Interview Raymond Cuijpers
Who is Raymond Cuijpers?
I am an ex-football player, now artist. Used to play for professional football club Roda JC in the early nineties, till an injury forced me to choose for art.
Where do you reside?
Which athlete you get out of bed for to watch? And Why?
No athlete gets me out of bed anymore. Loved Pantani, Maradona, Van Basten, Michael Boogerd. Boogerd was my favourite Dutch rider. His victory on La Plagne in 2002 gave me goose bumps, even when all the riders were doped.
Which sports team gets your blood pumping? And Why?
Must be Roda JC then. The club you used to play for is the club you support the rest of your life. They don’t get my blood pumping though, I am happy when they don’t renegade.
Do you play sports youself?
No ball for me anymore. I am a rider now. Love my second hand Trek OCLV. Love the rides I make with my eight year old son.
Who is your favourite artist and why?
René Daniëls. In the late eighties he got a stroke, since then he can’t paint anymore like he used to. His paintings are poetic and full of painterly virtuosity, yet simple and humble in a way. His Lentebloesem series are magnificant.
What was the key moment your love for art grew?
When I was seventeen I visited a Pop Art retrospective in Cologne with my art class. For the first time I saw the Brillo boxes by Andy Warhol and his Disaster series. For me this was a complete new way of looking, of thinking. Without boring explanations one could say something about modern society, I entered an abstract level at the time. Later on I went to the Stedelijk Museum to see the paintings of De Kooning. Rosy fingered dawn at Louse Point was my favourite painting for years.
How did your love for sports come about?
When I was a young boy I only wanted one thing: to become a professional football player. The best football player in the world. When I wasn’t in school I was playing football. In the streets, on playgrounds, on pitches, everywhere. Other kids weren’t as fanatic as I was by far. The ball was my best friend. In 1982 we made a family trip to Italy. We saw the madness in the streets when Italy defeated Germany and won the worldcup. I was 9 years old and I was Paolo Rossi.
When did sports become a subject of your own art?
As a teenager I used to draw and paint football players in the style they used at the Sportschau on German television. With a lot of suggestion of movement. Jesper Olsen, Laudrup,Van Basten...After I left Roda JC for a long period I painted goalposts, then I started to make drawings of matches by registrating the route of the ball during the course of the game. It was a way to take the play to an abstract level. These drawings are the core of my art. Everything starts from there.
What is Raymond Cuijpers’ style?
I guess I am looking for that abstract level, even in figuration. When I start working on a painting I don’t know where it is going. In the act of painting one is in an intuitive state. Actually a state a footballer is in when he is on the pitch. But I paint with more consciousness I think. I am playing football and at the same time I am in the stands analysing my actions on the pitch.
Where do you create your artworks?
In my studio. That’s where the actual magic happens. But in the time that I am not in the studio the thinking happens. On the bike, in the streets, in the car, on the road. When I am moving my brain is hot and my thinking becomes fluid.
What is your favourite sport artwork you made?
That’s actually a performance. On a canvas I painted live size goalposts. I drenched a ball in blue paint and I started kicking the ball against that canvas till I was exhausted. [see picture above]
If somebody wants to see your work in real life, where to they have to go?
They are welcome in my studio or can go to a show I am participating in. And of course they can check out my website.
Which sport, sports team or athlete has always been on your mind, and is on the list to make a work of?
Football will always be my source. But it’s drifting away more and more. In the end it’s not about sports or art, it’s about poetry, a deeper consciousness. It’s not about abstraction or figuration either, it goes beyond that.
Which sport artist/colleague of yours do we have to check out?
He is not exactly a colleague en he is dead too, but check out the works of
Belgian painter Raoul De Keyser. His paintings with the lines of football pitches are briljant. They are the starting point of his abstract works.
If you could choose one athlete you could make art with together for a day and he would teach you his skills who would it be? And why.
Maybe Laurens ten Dam. I have always liked his view on cycling and would love to climb some Alps with him. Our route on Strava would be a great painting.
Julius Caesar used to say (freely translated): “Give the people bread and games, and they will be quiet.” If you were Julius for a day, wanted to keep everybody relaxed, what food and which games would you give them?
Just a bike, that’s all you need. Get on your bike, hit the road, leave the city, cycle along rivers, through woods, over hills and mountains. Your brain is zen-like. You are calm. You are free.
When I say “Art loves Sport” what’s the first thing that pops up in your mind?
Art Loves Sport has always been the story of my life. Being an artist and an athlete at the same time is impossible. But being an artist without being an athlete for me is impossible too.