«Madre Tierra» by Tymon de Laat

Tymon de Laat Interview about his project «Madre Tierra»
21-08-2021

Name of the Street Art piece that has modified the urban space: Madre Tierra

Location : Rotterdam Noord, Bergweg

Year : 2018

1- If you had to choose a Street Art piece that you created, as a transformation of the urban space, which one would you choose? How does this Street Art piece denote urban space metamorphosis?

For me this would be the Madre Tierra wall.

Tymon de Laat – «Madre Tierra» @tymondelaat https://www.instagram.com/tymondelaat/?hl=fr

2- Why did you make this Street Art piece in this urban space? Was it the town hall or the property owner who authorized or asked you to create it? Can we consider this work as illegal/vandalism or legal, what is your criteria?

Most of the work i do is legal work, as i am not able to produce my work within a time frame that allows me to do it illegally. For my portraits i need several days to paint them.
For this wall i was approached by the owner who gave me full creative freedom. I wanted to make a work that was about the big mix of cultures within this area.

3- What is the message you want to communicate through this Street Art piece? Is it related to the urban space where you did it?

For me the madre tierra wall is a message from the mother earth paradise. A notion that all people despite their cultural, religious, ethnical differences, beliefs and appearances still belong to the same human kind and have to live under one roof. This planet is not ours but only borrowed from our following generations.

Tymon de Laat – «Madre Tierra» @tymondelaat https://www.instagram.com/tymondelaat/?hl=fr

4- How was this work integrated into the urban space? What was the interaction that the inhabitants of this city had with your project? Did they participate in its creation?

With the design of this wall there was creative freedom so no direct input from the community but I did keep them in mind when painting it.

5- Do you think it is important that the local people participate during the production of your work and that they become artists modifying the urban space or do you prefer to carry out your projects alone without anyone seeing you?

When painting a wall I like the communication with the surroundings and the people that live there, hear there personal stories and perhaps even take some portraits of them for future projects. That is of course if the deadlines permit this. As for the creative process after receiving a briefing/suggestions let’s say I like to come up with my own design without afterward having to change too much. Sometimes i have to remind myself and tem that the asked me to paint the wall because they appreciated the work i have done in the past an this new piece will be in line with my body of work.

Tymon de Laat – «Madre Tierra» @tymondelaat https://www.instagram.com/tymondelaat/?hl=fr

6- According to you, what is the criteria that determines your Street Art work modifies the urban space and why is your work considered aesthetically well done?

For me there are no hard criteria, each wall is a thing of it’s own. I like to exchange cultures and do so by painting different cultures in places where this portrait that I am painting perhaps is not so well represented. For example I painted a Polynesian girl on the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Carribean or a Mexican firefighter in the north of England. This way there is an element of surprise that hopefully can trigger some curiosity which can lead to a conversation.

7-What is the “historical future” of your work? Should we take care of it, preserve it and repaint it as if it were a museum’s piece of art? Or should it be allowed to age with the city itself?

 I don’t mind when wall are there for only a couple of years and it will disappear in time due to wear and tear. The ephemeral character of murals is something that gives it more value in my opinion, it lives on in the memory of people. For example if we could live for ever would life still be so interesting and meaningful?

8- How does your work add value to the urban space in which it is produced?

This is not for me to say, I have the intention to start a curiosity towards exploration of our world, experiencing how others live before judging them and general openness to other cultures. But how others see my work is really up to them. If this sparks an interest with the viewer that i would see this as a plus but not a must. Everybody is free to come up with their own interpretation of a work and is a reflection of their own thoughts.

9- What were the difficulties that you encountered during the completion of your work modifying the urban space?

Usually the biggest hurdle is to get the permission and budget for the wall, besides that the surface or weather conditions can sometimes throw a spanner in the works. Being flexible and finding the right solution for the execution without making compromises is a big part of my creative process and something I enjoy figuring out. Some one told me it is not whats happens to you but how you deal with it.

10- Why is urban art important to modify the urban space? What sort of projects are you planning to do in the future ?

Public art gives all people the chance to see things from a different perspective no matter if they can afford a painting in the livingroom or like to visit galleries or museums. If this is the first step to a wider interest in visual arts than if you ask me that is a step into the right direction. For me the future is fluid, i will most likely keep painting walls and canvasses but also be on the look out for new adaptations of the work i am currently making, let’s keep exploring and have an open mind.

Interview conducted by Art Bill – journalist and owner of Street Art In Action.

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