Vincent van de Waal’s paintings hit the glance immediately. Simple, unpretentious, direct. Made in a minimal style, the depicted scenes are displays of the everyday, urban representations of anonymous lives.
The extreme simplicity of lines and the playful use of colors remind of a formal language employed in typical tales of the city, like in Jacob Lawrence’s The migration series’, where cartoon -like figures tell the story of a collectivity, the story of people trying to fit in.
In van de Waal’s paintings a figure dances in what looks to be a deserted alley, one fights with a cat, boys climb over a wall while others sit on the side of the road and observe the tall buildings of their surroundings. The backdrop is most of the time urban, skyscrapers, courtyards, cement.
And then there are they: seemingly faceless figures, living creatures in the stillness of the city. While their common gestures or settings deliver a quiet and reassuring recognition, the details reveal that there is something more to these scenes of apparent calmness. The colors on the canvases become thicker on their hands, on their faces. Layer upon layer the stratification of acrylic paint creates a collage, a powerful conglomerate of color. It’s the condensation of a whish, of a desire, of a fantasy. It’s a bliss, permeating the greyness of daily life. Vincent van de Waal paints the streets, what he knows, what we all know: the dullness of quotidianity and its trivial nature. Nevertheless, there is something common to all of our lives that always manages to shimmer through: flashes of grace. Little squares of hope, always winking somewhere on the back.
Vincent van de Waal (1981) lives and works in Amsterdam.
He graduated in 2006 at the Rietveld academy of Amsterdam at the graphic department and afterwards developed a career as illustrator, designer and graphic designer. Since 2011 he is the creative director of Patta, an Amsterdam based streetwear label, and parallely develops his own artistic projects that range from paintings, graphic prints, to music, or poetry based work.
Recognizable from his versatility of mediums and his direct and uncut style, his works are now shown in national and international venues.
-Text by Sara van Bussel