Corona and the theme masks

I’ve always had an above-average interest in faces and masks. However, with the arrival of the Coronavirus in the first months of 2020, this took on a new turn. Like everyone else, I was under the spell of the fear of this disease for the first months. But gradually this took a different form and the fear disappeared and I started to wonder more and more if the measures were not worse.

The dangerous virus has now led to 3 lockdowns and also seems to rob us of our common sense. Collective fear beats every healthy thought and we only know one mantra: vaccination. There is no more room to think for yourself and for ideas that deviate from the rhetoric of the government. We only walk into a store wearing masks and wash our hands. In barely half a year we lose the freedom of going to school together, the freedom to protest, to walk freely into a shop, to go to a bar or to eat something in a restaurant or a cinema. Holidays are a threat, festivals are a danger, as are parties. And we do our jobs from home without meeting with our colleagues. Humans are contagious and therefore dangerous. The new normal.

I have the feeling that we have taken a wrong path, leading to a dead end and that it is time for reflection. As I said, we lost our sanity. But of course there is the other side, for a good cause, to spare the ICs and for grandfather and grandmother …

Still there are other and in my opinion better ways to manage this virus and the impact and risks for public health, without degenerating into these frenetic rules.

Those healthmasks did make me think. I am not a rebellious type, I will not easily resist by, for example, entering a store without a mask. It quickly became commonplace. But for me, it is a monstrosity. The interaction between people is different, there is easily misunderstanding, it is stuffy and you miss the facial expression in someone’s face. And, as health studys show, it has virtually no effect on the spread. It is a behavioral experiment, an experiment to change our behavior, because otherwise we would forget about the rules and not keep a distance of 1.5 m.

But those masks also inspired me. Because I realized that I almost always put on a mask when I go out on the street. As a kind of self-protection. And you see masks everywhere. Wherever people are, there are masks. In politics, on TV, in advertising. There is little that is real in this world. We feign politeness, a laugh, and think otherwise. Fake tits fake lips, a fake smile and pretended appearance. The world is made of plastic and is hidden behind a mask. And so suddenly a very rich source of inspiration has been tapped. Many sketches from the last year deal with this theme.


I remember from my childhood that my father took me and my brothers to the fields near a moor close to Oirschot in the south of Holland. We got up very early to see some grouse in the distance. That was in the 1980s. Those grouse have disappeared, just like the heather that was still there at the time. Because of the mega stables and the emission of ammonia from agriculture. Those grouse were the last of the mohicans, because after that they disappeared from Brabant quite quickly. It is a shock to realize that the destruction of nature is also taking place so close to home and continues to this day. And that no one seems to really care and think about it.

That interest and feeling for nature has always been there and is also reflected in my paintings and drawings. That love for nature and everything that lives. I got that from my parents.

I believe that everything that lives occupies a unique place in nature and deserves its place (you could say it is entitled to its own house) and that every form of life is something to be frugal with. This often plays a role in my paintings and drawings. In the design and composition and in the subjects. The way we shape our environment reflects our views on this. A society that destroys its own natural environment cannot be called civilization.