The happiness artist and his intensely coloured portraits that brighten any property.
Born in Enschede, Holland and residing today in Münster, Germany, artist Jim ter Kuile enjoys both intensely coloured portraits and history.
As a source of inspiration for his colourful artistic explosions, Jim turns to classic portraits of nobility, along with their magnificent, historical castles and villas. He often begins by studying the original works in their natural environment and then reinterprets them with his fresh, bold pop art approach. Jim ter Kuile applies flat colour sequences and uses unusual colour combinations and relief surfaces to create a game of perspectives. By using commissioned portrait paintings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, he creates his own new and stunning artworks that with their flashy colours, structures and plain colour applications contrast time and tradition.
Ter Kuile feels that the look of the women portrayed of that time period is extremely recognisable and this is what he appreciates so much. He changes small details in their faces, a bit like a plastic surgeon who decorated a face compares ter Kuile. Each of his paintings suggests a new expression as well as a sharp reinterpretation of portraiture as an art form.
‘I am going my own way, have my own style and do not copy other artists. Result: I create a unique style which is highly noticeable. My paintings are finished when I paint the light reflection dot in the eyes. But even then I sometimes want to change something, although in the end, I stop’, shares the artist.
Ter Kuile admires the artists James Turrell, Ans Marcus and his very favourite, David Hockney. He has recently enjoyed Hockney’s book ‘Secret Knowledge’, about rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters, which included using optics and lenses to create their masterpieces. Ter Kuile is clearly intrigued by representations of eras gone by and even admitted to having purchased a very old wax statue from Madame Tussauds, all the while respectful of modern developments and directions.
Ter Kuile has taken an unusual course for an artist. Once he completed his studies in Holland, he moved to London to study at the London School of Foreign Trade. While in London, he attended courses in art history at the Morly College of the University of London. Once back in Holland, he began to work in banking and later started freelancing as a professional painter. The artist has exhibited in art galleries in both solo and group shows, and at national and international art fairs throughout Europe including Denmark, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Austria. His paintings continue to surprise the viewer. Ter Kuile believes that it is important for us to take the time to look at what we see when standing in front of one of the portraits and to feel them, using our hands.
He adds, ‘Do not judge a painting that you see only as an image. Do what inspires you.... Modern art of this period is sometimes very surprising. But Modern art can sometimes be very old. I’m open for it when you feel an emotion or happiness.’
Ter Kuile has just finished his new double-portrait ‘Mir fatal’, based on King Frederick William III’s commissioned marble princess statue and is now working on some ideas that will stir up emotions such as happiness or amazement. When asked what his public would find the most surprising about him, ter Kuile replied, ‘Andy Warhol once said; “An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have”. Here he might be right but I think art must create a party in your brains. That brings happiness and everybody needs happiness. So, that’s what I as an artist produce – BRAIN HAPPINESS!’