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Roeland Kne (The Netherlands)

an artist’s statement

Fascinated by the life of 19th and early 20th century elite and the dedication to their appearance has inspired Roeland to create work which breaths the atmosphere of this period. Using friends, collegues and sometimes complete strangers to be a model in his work he manages to create a link between these different era’s. Typical for his paintings is that they are painted with a loose streak, with an eye for detail. He likes to paint people the way they would like to see themselves, with the right clothes and attitude. His use of color is also striking and he likes to emphasize the true character of the person. Born in 1978 in the Netherlands. Roeland graduated at the Royal Art academy in ‘s Hertogenbosch in 2004. Roeland has had several exhibitions in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, France, Poland and the USA

Roeland Kneepkens 1

Roeland Kneepkens

Peripheral ARTeries

Ernest 2013, 60x70cm from the The gentlemen’s cabinet series


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Roeland Kneepkens

an interview with

Roeland Kneepkens Hello Roeland, and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?

I live with the firm believe that the label ‘art’ is indeed determined by the beholder. As a kid i often went to the Rijksmuseum with my parents in Amsterdam. Every time when I saw a painting of Frans Hals or Rembrandt I wanted to paint to. The sheer joyment these painters had in the actual painting was so visible it inspires people to want to do the same even if they are 6 –years old. A good work of art can make people more creative, it might get them even a little bit closer to what they want. By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Since you are fascinated by the life of 19th and early 20th century elite, do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Contemporary art expresses the feelings, ideas and longings of present time. Given that the contemporary progresses with every tick of the clock I think contemporary art is also ever dynamic. However that may be, sometimes a radical reaction to a status quo causes the traditional and contemporary to feel like more separate and dichotomous than it actually is.

Roeland Kneepkens

training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

Coming from a family of artists, art formed a natural part of my upbringing. Indeed while growing up most of the time the conversations at home were about art. Eventually I studied one year of art teaching and four years of commercial presentation After which I was accepted at the Art academy.

Basically radical reactions to the conservative thinking of a society creates a division that is more easily perceptible than the continuance of techniques and styles over such a watershed. History shows that this process repeats itself over and over again. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have graduated about ten years ago at the Royal Art academy in Hertogenbosch. How has this experience impacted on the way you currenly produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal

I was, I thought I would learn how to draw and paint. Instead I learned how to present myself as an artistCassandra in contemporary society. I was broHanks 3

Roeland Kneepkens

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Aperitief, 150x100cm, from the The gentlemen’s cabinet series, 2013

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

ken down into little pieces so they could make a me a ‘true’ artist with no old-fashioned easy painting ideas. Most of them did not even know how to paint, and as a consequence most of the techniques were abandoned and lost. They said I had to find out the technical part myself. This raised a lot of anger and disappointment in me, but the experience also kindled my ambition to be able to paint, to learn technique and to follow my own aspirations and ideas. As such I basically trained myself. The academy may have stifled me at some point or slowed me down, but eventually it did make me more aware of what I wanted, and what made me feel good.

When I first started painting, I went straight for the canvas and ideas would evolve as I was painting. This resulted in changing the painting and completely repainting parts ever so often. The past two years or so, I focused more on a general idea before starting to paint. Nowadays, I construct the scene 4

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Roeland Kneepkens

Lafite Oil on canvas 100 x 70 cm from the The Gentlemen cabinet series, 2013 tell us something about the genesis of the project behind these pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

I want to paint and, more importantly, use models, usually friends and family, to act out the scene whilst using photography to capture moments, expressions and poses. After taking vast amounts of pictures I start looking for the best composition and start sketching. The sketching and scene preparation can take up to a month. After this I start painting, having prepared my canvasses before-hand mostly in a dark even colour. I want my paintings to be realistic but not too much and need the “loose” painting streak to make them come alive.

Aperitief and Lafite were part of an more ambitious plan I was brooding on for quite some time. I wanted to create larger scenes, involving more people not posing but interacting naturally. This evolved into the gentlemen’s cabinet series that started offCassandra with the painting HanksChampagne in 2012, and of which Aperitief and Lafite are also a part. My initial inspiration for Aperitief came from a scene in the movie Master and commander, in which the captain entertains his ship’s officers at the dinner table with a story of him meeting Admiral Nelson back when he was a young lad.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would like to start with Lafite and Aperitief that our readers can admire in these pages : would you 5

Roeland Kneepkens

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ned making this painting. It just happened after I saw him writing a letter which was indeed a very intense image. When I have an idea for a painting I only plan the rough idea, for I can never know or want to know how people will truly behave or react. This “unknown� part is what fascinates me most when making a painting. It’s the true joy, happiness, concentration or surprise you can see on faces. It is something you cannot really act. In some way I can reveal hidden sides, not because they are really hidden but because when they appear, they are gone in the blink of an eye and therefore often elude people. As you have remarked, your projects involves friends, collegues and sometimes complete strangers... I personally find absolutely fascinating collaborations that artists can estaKim Oil on canvas, 15.7 x 15.7 x 0.8

With that scene in mind I arranged the evening and it turned out to be a great success. As the evening progressed I formed and evolved more ideas for other paintings and I happily joined the scene and banter whilst sketching and photographing.

