What unites us all is perception. What varies amongst us is how much we wonder about it’.


Stijn Rietman (Drachten, 1979) graduated in 2006 at the Minerva Academy of Art in Groningen (NL). During those four years at the academy he attended classes with Dutch master artist Matthijs Röling. Upon graduation he was awarded the Dooyewaard Stipendium for promising graduates, which offered him a place to work and live in Blaricum in a big studio for six months. In 2015 he won the Gerrit van Houten Atelierprijs.


The artist’s subjects are often unusual. Portraying a strange picture using everyday objects is what stands out in his recent work. By carefully painting these objects with solid craftsmanship and great eye to detail, he creates a field of tension between a familiar image and the sometimes weird or uncomfortable meaning the chosen subject has. These ordinary subjects get as much attention and care as traditional still life subjects. ‘This short moment of confusion and subsequent discovery is the essence of my work’.


Reappearing themes are often stillness and estrangement. ‘ It’s about the quiet, introverted atmosphere my work transmits. In that setting the objects not only come to their full essence, it also contributes to the estranged feeling I try to create.’


Though often called a realist, the artist likes to add: ‘Being a painter you always manipulate reality more or less; you stage purposely, you leave out or add details, giving the picture an extra atmosphere. A realist would passively be in his environment, breathing in and out and wouldn’t intervene’. As a painter you can be a little more in control. That not only feels great, it is necessary to make my work the way it is. Naturally, during the process coincidences happen, ‘happy accidents’ as Bob Ross called them (!), but the creator can always decide whether it ‘s desirable or not. To me that’s what makes this profession very intriguing.’