Stefan Bleekrode’s New Artwork on Budapest
Another Interview with Dutch Artist Stefan Bleekrode
It wasn’t a long time ago when I asked Stefan about his work, but here comes a new interview, since he has just finished another drawing on Budapest. Let’s find out what has happened to him since last September.
What has happened to you since we spoke last year?
All of a sudden, things went really fast after our first interview. Apart from two successful exhibitions in Holland, the media took note of my work last December, which led to newspaper publications in the UK, Belgium, Holland and Italy and a score of Internet publications. Later on, in January, I was invited to appear on the Belgian national television in a talk show named Bart and Siska. Currently, I’m preparing work for a number of future exhibitions in Holland and Switzerland later this year.
If you speak Dutch here is the video for you to watch:
You have just finished another drawing on Budapest. Could you tell us about the process?
The initial large-scale drawing was merely based on Budapest; I used the architecture and many landmarks to create a “new” city based on Budapest. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with that work because of the faulty perspective and somewhat monotonous background. Immediately, I felt I needed to do another piece sometime. It took me almost two years to meditate on this new piece that had to include not just most of the famous sights but also offers a view more captivating than the previous drawing.
The perspective plays a major role in all of Stefan’s works. He is well known for drawing from a bird’s eye perspective so I was eager to hear about how the process went this time. Furthermore, Budapest also belongs to that group of cities that offer a lot of possibilities for artists to capture it in their artworks. Last time Stefan was flying from the Liberty Bridge towards the Margaret Island, but now he has begun his trip in District 13.
How did you decide on the perspective of the drawing this time?
This perspective was in my mind already for quite a long time but it took me a while to get things sorted out, and not until my previous visit to Budapest, last year in May, I felt confident enough to tackle what was really quite a difficult subject. When I walked around the city I noticed there were many geometric forms, for instance, the street layout and the rooftop angles. This perspective is broken by straight and diagonal boulevards, and the river running across the city. Getting the perspective right was essential.
Before I did any ink drawing I made extensive pencil sketches to get the composition right. So I made the Saint Stephen’s Boulevard shorter than in reality and left some of the areas South of it out of the drawing. To make the drawing a bit less monotonous, an endless sea of roofs, I made Elisabeth Square and Déak Square bigger, kind of turned it into a park. Still, even as I went along I kept making changes: I made the river wider, and later on I decided to raise the horizon a bit and obscure it with a watercolour wash.
Stefan’s success cannot be only seen in the media but he actually makes a living as an artist, which does not necessarily happen to everyone who dedicates her/his life to art. Stefan is an exception as he has sold several of his artworks and probably will sell many more. Let’s find out where one should look for the new drawing(s)!
What happens to it now?
The drawing got sold immediately upon completion to a Dutch family who used to live in Budapest for three years. I suppose it will be framed now before the buyers collect it from the gallery.
Are you planning to draw more pieces on Budapest?
Yes, there’s already a small drawing under construction of a busy intersection with trams and buses, similar to Astoria. Maybe one day I’ll do a view of Buda Castle and the old district next to it. Other than that, I was thinking of doing perhaps a city like Pécs, I haven’t been there yet but it is apparently very beautiful.
Unfortunately, we still have to wait for an exhibition taking place in Hungary, but if you happen to be in the Netherlands or Switzerland, take the opportunity and visit one of the galleries showcasing Stefan’s pieces. Stefan is naming the destination in his last answer.
If someone is interested in seeing your works in person where s/he should go?
My work is currently on sale and display at the Frank Welkenhuysen Gallery in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Besides this, I’ll have a show with oil colours at Galerie Müller in Luzern this summer and more drawings will go on display at Keine Kunst in Bern this fall. But it would be great to show some of my Hungary-inspired pieces in Budapest or elsewhere!