Kim Oil on canvas, 15.7 x 15.7 x 0.8

While the aforesaid pieces tell us of the social feature of life, or an intense state of happiness as Kim, a painting as Ernest, that I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours, communicates a deep, quiet meditation: I have been impressed with your skilful capability of communicating a wide variety of states of mind... Have you ever happened to discover something that you didn't previously plan and that you didn't even think about before? I'm sort of convinced that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal hidden sides of life and nature... what's you point?

Thank you very much for the compliments. For Ernest I painted a good friend of mine, who actually writes me letters once a week or so using good ink on high quality paper. I never really plan-

Fur coat and pearls, 2012

from the The Ladies cabinet series


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Roeland Kneepkens

Linger, 2012 Oil on canvas 60x80cm from the The Gentlemen cabinet series

Blish together: especially because they reveals a symbiosis between apparently different approaches to art, especially as concern whom I would define "non professional artists" as "ordinary people"... and I can't help without mention Peter Tabor who once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between several artists?


I found recently, especially when I started using more people in a scene, that communication is the key to creating a successful scene. As for the paintings discussed here I must say that I end up painting my story.

Another pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are from your Ladies series: in particular, I love the nuance of red that you have used in Lofty and especially in My ecstatically shocked girlfriend... Far from being the usual deep red that we should expect to see in a painting with such title, it's a thoughtful red...

That story is influenced by the world around me and I would lie if I said that communicating with artists influences the stories and ideas most. I find that discussing my ideas of images and stories with people of various professions and backgrounds, such as for instance historians, actors, communication technology salesmen and psychologists, results in more various and widely developed ideas that eventually influence the story I paint.

And what has mostly impres-sed me is that it is capable of establishing such a dialogue, a synergy with all the other tones, instead of a contrast...

Indeed I find that to create one has to observe and to tell a story one has to listen.

By the way, any comments on your choice of

Cassandra Hanks


Roeland Kneepkens

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My ecstatically shocked girlfriend!

"palette" and how it has changed over time?

Since I started the painting I fell in love with threecolours, Golden Baroque, Brilliant light yellow and Naples yellow. I have been using these three colours as a basis now for about 10 years. They sort of form the basic palette I use for every painting, together with umber and van Dijck brown for the shades and darker parts. Whilst using some different colours for expressions and warmth that make every painting unique, I love the way the colours I use as a basis create a unity between the different paintings.

A night at the bar Oil on canvas 39.4 x 59.1, 2012


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Roeland Kneepkens

Your works have been exhibited in several occasions: both in the Netherlands and in the USA, Belgium, France, Poland ... it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

Positive critique and awards are a great motivator to keep working. It is great to get recognition for your work and to know people love what you do and connect to you in a way. This is a positive influence I cannot deny. However, I think one of the hardest parts is trying to stay honest to yourself when getting feedback, be it positive or negative. If you have lots of success with a series of paintings but at a certain point in time it does not satisfy you anymore, you need the courage to change, even if that means losing fans and getting bad reviews. I find it immensely interesting to hear people’s thoughts about my paintings, especially because often their interpretations broaden my own view on my own work. As such I find it enlightening to hear peoples interpretations of my paintings for often they see stories in a painting that I never even dreamt up when I was painting it. Whilst working on a piece though, I try not to think too much about other people’s opinions. I’m telling my story then.

Champagne, Oil on canvas, 2012 from the The Gentlemen cabinet series

Cassandra Hanks 9

Roeland Kneepkens

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The Party, Oil on canvas, 31.5 x 23.6 x 0.8 inches

Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Roeland. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

The past year has been very kind to me. I got loads of positive reactions and opportunities, like going to the New York Art fair. For now I can reveal that I’m planning and working on a few new series of paintings and have to say that I do keep quite busy due to the people lining up, and pressing me, to be models. Besides that flattering occurrence, I take opportunities as they come along. An interview by

Conversation, oil on canvas, 23.6 x 15.7 x 0.8 inches


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