The Dream-Like Paintings of Collin van der Sluijs
Collin van der Sluijs’ paintings give off a nostalgic, dream-like vibe. They are small moments or places where anything is possible, but they also tap into the personal pleasures and struggles of human life.
Van der Sluijs incorporates threads of society and human life into his colourful, sketchy artworks, and he has grown a name for himself as someone who renders dream-like depictions into near-on real life.
The Maastricht-based illustrator has a huge portfolio of pieces, each one portraying a new world entirely. More recently, he has adapted his work into larger-scale projects, including impressive murals that span metres and metres. His latest can be found in Chicago on the Wabash Arts Corridor. The mesmerizing piece shows two endangered Illinois birds painted amongst a burst of colourful blooms. It’s the contrast between the industrial brickwork and the vibrant display of nature that really makes the mural stand out – that, and the method van der Sluijs has used to make the birds and foliage pop out from their backdrop.
Regardless of the canvas he’s working with, Collin van der Sluijs follows a similar process when creating his pieces. Unlike many artists, he opts to work free-hand, without sketches or notes to guide him. The works come to life as they are made, using a concoction of spray paint, ink, and acrylics to immortalize a series of ideas and societal theories.
Nature crops up regularly in van der Sluijs’ work, where he puts themes relating to the theory of life under the microscope for his viewers. Birds are commonplace, too, a subject that has been inspired by his family. “My grandfather who passed away years ago, he taught me how to draw birds, he was really good at it because he had many tropical species,” van der Sluijs says.
Behind every piece, there is a hint of psychological fascination, usually highlighting what it is like to be both human and animalistic.
Behaviour is an important aspect of Collin van der Sluijs work. He tries to insert the unknown into his work, stating that “trying to give things and situations that I do and don’t understand a place in my work” is a top priority. “Things like human and animal behaviour,” he adds, “our information generation, references to my childhood. Basically everything that surrounds me every day.”
And as for inspiration? It’s the moments that aren’t successful that define van der Sluijs’ artistic process. It’s the times when a technique or method doesn’t have the desired outcome, “so you have to adapt to the situation you are in.” While working, van der Sluijs tries to make a home for all his thoughts and ideas – there has to be a place for them in his paintings and installations. Not just so he can make sense of his own thoughts, but so the fundamental theories behind humans and animals have the potential to take centre stage, and to make viewers consider the world in a different way – if only for a moment or a single snapshot in time.
Enjoy the track “Dense Layers of Suspended Water” by Gray Chalk while viewing the additional works below.
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