Belgian artist Hendrik Cleiren decided four years ago that if he ever wanted to be an artist, this was the time to change his life. It started with a Dinky Toy.
Since his art education he had done numerous jobs from illustrator, to art director and finally owning his own design and branding company. A successful career but he missed the creative aspects. Now he is painting every day in his studio where, over the years, he developed and improved his techniques resulting in a unique and recognizable style of art.
His style is realism where he is playing with the light and colours to give each work his own interpretation. Where the traditional way of painting is to start with the dark colours and then work towards the lighter shades, his approach is completely the opposite. The white of the canvas is the white of his work. So when he starts painting one of the first steps is to determine where he needs light and leave those spots blank on the canvas. A technique that is unforgiving, mistakes cannot be undone. If an artwork is made with 100.000 brush strokes, each one needs to be perfect. He compares it with walking over a ledge; just above the ground walking is easy but when placed high over a ravine “ben je patat” (you’re a smashed potato) Hendrik stated.
As a result his artworks are labour-intensive and can take more than a month to be completed. Hendrik Cleiren finds the inspiration for his artwork everywhere. In his living room he posted two artworks of the San Marcos in Venice. Paintings which are a realistic representation of the reality but at the same time, are more than just a duplicate of the buildings. Somehow Hendrik tells a story with his work and during the interview I kept looking at his artwork, intrigued and trying to read that story.
Hendrik also made painting series of horses, bulls and constructions but the reason why ClassicCarGift visited artist Cleiren was a unique type of automotive; a series of Dinky Toy paintings which he recently made.
“As it comes to modern cars I would not know how I could make some of them any uglier than they already are." It seems that function before form has become the guideline in car design.
“Where are the chrome rims and tailfins?” he wondered. Functional useless elements, but beautiful in their design and adding esthetic value to our lives.
As a young boy the emotional ties of a toy car can go so much deeper than owning a real car when you’re grown. This emotion triggered Hendrik to start painting a collection of Dinky Toys. His fine art works tell a story; emotions of playing with the car, fantasizing and dreaming. That is also the reason why he uses Dinky Toys that show the marks of intensive playing instead of the “new in box” models.
At the moment he completed seven Dinky Toys paintings and he plans to add a few more. These paintings are available as Certified Art Giclées in a limited edition and are unique pieces of automotive art.
Keep an eye on Hendrik Cleiren since we expect to hear and see more from this emerging artist. For more information you can contact the artist by mail at hendrik.cleiren (at) gmail (dot) com.