"THROUGHOUT MY LIFE, I ALWAYS KNEW THAT I WAS A PAINTER, BUT I DIDN'T START PAINTING UNTIL I WAS 27 YEARS OLD."
Born and raised in Fryslân, The Netherlands, Reinder Oldenburger (1984) developed a passion for the arts at a young age. Fascinated by the world around him, color and sound proved to be the two things that moved him most. At the age of 13, Reinder began studying and playing guitar, eventually moving to Amsterdam to attend the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he graduated in 2007. When asked about his songwriting techniques, he would often be found describing how each song had a color, which he then turned into words and melodies.
Following extensive touring throughout Europe and the recording of several albums with various international artists, including his ongoing project “The Neptune Darlings,” Reinder finally picked up the paint brush after a visit to the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
His first paintings were made in his native Fryslân in the summer of 2011. After which he relocated to New York City where he further established his painting practice. His work was soon featured by up-and-coming online galleries and blogs which helped get his work noticed by a new generation of collectors using the internet as a medium to acquire original art.
"MY GOAL IS TO CREATE ART THAT INSPIRES AND PROVOKES CURIOSITY.
While pouring out works from his Long Island City atelier, Reinder exhibited his paintings in several NYC group shows over the years 2014-2016 and was called “Artist to know in 2019” by Palm Springs / Laguna Beach “Art Patron” magazine. His work is now part of private collections with the likes of Appel and Picasso. Today, Reinder Oldenburger lives in Los Angeles and continues to work daily in his atelier in Silver Lake.
Reinder's works of art presents us with a reflection of how complex we can be. And how without thinking twice, we give our own heart deauthorization to be reborn. His art reminds us of that innate liberation that we all want. A release to the bonds of the same routine, the same cycle, the same breathing ... His works of art represent that freedom we crave and sometimes do not even understand why.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. I wrote and recorded my first song when I was 18. For painting, it was probably during my study at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. I had an instructor who was a painter and she’d take our small class to her atelier where we got to paint with real artist materials. I remember making a colorful, abstract painting.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. When I was about 20 years old, I started looking at paintings differently. I remember being drawn to the work of Marc Chagall while visiting a museum in Copenhagen. The idea of an artist working in his atelier seemed magical to me.
Q. Tell us about your beginnings, how were your first steps in the art world?
A. Throughout my life, I always knew that I was a painter, but I didn’t start painting until I was 27 years old.
When visiting the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2011 I learned that Vincent was 27 when he started painting. It was like a message telling me to start painting so I bought myself a set of acrylic paints and that’s how it all began. In 2012, I moved to New York and continued to paint every day. I would go down to SoHo and sell my paintings on the streets. Being part of that culture allowed me to meet some incredible people. NYC is the home of some of the greatest museums and exhibitions in the world - I spent many hours exploring them in my years living there. I got my first studio in Long Island City, New York and had my art showcased in several online galleries, participated in group shows and started building up a collector base.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. The most precious thing in the world; time. And sleep!
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. As a painter I’m self-taught, I develop my style through experimentation and interpretation. I paint my works from imagination which I find thrilling. Every finished painting is a conquest. I aim to retain some of the process in the final picture and to preserve the spontaneity of the initial sketch. Most of my themes are autobiographical.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. I love the CoBrA painters (Appel, Jorn, Rooskens, etc), De Kooning and also the New York scene of the 1980’s (Haring, Warhol, Basquiat), Picasso and the great Impressionists to name a few but the list goes on and on. Today, there is lots of beautiful artwork being made and the internet and social media are great ways to discover and keep up with fellow artists. It’s motivating to see but generally I try to focus on my own work and direction.
Q. What does your art aim to say?
A. My goal is to create art that inspires and provokes curiosity.
The beautiful thing about art is that it can mean a million different things at once. Everybody creates their own mental story by a picture, kind of like the opposite of reading a book.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. I prefer to work alone but I never feel lonely when I paint. I become absorbed in the process. In recent years, I’ve lived in Amsterdam, New York City and now in Los Angeles, so I never have to go far to be amongst other people. My atelier is my sanctuary.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I love being in nature, playing guitar, listening to music, reading and spending time with my family.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Art is a symbol of progress, growth, evolution. About offering something new to the world. All artists have in common that they aspire to do something that’s never been done before.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success is a state of mind. Professionally, I’d say having an abundance of time, space and materials. Overall leading a happy, joyful life.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. I really like this quote from a James Allen book that I read recently: Say to yourself, "I will live in my Ideal now; I will manifest my Ideal now; I will be my Ideal now; and all that tempts me away from my Ideal I will not listen to; I will listen only to the voice of my Ideal."
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. Always have faith in your talent, vision and capabilities regardless of what your aspirations are. Then come up with a plan and stick to it!