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  • #thisisantwerp

Are you a young artist or creative entrepreneur looking for a workspace in the city of Antwerp? Make sure you check out Studio Start! This organization offers affordable ateliers and support for young creatives. Not looking for a workspace but interested in what a studio looks like, nowadays? Also make sure you check out Studio Start! This Sunday, the 4th of September, they are organizing, in co-operation with NICC, the third edition of Open Studio’s. Swing by and discover the work of young Antwerp artists in their own working space and maybe have a chat with the new Luc Tuymans!

More than 150 artists dispersed over 60 locations in Antwerp will open their doors for the public and put their work in the spotlight. One of those not-to-miss talents is Studio Start resident Denie Put (°1991). As a preview, This Is Antwerp was invited to his atelier, located in a former printing office in the Appelstraat in Borgerhout. Denie - a true homo universalis - combines a career in football with his passion for painting. How does the mix of this two worlds influence his work?

Denie Put: “I consider them as two separate choices: at football I’m the painter and in the art world I’m always referred to as the footballer. I like the difference in lifestyle, people and humour.  With football I can forget everything and just play. I also think that a good physique clears the head, which is convenient during painting. In some of my paintings you can find a reference to football, like an almost abstract representation of a football player, or a print of a football dropped in paint.”

This Is Antwerp: Your work is obviously more than that. To us, it’s an extraordinary kitsch dream world, with a lot of colours and movement. But is it figurative or abstract? And to which style can we assign it?

Denie: “I’m not much of a story teller. I would call my work mostly abstract, but in some paintings you can see portraits and three dimensional figures, like sculptures in space. In terms of style, I can’t deny the inspiration from Picasso, the Surrealists and Fauvists. I’ve also had a period in which I worked a lot around African masks. During painting,  those references come to me spontaneously.

Coincidence and experiment is what drives me. It is of more importance to me than the meaning behind my work. I always follow a very organic, liberating process. I let everything just happen. I get my inspiration out of everyday life - any form or colour can trigger an idea - and then I just start working. A sketch is mostly the basis, but the image can still change drastically. My work also often originates from a reaction with what is already present, like a little spot on the canvas. Furthermore, a mix of different techniques, materials, textures and colours is very typical for my oeuvre."

TIA: An example of your love for different techniques is the mural you made at the entrance of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts for the exhibition ’11 kunstenaars tegen de muur’ (“Eleven artists on the wall”). How was this experience?

Denie: “It was exciting and stressing at the same time. Even on this size, I just started working without a plan or design draft. I had no clue of what the result would look like. I was the youngest of the eleven selected artists and I took a lot of risk by working this way. During the process I was also confronted with huge fear of heights. To be honest: I was happy when it was finished. I’m very pleased with the result and I got a lot of positive reactions afterwards.”

TIA: Back to Studio Start. How did you find this atelier and what is your connection with it?

Denie: “I found this studio through a friend. I’ve been looking for a workspace for a long time, but either it was too expensive, or renting the place was limited in time. I think there’s definitely a shortage of affordable and high quality studios. That’s why Studio Start is such a good initiative. They help you in your hunt for a workspace, but also support upcoming artists by organising expo’s and other events.”

TIA: Like the Open Studio’s this Sunday. What can we expect from you?

Denie: “I will definitely leave my studio like the organised mess it is right now, so visitors can have a clear view of how I work. Unfortunately, I’m not able to attend the Open Studio’s myself, but my girlfriend will be present to welcome guests. It’ll be very interesting to visit the ateliers at the Appelstraat because you get the chance to see a broad mix of painters, graphic artists, illustrators, wood workers and costume-makers at work.”

More Open Studio's and Denie Put?

Check out the whole program on:

Studio Start:


Denie Put is a member of Base Alpha Gallery


Text by Saar De Permentier

Pics by Sofie Jaspers & Saar De Permentier


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