Artist In The World
Curaçao, February 5, 2014.
His tour around the world started by accident. André Smits was working on an photographic project when it struck him: “This is it. This will take me through the entire world of art.”
In 2008 André Smits received a commission from ‘Kunst & Complex’ in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to portray artists of various disciplines in their studio. He photographed the artists seen from the back, allowing the viewer to see what they were looking at, in their own work space.
Artist In The World
Originally André was working on a project called DREDD/339 for which he wanted to produce 339 paintings, starting with number 339 and working back to number 1. Number 1 would be the completion of the series and this project was meant to last him for the rest of his life, for he had calculated that he would finish the last painting at the age of 80. But unexpectedly, an other project took over and number 299 turned out to be his last painting. All paintings he made for DREDD/339 can be viewed on his website.
He stopped because he was also working on another project that was claiming him more and more. Somehow the commission from Kunst & Complex, photographing artists from the back, hadn’t finished with the assignment. Other request came in from artists and André himself enjoyed the visits the his colleagues’ studio’s, and the insights it gave him. He decided to make it an artistic project and called it Artist In The World. Not only would he portray his fellow artist in the Netherlands, but he wanted to visit his colleagues in other countries as well. When at a certain moment he realized that he was in fact only working on this project he decided to officially tackle it full time. On December 31st 2013, he quite his job to fully devote himself to Artist In The World.
First stop: Curaçao
His first stop was Curaçao, where he arrived on January 2, 2014. His decision to visit Curaçao was made through contact with fellow artists Roberto Tjon-A-Meeuw, Jan Henderikse and Maya Wildevuur.
During his 5 week stay he visited as many artist studio’s as possible and also portrayed the gallery owners of the three leading galleries in their work space. After leaving Curaçao on February 2, 2014 his first stop is Rotterdam, to attend the art week. Following that 2014 will take him to Gouda, Beijing, Dresden and New York to continue his work on Artist In The World.
On Sunday, January 24th, 2014 André organized a one time exhibition of all photographs taken in Curaçao, at Gallery Alma Blou, owned by Lusette Verboom-Fairbairn. On the outside wall of the Gallery he made a mural of his Curaçao agenda, in black and white. André Smits notes down his appointments on a piece of paper that he carries with him. At the end of each week this paper is filled with names, telephone numbers, addresses, notes and drawings. In the same technique he has painted the inside of his house in the Netherlands. Literally all the walls are painted black and white, filled with notes of his life. These paintings, or Tattoo’s, have become his trademark. Whenever possible he leaves this mark at places he visits. Dutch television AVRO’s Kunstuur is planning a special broadcast on his house in 2014. A radio broadcast by VPRO’s De Avonden took place on December 23, 2011.
Artist In The world is not only meant to portray artists in their studio. André Smits’ project is also an attempt to give an overview of the art world and document what is happening in contemporary art in this period of time. His work can be followed through his website and Facebookpage.
Some of the Artist Studio’s visited by André Smits in Curaçao
Ailsa Anastatia, David Bade, Herman van Bergen, Carlos Blaaker, Hortence Brouwn, Avantia Damberg, Astrid van Dorp, Joanne den Dulk, Marcel van Duijneveldt, Rien te Hennepe, Ria Houwen, Serena Israel, Yubi Kirindongo, Midzy Longuevergne, Tirzo Martha, René Metsch, Bert Nienhuis, Anna Oltheten, Philip Rademaker, John Rigot, Angel Luis de la Rosa, Felix de Rooy, Nena Sanchez, Evelien Sipkes, Marlies Schoenmakers, Norva Sling, Omar Sling, Ellen Spijkstra, Roberto Tjong-A-Meeuw, Giovani Zanolino, Philippe Zanolino.