Mersmerizing is the only word that makes justice to Collin’s massive creations. A construction-lift is required for most of his art-works, that really says it all.
My grandfather used to draw a lot of birds, and that fascinated me a lot, but I was always into drawing as a kid, drawing ninja turles, cartoons. Drawing was actually the only thing I was quite good at, so it evolved naturally I guess.
The first official wall painting I ever made one was in 1995 at a fishers museum in The Netherlands. It felt great of course to get paid when you are 15 years old for painting instead of delivering newspapers. I remember that my parents were very proud: there were newspaper articles and a lot of press, there was no internet so you had to save that newspaper and treasure it.
I always tried to stay a bit out of trouble. But of course we did some crazy things, painting at daytime in the city on a construction place boarding, and just say to people that is a legal job, you can get away with a lot of things if you just react polite.
“The works I make, and try to make are reactions on everything around me, the things you hear, see, feel or things you don´t understand like all the religious violence that is going on, I try to give it a place by drawing or painting it on any kind of surface.”
Do you look up to any artist?
That is a hard question. I think it changes when you get older or if you actually meet an artist you like, but personally at this moment I look up to my 5 yo daughter, the way she draws and tells her stories. I wish I could do it like that again.
If I collaborate it is only with a few people, like Super-A and Rutger Termohlen. We’ve known each other for a long time so we don´t really have to discuss every detail, we just know if something works or if doesn´t, but it is just paint so you can always correct it.
You usually need a construction lifter to paint those massive walls. How do you visualize it?
Usually I make a small sketch for the wall, and basically do everything free-handed, no projection. But if there are windows in the building you can count the windows to check proportions of the things you want to paint, so basically some easy tricks.
What comes first: the building or the picture (the idea)?
Most of the time the building comes first, so you can visualize what is going to be on it. Every shape has a different approach and that is always interesting.
Have you ever suffered height-fright?
Yes absolutely! I think over the last years it has slowly started to disappear a bit, but I believe it will never go 100% away.
The biggest solo wall was in Chicago this year, and I think there were like 80 spray-cans and 60 liter of other paint. It is actually not that much when you see it all together.
After all those crazy art-works, is painting in a regular canvas boring for you? You must feel like you’re running out of space!
(Laughs) Well I think I need that tension between both: to go huge and also make small drawings and canvasses; but when you’ve just painted a big wall it is kind of hard for a week or so to go back to smaller work again.
As artist, what place do you think suits your style more?
Hopefully both, outside and inside but the challenge is different for me: outside I try to leave a story, and inside you can go more personal with gallery work, so I am always searching for a kind of good balance.
Hope to continue and evolve in the things I love to do most, and be surprised with new chances and challenges.
My advice is be patient and work hard for the things you want to do!
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