One might think that “intellect”, ie ability to think, makes our life easier and happier – and it surely would have its own logic. However, those who have been blessed with such a capability, they know that it’s often just the opposite. This unpredictable apparatus of thinking constantly and insistently confronts them with a number of questions, which often lack answers. Many people (perhaps modeled on ostriches) rather hide themselves before such intrusive questions, but only the bravest from the genus “sapiens” will not hesitate to stand facing this problem. And Willem Rasing, an exceptional artist from the Netherlands, among such rare personalities clearly belongs. He has the courage to ask himself again and again, even the most pressing questions and not to be content with only trivial answers, although the real and true ones can often be extremely painful. This never-ending searching and finding (not dissimilar to the activities of heroes of ancient myths) is reflected throughout his excellent creative work and enriches us all.
Willem Rasing was born the 14th of October 1954 in a town called Deventer in the centre of Holland. His parents were a farmer’s son and an artist’s daughter who started their own grocery business. Willem never had the intention to take over the shop. He is the oldest child and has 3 younger sisters. His parent’s shop was opposite a catholic church and the children had to visit the church almost every day before going to school to pray for a good success for the shop. Of course they didn’t like it at all, felt bored and were always making joke’s.
Above the altar in the church, high on the wall there was hanging a big white crucifix with a very realistic Christ hanging on the cross. As a little boy Willem was always impressed about this figure and perhaps that’s the reason why religion, and especially this Christ figure, is still one of his theme’s in his work.
Drawing and painting Willem did – more or less – during all his life. On the basic school there was always a kind of competion with one of his classmates going on during drawing lesson’s who was the best. After basic school and a period of work in a grocery shop, which he hated, Willem had to join the army where he worked as a medic. There he painted beautiful wounds on the soldiers bodies during their medical trainings.
In 1977 he started study at the Art Academy to finally become a teacher in the arts. In 1982 he had to finish his study and would never become a teacher. It changed his life completely. He did all kind of jobs to earn a living and pay the bills. In the mean time he organized exhibitions of his work and made illustrations for all kind of purposes around. Willem spent 6 weeks in South-Korea to illustrate Holland during the Tulip festival over there.
He was strongly impressed by the work of the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt. He made a serie of collages of the works of Rembrandt using pictures of his work in combination with spraypaints. At exhibitions the work was very succesfull. In the same time he tried to make funny drawings of Rembrandt’s works. He decided to draw portraits of his friends around the figures of the “Nightwatch”. This work called “Willem’s Nightmare” took him one and a half year to create it. It is a pencil drawing on canvas and it measures 173 cm x 220 cm. On this drawing are 511 figures.
In the second half of nineties Willem also started to join cartoon festivals all over the world. His first success was the first price at the Dutch International Festival, theme “Art and cartoon”. Willem kept working on this theme and created more than 60 illustrations which were several times exhibited in Holland and later Turkey. Later he won prizes in Holland and abroad and had exhibitions in different countries. He was also a member of the jury at several cartoon festivals.
Currently, he makes his cartoons on the computer. He uses elements, mostly of realistic situations, and makes collages of them as an endresult. Let’s hear the words of the artist himself: “In fact I don’t feel like a cartoonist, whatever that feeling might mean. It’s in the eyes of the beholder. Of course I’m still painting in all kind of styles and with all kind of materials to experiment. The last years I made a lot of paintings using garbage, found on the streets. I am always struggling between abstract and realism.”
Willem Rasing recently reached another major success when his work “Libertea, Equalitea, Fraternitea” has won the third prize at the famous international cartoon contest Porto Cartoon World Festival in Portugal. After 4 years being the Vice-president, Willem Rasing is now the President of FECO – Holland already for 5 years. He is living and working in Amsterdam, Holland.
This exhibition brings a representative selection from the creative work of Willem Rasing – the artworks from some of his extensive cycles, such as “Art and cartoon”, “Great personalities”, “Breaking News”, “Haute cuisine of WillemRasingArt”, also some examples from the series “Amsterdam guy”, “Rembrandt drawings”, “Tulip festival”, and at the end also a couple of Willem’s abstract paintings. We wish you a pleasant artistic experience. For fullscreen presentation in “Slideshow” mode click under the picture to such button )
* On the new website of Willem Rasing you can find a lot of different works and a lot of different themes – click to this link: http://wrasing1.wix.com/willemrasingartoons#