Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Mark Raven, the Amsterdam impressionist.

Mark is a true Amsterdammer and his life long love affair with the city is recognizable in his art; most of his works display rough outlines of Amsterdam sceneries, yet leave room for personal interpretation. Read about Mark Raven's Amsterdam; special sights and other city delights.

Where can we see you with your easel and brush?

I'm not a painter as such; I am a graphic artist and I try to combine traditional graphical techniques, as etching and lithography, with painting and possibilities of image manipulation. In this way I create a balance between classical and modern. I work from my atelier on the Nieuwezijdse Voorburgwal 174. Yet I get my inspiration from the city as a whole. I simply love the Amsterdam streets, bridges, water and the sense of humor of her people - it never bores.

You are a self-taught artist. How did you develop your unique modern suggestive work style?
I am influenced by painters like Emile Nolde, a German expressionist. Kandinsky, Klee, Marchel Duchamp and Andy Warhol taught me about art as a conceptual principle.

Does your work also have Warhol-price tags?
It is my aim to make my work affordable and visible. I can do so by reproducing my impressions as posters and on T-shirts or postcards. They are a great gift for expatriates who return home and want to take a bit of Amsterdam with them.

Besides your hide away on one of Amsterdams most beautiful canals, the Brouwersgracht, what is your favourite spot in Amsterdam?
My stamkroeg CafĂ© de Prins, Prinsengracht. Especially on the terrace on a summer’s evening, you can watch everybody passing by... neighbours, friends, locals, tourists and all those beautiful Amsterdam women!

Ah, the Amsterdam beauties… which other Amsterdam sights do you enjoy?
The Amsterdamse bos with its great relaxing sceneries. For a great city panorama in head down to the lunchroom on the 6th floor in the Metz building. I also enjoy going to the Vondelpark on Sundays to watch the Amsterdammers relax. As an artist I particularly enjoy the city in its most vibrant colors during sunrise - it’s simply magnificent- and, of course, the Magere brug on the Amstel (painting below)!

Say you are a tour guide, where would you take your foreign guests to?
I would take them to the banks south of the Y, where interesting new architecture is rising. Then, we have lunch at the Restaurant ‘Open’ on Westerdoksplein for its great setting and views. Afterwards, we can explore Java and Borneo island.

Where can we find you on Saturday nights?

I incidentally end up in Pacific Park in Westerpark or the Winston in the Warmoesstraat. The Milky Way is still the place were my personal favourite musicians perform, and it is also good place for world music and dance. On the morning after, go for a ‘bakje troost’ at Winkel on the Noordermarkt.

Bakje troost? Your favourite drink?
“Bakje troost” literally means “little cup of comfort” and refers to ‘a cup of coffee’. Nowadays, I start to appreciate wine, though.

Wine, now we’re talking! Where do you say ‘Proost’ or ‘Chin chin’?
My new place to go is Di Vino, in the Boomstraat in de Jordaan.

And what do you do to relax?
Of course being creative greatly relaxes me. On Sunday afternoons I also enjoy watching the Amsterdammers relax in the Vondelpark. On rainy days it’s fun going to the movies… at the Movies (Haarlemmerdijk 161) or “dimsumming” with friends at Oriental City in the Damstraat.

Mark Raven's Store and gallery
(near Dam square, behind Royal Palace)
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 174, Amsterdam
Open daily from 10:30-18:00 hrs

Kiosk at Museum Square
Paulus Potterstraat 3b, 1071 CX Amsterdam
Open daily from 10:30-18:00 hrs
(hours may differ in winter: please inquire)
See locations on Google Maps


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