Amsterdam’s own Hugo “DHM” Mulder is a busy personality, who participates in group-shows, festivals and mural productions all over the world. But his solo-exhibitions are rare events that come up every 2-3 years and present a completely new level of his work and career. On May 3rd the artist opens “Up close and personal” at Amsterdam’s original Dampkring Gallery. We received a few seak-preview shots of his latest work and are pretty stunned about his artistic development and style. We did an DHM artist feature earlier this month (you can read it here) but now spot-lights on his new show!
Urban Art NOW: It has been a while since your last solo-show, why do you leave such a long period of time between your solo-shows?
Hugo “DHM” Mulder: Basicly about 3 years ago I started working in a new style for my canvas works, after the reactions I got on these paintings where so positive I decided to continue in this same style. Only this style takes so much time to do (it can take about 2 full weeks to finish a painting) that I maybe produce about 10 of these a year, if its a good year. So to create enough work for a solo show just takes a few years.
The other part is that I was never really looking for galleries to sell my work, because it was not important for me to sell as my graphic design work paid the bills. This also made me pretty critical at what gallery I would like to show and to what kind of audience. I actually never really contacted a gallery in Amsterdam in all these years to join. But group shows I always liked and don’t really matter where they are, its always fun to share a show with other artists.
Some things just happen when the time is right.
Urban Art NOW: What is the concept behind “Up close and personal”? What can we expect May 3rd at Dampkring Gallery?
Hugo “DHM” Mulder: The show consists of a selection of the paintings I made these last 3 years, all in the same style. Some of these have been shown in group shows around the world but never together. Always just 2 pieces here and then 2 pieces there and so on. And there are some pieces new and old that I never exhibited before.
“Up close and personal” is the way I like people to experience the paintings as most of the production time of a piece goes into the details. The lines and shapes I paint need to be close to perfect for me and I edit the paint to the tenth of a millimetre by scratching of the paint with a scalpel and by just painting very precise. Most graphically inspired art that I see is very cool from a few meters away but up close it can look sloppy and to me a bit lazy. I like to make my backgrounds pretty raw so I work on a canvas type thats not the most smooth you can get, this makes it even harder to make the lines and shapes as tight as I want them, but I like that challenge. I create these paintings to last a long time and not to be a quick fix for some ones living room wall. A photo of a piece on the internet doesn’t do it justice, you got to see the pieces “up close and personal”.
Urban Art NOW: We got a sneak-preview of your latest artwork. You style is definitely recognisable but each single piece is taken to a next level. What do you think is the most significant development in your style and art since your last solo-show?
Hugo “DHM” Mulder: The canvas work I did before I discovered this new line driven style was actually all a big search for that style, although I did not know that at the time. I tried to do a new style for every painting I did and from every painting I could make a whole series, easy. But I didn’t think any of those where good enough to put the time in to make that series. Still the single paintings are pretty cool to me don’t get me wrong, but after about 5 years I came up with a style I saw a future in and ran with it. Because now I don’t have to look for new styles every time I could dive deep into it and start to perfect and expand it. At the show you can compare pieces from the beginning to the later works and you’ll see stuff like the white lines are now super white because I do m 2 to 3 times and in the beginning I would just do m ones which did’t really cover perfectly, small things like that.
Urban Art NOW: Your work is a distinct combination of different techniques and material, your profession as a designer is clearly visible as well. What kind of elements create this unique DHM style?
Hugo “DHM” Mulder: Its actually a combination of my creative influences from when I was a kid to now. I come from an art loving family and was confronted early in live with works from people like Picasso, Karel Appel, Corneille, Anton Heyboer, just to name a few, mostly abstract figurative painters.
This is what I normally start with on a new white canvas; knife, brush, big bold abstract energy. Together with that I introduce spray cans and markers to the background. Linking back to my graffiti days that started in ’84. When the background is done its time for the graphic design part, the tight detailed perfect shapes part, the blood, sweat and tears part, well no tears but definitely sweat and blood.
Urban Art NOW: If you have to characterise yourself as an artist in three points that stand the most, what would that be?
Hugo “DHM” Mulder: