Work Story: Always Look (on the Bright Side of Life)

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Computer Drawing, Laminated Print, 1999

Life of ...

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is a famous song for those who know the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979). 

Always look on the bright side of life. (Whistle). 
Always look on the light side of life. (Whistle)

Which is what we can train ourselves. And I show this in the drawing. 
This drawing was made on the computer in 1996 and then printed and laminated in 1999.

At first glance, an easy and bright yellow computer drawing. With two yellow strokes. One bright and strong. The right one is also yellow but paler and more small. Yet in itself a good color too.

A female neutral-looking face. But if we look at the eyes. We see one eye wide open with curiosity, with a few black crowlike eyelashes left. The other eye on the right has the black mascara (or dirt) cried out. 

Families and how to survive them

The book: Families and how to survive them, was written by Dr. Robin Skynner and John Cleese, who co-founded Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the movie Life of Brian. 

And although his artistic work is super funny (to some). It is also helpful and sound advice, in my opinion. To every coin, there is a flipside. Perhaps we can train ourselves to always look for the positive aspects of certain situations.

Silkscreen/Mix of 4 Postcards

1: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

2: You’re Welcome

3: Ergere dicht nicht, wundere dich nur. 

4: Zodiac Carpet

On this silkscreen is a mix of four postcards. Starting with on the top left again: 1. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Which is in the West the dominant way of reading a paper. With perhaps for me the most important message positioned first.

You're Welcome

Around 1996, I started to experiment with working on the computer. You’re Welcome was initially a digital drawing for the carpet named You’re Welcome. It came from a computer-animated drawing.

You’re Welcome was made for Alex de Vries, who was in 1999 vice director of the art academy, where I was an art student. I think I dare to say that he was one of the few, if not maybe the only one, who probably saw my drive and ambition and was not repelled by it or scared or jealous. No, he was curious. And not only with me. I remember he occasionally came walking through the building and seeing all the students’ art.—He was interested

He and his wife had bought a small dog from the streets called Tiza (RIP 2009). At that time, I had a dog too, Kay (RIP 3.4.2008). And he gave their dog a new and loving home. They made their dog feel welcome. And by commissioning me for this artwork, I think not only the dog but also I felt welcome. And it is such a great feeling when someone truly welcomes you. When you feel you are accepted as you are. 

We love Dogs (and cats too)

Tiza’s fur was light yellow. But dogs themselves can also be the light in our life. In the for the rest perhaps psychological challenging environment. So Tiza herself is also drawn in a purple background. And because yellow and purple are complementary colors on the color wheel, like red and green, makes the dog stand out. And the red exclamation mark expresses it loud and clear, the dog has been rescued! It is a fact. It is true. The dog is safe now and for the rest of the dog’s life. On the road that lays ahead, they will walk together. It is now a mutual one road. 

The word, Welcome, is depicted in a field of green as if it is a doormat. When you enter many people’s homes, there is often in front of the door a mat with welcome on it. Tiza was warmly welcomed inside. And it is green since it is like the grass where dogs like to play on. And it also relates to naivety and health, which dogs have and bring.

Ergere dicht nicht, wundere dich nur.

The 3rd postcard (on the bottom left) is available as a silkscreen in different sizes: Postcard (small). Medium (A3) and large

This mixed up sentence comes from, Nicht Ärgern nur Wundern. Which is is a German saying. It means: Don’t get annoyed, be amazed

The face is drawn with the same blue pen as is the sentence and the work Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. With here and there some white gaps. These might show a mixture of confusion, sadness, hope, and surprise. Around the face and text, I have drawn a black frame. 

The smile I have stretched and colored red. The red almost touches the right eye, which is colored black. 

The bright yellow background could stand for humor, the sun, and happiness. And almost the whole silkscreen is imbued with this yellow color. Like a yellow swamp, I want to suck you into this!

In this silkscreen postcard version, there is a red line next to the blue. Also, around the black frame, there are some other colors visible. 

4. Zodiac Carpet

In the book Zodiac Carpet—From Art to Z, I show the whole process. From the initial concept, pictures of the drawings, twelve small paintings, and finally how to the Zodiac carpet was made in the social workplace of the Millenerpoort.

Each of the twelve fields shows one astrological sign. The idea behind the work is that we are all human and yet different. But also, that qualities you have can be found in someone else, and vice versa. So we are all diverse but the same too in many aspects.


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