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Bart Nijstad’s Surreal Portraits, Pop Reflections

Bart Nijstad, an artist based in the Netherlands, creates surreal portraits that move between pop and everyday subjects. Though the artist would say that his topics and environments can be considered "sober and Dutch." He uses different mediums in accomplishing this, including gouache, watercolor, and pencil.

Bart Nijstad, an artist based in the Netherlands, creates surreal portraits that move between pop and everyday subjects. Though the artist would say that his topics and environments can be considered “sober and Dutch.” He uses different mediums in accomplishing this, including gouache, watercolor, and pencil.

“In my work I create opposing worlds,” the artist says. “Everyday subjects play an important part. With recognizable motifs I try to create a familiar atmosphere. Parallel to this ordinary world dream sequences and alienating events take place. When doing so I play with the rules of what makes reality. For me this is what it is all about, creating confusion and restlessness in the mind of the beholder.”


In two newer pieces, in particular, the artist takes popular entertainment figures and injects them into surreal settings, dubbed “Heroes Heaven” and “Heroes Hell,” respectively. The gouache works put Prince and David Bowie in the former and Michael Jackson and Darth Vader in the latter. Elsewhere, the characters are more general. On this, the artist says, “The characters are either based upon myself or people I know from my surroundings and are transformed in such a way that they become unrecognizable and individual.”


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