Born in Haarlem, the Dutch painter Bert Maurits has developed throughout the years a personal visual language where various influences of different esthetic directions are to be found, starting with the Expressionistic style and finishing with the Pop art. Since 1995, the artist has had several exhibitions in Holland and abroad and has been a member of the Artists’ Association of Haarlem – KZOD.

When did you first realize you are an artist?

The first time I realized I wanted to be an artist was when I was skipping school and visited on my own a museum in my hometown Haarlem. In this museum you can see a lot of paintings of Old Dutch masters including Frans Hals. When I saw his big group portraits I realized I wanted to achieve something like this, too.

Could you tell us more about your art?

My art is personal and direct.
I paint the subject, in my case usually people, which I know or have relationship with.
I use the basic tools for my artwork, canvas and paint, but try to mix different styles together. In general, I start out with an abstract under painting and put something figurative on top of that.

What are the advantages and the disadvantages of being an artist?

The lack of money is for sure one of the biggest disadvantages of being an artist.
The great thing about it is that you can make whatever you want whenever you want it.

What famous national or international painters have influenced you and how?

I think I am influenced and inspired by all the great painters throughouy the history.
The masters I admire the most are Van Gogh, for his expressionism and use of color, Frans Hals for his brushstroke, Rembrandt for the light and Picasso for his courage to mix and use different styles.

What do you do for fun (beside painting)?

I squash, walk the dog (even if I have no dog), go to concerts & films and like to meet friends, have a drink and discuss, live and love.

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Motivation can come from recent private things that are happening in my life which can vary from a new love to a death in the family.
Luckily this does not happen every day. The reality is that you just have to get started.
When you are in the studio surrounded by paintings in different states of being the motivation comes naturally.
I want to finish the paintings from yesterday or get excited to start something new.
It’s just a job and like any other job, you have to work hard and with discipline to really get somewhere.

How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

Lousy, but I am learning.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Don’t do it!
By choosing for an artist career in most cases you also chose for poverty.
But when you’re really motivated and passionate about the work nothing can stop you and with a little luck and the right connections you just might be the one who can make a career out of it and make an impression in the art world.

With what kind of musical genre or with which band or artist would you associate your works if you had to make a symbolic parallel?

In the past I composed and burned my one CD’s with various artist on my computer and made a kind of soundtrack for a work session in the studio.
Lately I have listened a lot to Coldplay, Elbow, Mahler, Faithless, The Thrills, Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane.
More recent I discovered a radio station here in Holland which broadcasts various jazz and I think this can also be a perfect soundtrack for an evening work.

Interview: Valentina Tirlea