All your life: what's that?

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Henny Hinten and Paul Bakker in Studio in The Hague, 1975. What does it mean when you say: I've known this or that 'all my life'? I have been in my body all of my life. I have known some people all of my life: My older brother Norman, my older sister Margarethe. The younger sisters, Ursula and the late Johanna I have known most of my life. Even one's mother you don't know all of your life if she has died, like my mother died a few years ago at 92. Clemens I have known since I was 7, Henny Hinten and Peter Meerman most of my life, half my life. I was 28 when I met Henny and two years later Peter. They still live together.Peter designed my first web site.
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Henny I met when he was an 18 year old stumbling athletic kid. When he was about 20 he started to help me with my work. Undercoating and stitching things on canvasses at a time when I loved 'hiding' things in my work. Good letters, bad letters, personal objects. Even, while in a strange mood, I stitched in a painting a banknote, A 10 guilder note. BTW, Henny and Peter have the largest collection of my work.

Why I could work so easily with Henny was because he didn't make suggestions while I was working. He simply liked doing what he was doing for me after he came back from work (mental health nursing). "Het is goed, schat" was his reply to many questions. In a soft southern Dutch accent.

I met my mentor Dick Loef when I was 20. A girl called Wiep Munter was my buddy, helper and sometime 're-director' when I was 25. Jeremy Leidstar, a friend who showed me things but didn't like my paintings came into my life at 18.

We all have people who have had an influence on our 'selfs'. People you don't even know can be of an immeasurable value to you. I had a 'brush' with Rudolf Steiner and Ives Klein. A youthful recalcitrance about the Bauhaus group. Mainly because a smart and intellectual teacher told me: 'Burn your brushes and paints, Paul. Technology will take over'. It was the beginning of the computer age. He was wrong, thank God! Minimalism, conceptual art, body art, political art, expressionism etc., etc. all had its influence on me and what am I now. I like to think I am an onlooker. I sit and paint on the periphery.


Great article, thanks for sharing!