Be at home with: Michel Tuinman

Special because they mean something to the city, a special bond they have with the city or the way they look at the city. Today we are in the Old North, visiting painter Michel Tuinman, who as an artist looks at the city in his own special way. One of the few Rotterdammers who can actually enjoy grey, drizzly, rainy days and nights and therefore often uses the city as a location for his works.

Before I have entered the house, the unmistakable smell of paint has already reached me and when I step inside it is clear; a painter lives here with a studio at home. Dozens of paintings are placed against the wall in the living room and in another room are a number of works on an easel. A number of his works of well-known Rotterdam places hang on the wall.

Michel: “I have been living in Rotterdam for about 4.5 years now, but I have been coming there for at least 10 years because friends of mine have lived here before and I often came to visit or get inspired during my period at the Art Academy . There I was traditionally trained in drawing and painting, the moment I had mastered that well, I went my own way and let go of some strict traditional rules.”

Michel always had ideas and images in his head of scenes in cities and initially started to develop these ideas in picturesque Leiden.

“But then I arrived in Rotterdam, a city that lends itself like no other to the work I make. The skyline, the dynamics, the lights, the perspective and especially the Raw is what makes this city unique. That’s what I was looking for. So on rainy, foggy days or nights I go out with my camera to capture that raw image. I then use this photo as the basis for the painting, in the end the memory and the feeling I had with it form the final picture. It is mainly places like Weena and Coolsingel that bring out this feeling in me and give me that real urban feeling.”

But it didn’t stop at Rotterdam; “Then I lived and worked in Berlin for a while. There you will find everything I was looking for but even more, even bigger, even more violence, even rawer. But that is mainly due to its size. In principle, every major city lends itself to my work. But when I drove back from Berlin via the Maasboulevard, and the high tower blocks, bridges and all the lighting came into view, I felt completely at home again. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only real city”

He also often spends his free time in the city; “I can often be found at the well-known skatepots at the museum park, around the Graphic Lyceum and Westblaak. Westblaak is also such an inspiring urban place, so even in my spare time I always keep looking and looking for that perfect image to capture the city in a unique way.

Michel is clear about the future of Rotterdam: “Full build. Not every Rotterdammer will agree with this, but for the work I make and the inspiration I am looking for, Rotterdam could grow even further in height for an even more urban appearance.”

Michel Tuinman’s work can be admired from Sunday 3 October 6:00 PM to Sunday 31 October during his exhibition in Café LaBru at Hartmansstraat 18. More information can be found here:

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