Joep Egmond does some of the most colorfully-luscious, human work I’ve ever seen. His work is like dessert for your eyes. Take a look www.joepegmond.com. What goes on in the mind of someone who creates art like this? Read on and find out.
MICHAEL: Hello Joep, Your work is astounding. To me, it draws somewhat on Impressionism with a BIG, contemporary twist. The colors are so bold and vivid. How do you describe what you do?
JOEP: Hi Michael, My work is abstract, figurative, expressionistic and contemporary. That's what others have said to me. For me, it is just an intuitive journey through the world of human thoughts. The silhouettes I paint are always different and sometimes it looks like they are coming into my studio to play with me on the canvas. I use the bold colors to make some contrast and it doesn't matter what colors I use together. If my green is empty, I use blue. If a canvas is ready, I make a title and that's because I never know what to paint. I have no plan.
MICHAEL: And so, having no plan at the outset and painting mostly silhouettes would make some people think the work is de-humanized, but it's actually some of the most human work I've ever seen. Do you sing hymns while you're painting or something? LOL.
JOEP: I don't sing because can't sing. I always played the drums in the past. I paint with my stomach, my intestines. It's like intoxication. It stays there about three hours maximum and then I have to stop because of the heavy concentration. It's nice to see what you have painted afterwards. Please understand me, I use no drugs or anything like that. You see the results. It’s people I maybe have seen somewhere or shall see in the future. The only thing I do is to control the process by trying to make a good composition of these vibes.
MICHAEL: Your use of color seems to provide strong mood and emotion. What does color mean for you? Can you make these paintings work using just black and white?
JOEP: I don't think my works will reach my emotions without color. The last series I painted was called, "The Sense of People." Without colors, the paintings will get bored and will miss the goal I try to reach; deeper thoughts and recognition.
MICHAEL: I'm still wondering why you don't create faces and facial expressions. Does this simplify the work or make it breezier for viewers?
JOEP: If I should create the faces and facial expressions, the effect of the body language (the silhouette) and the soul (color) would disappear and the paintings would be too simple and bored after a short time. Now, without the faces, the viewers are still curious about who those creatures are and this keeps the viewers focused on the painting.
MICHAEL: Another way that you create emotion seems to be by blurring the boundaries between representation and abstraction. Is this also just from your gut?
JOEP: Yes, but my art education and personal touch make the paintings visible and more attractive, I think. I mean that the process of creation has to have some direction and cannot be intuitive only.
MICHAEL: How did you become an artist? Do you come from an artistic family? What are your first memories of art? When did you decide to make it a career?
JOEP: (I was) born into a artistic family between the guitars, my father had a guitar factory and built the first Egmond guitars for George Harrison, Paul Mc Cartney, Brain May, Keith Richards etc. in the 60's. It was the only possibility for me to become an artist. My first memories started when my father was painting with watercolors in our living room, my grandfather also...
MICHAEL: Tell me about your home Holland. I've never been there. Does it inspire you? Also, the Dutch may love old masters, like Rembrandt, but what about contemporary art? I try hard to get people to understand contemporary art, but it's not easy.
JOEP: Holland (the Netherlands) is my homeland, so I love it. The independence of Dutch artists makes them now, as in the past, very special, if they succeed. Holland is small with only 16 million inhabitants (like LA in your country), but you can find Dutch expatriates all over the world. We are in the process of integration as you were some 200 years ago. The problem of contemporary art is the moment of creation. It's new, sometimes too new for art investors. For art lovers there is always space for contemporary art; they are mostly younger. In our new world, contemporary art is accepted more and more. It's a pity we are in crisis now, so people only invest in paying back their debts and art is not the first thing you need in this life. It's extra.
MICHAEL: But don’t we need it! When do you paint? What is your daily routine? Do you need to paint for your life? What does art do for you?
JOEP: The problem with the creative process of painting is that I only have some three hours a day to paint well. Because I paint from my fantasies, it costs me a lot of mental power. I use a lot of time for my social media promotion and marketing. Today, it's easier to reach a lot of people via the internet. I don't paint for my life. I think it would kill me. Art is my passion and it’s the best thing that has happened to me. It's my second life.
MICHAEL: Finally Joep, Something just came to mind about your work. Your use of color and the way you present the human figures are very “hopeful.” You seem to believe in humanity and engagement. Do you think art can mean something more than mere expression? Can it have a social message?
JOEP: Yes, for sure! As a Chinese professor e-mailed to me, "Your choice of colors are warm and happy. How you put colors together is also unusual. I consider your paintings the highest art form, that which leads to discovering new ways of looking at the world. I just looked at your online gallery and really loved your use of color. It’s just amazing how you capture the sense of people without showing their faces." I think my paintings, because they are painted from my heart, have a message for people all over the world. That's why everybody must see them!
MICHAEL: Indeed. Thanks Joep. Love your work!
JOEP: Hope to see you somewhere on this planet!
Check out Joep’s cool work at www.joepegmond.com.