble all pieces into one new work, it resembles a sketch. Vreeland reaches a sketchy effect or ‘look and feel’ if you want, by adding (hand) drawn elements to the collage”.

Visual dj-ing
Vreeland’s collages work might best be seen as a remix of little stories. Like a DJ mixes records into new tunes, Vreeland mixes visuals. She singles out a story line, cuts it up and remixes it into a new form, a new scene. Being born and raised in Amsterdam Vreeland saw some big transformations. The process of change is one of growth and decay, of construction and deconstruction. Vreeland:”I was born in the Runstraat. One of the Nine Streets and have seen the city transform. When I used to live there, it was a working-class street. There were a grocery and a druggist and we had the milkman downstairs. Many people still used coals. Now the Runstraat is one of the Nine Streets. The grocery is is some posh beauty parlor. Everything has changed, of course. If you look at our constant changing world as a story, it becomes a tale of continuously constructing and deconstructing all kind of things. Many things happen all the time and these events leave their traces.”
elevation montage 1 imgur_Collage
Vreeland picks up traces everywhere. Elevation Montage is full of such traces. “Sometimes I peek through a window and I wonder what is happening inside” Vreeland starts to explain the origins of this work. “And so many things happen. Behind every door and window a story unfolds. There is a scene everywhere. A city is a place of coming and going of people. It has a history of many things happening. Now and in the past. I used to live I a house where someone hanged himself. One of my friends was scared to come and see me there because of what happened. I felt that was nonsense because good and bad things have happened everywhere all the time, for centuries”.

DIY adventures
“Every window tells a story. I wanted to breathe life into all the little houses, so there would be a small face everywhere”, Vreeland continues. Since one can’t go around and take pictures of people in their homes, Vreeland just looks for pictures on the internet that somehow grab her attention. “Like this man’s letter” she says while she points at the small image in the top left corner of Elevation montage. “Who is that man? You can look at it and make up a story. This gives me a feeling of adventure and traveling without GPS. As if anything can happen. If you would place all the small images in another context, you will get a completely different story ”.

A Panorama for the Zuiderbad
To Vreeland collage is the art of remixing daily life. Because there is so much choice –take a look out of the window- it is difficult to limit oneself. It is not a secret Vreeland prefers to make commissioned work.“I like a clear starting point”, she tells. In the image below is a work specially made for the Zuiderbad, the swimming pool situated next to the Museumplein. In it you can see how images and important places like the Rijksmuseum and the fire brigade, images from the past and present relevant context collide into an enormous panorama of 60x 1.80.
Zuiderbad Original kleineri]
Red bricks and tourists
“The only guiding principle for creating this panorama, was the client’s idea about what should be in the image. The Zuiderbad wanted a large visual of the front of the building. So that is where I started. In front of the building”. Vreeland worked together with illustrator Steve Dumayne. “I usually work with preliminary study. Steve had the idea to go to the Museum square and to take pictures of things that happen on the square and the general surrounding”, Vreeland says about the working process. “
referentie - kopie
The Zuiderbad lies in one of the most touristic areas of Amsterdam so we had to get some tourist in, that was inevitable. But the old gangster car happened to be there as well”. When Vreeland and Dumayne started with their mood board, the first thing that jumped to the eye was the colour red. “If you sit down in the area you will see that all buildings are built with the same type of red stones”, Vreeland continues. On the corner is the fire brigade with its red cars as well. The red bricks form the unifying factor in the panorama”. Historical context “In our first draft”, Vreeland says, “we added some traces of history and superheroes to stress the importance of the surrounding buildings. The building on the right used to be the Velox cycling school. This is where people used to learn how to cycle. Now it is called the Veiligheidsgebouw, the House for Safety and Security”. In our first sketch, I put superheroes behind the windows to reach a sort of vigilante effect. This idea was rejected, unfortunately. So I replaced the superheroes for figures from Rembrandt’s Nachtwacht and this way kept the spirit of the Veiligheidsgebouw and at the same time linked it to the Rijksmuseum.”

Book us
You can book us for redesigning your place, hotel, lobby reception or a custom made large visual
through the contact form. See work by Pochemuchka design

Schermafbeelding 2014-11-06 om 12_Fotor_Collage

‘I am my own Model’

‘I am my own model’ (Sim 2014). A simple and complex sentence at the same time. In the works you see here, Round and Round and Circles, fine artist and illustrator Sim used a camera with a self-timer and some large screens as a starting point to get the work going. Very refreshing is that you are not looking at a regular selfie. Neither are the works made as a comment on body politics. There are also no hidden feminist statements about the search for a female visual language. Sim uses images of herself for no other than practical reasons.


2015 Close up Sim I am my own modelSim:”I have been searching for models for a very long time. Either they have limited time or they are too expensive. So I decided to be my own model. “In the beginning I had to get used to the idea of seeing myself as an image”, Sim admits. “I had to get over the feeling to start correcting things about myself. At the same time it felt comfortable to paint myself, Sim tells. “How can painting your own contours feel strange? I do not look at all kinds of imperfections I could find but focus on form and posture”.