Thursday Salute to Originals: Vanguard Sculptures
Why do you create art? Is it fun – Do you like using your imagination – Do you try to invoke an emotional reaction in your viewers? Henk Hofstra, an artist in the Netherlands, creates large-scale environmental sculptures and paintings throughout various towns. His objectives are simple: View the art for what it is, make a statement, and accept it.
The image below captures Hofstra’s work “Art Eggcident.” There are 18 eggs in all in Wilhelmina Square, totaling 14,000 sq ft. The eggs range from 30 meters in diameter, to 7.5 to 2.3. The larger eggs are painted flat on the ground, while the smaller yolks are three-dimensional. They raise up so viewers can climb on them and snap some photos.
Each of Hofstra’s works eventually fade away due to the everyday wear and tear of the environment surrounding the art. The paint will start to dissipate after cars and feet have traveled over it hundreds of thousands of times. No upkeep is provided.
Perhaps Hofstra’s most famous work, “The Blue Road,” was created on a road in Drachten to remind citizens of the water pathway that once used to inhabit it. The road was painted entirely blue to symbolize the water and stretches 1,000 meters long and 8 meters wide. The bright blue of the road drastically contrasts with the gray of the cityscape. “WATER IS LEVEN” (translating to “WATER IS LIFE”) is painted along the blue road in hopes that a future canal will bring life back to the city of Drachten. The city originally planned to have a canal built in 2008, but the project has since been delayed due to funding issues.
Hofstra added a detail in the work, displaying a blue car being swallowed into the river. This sends the message that the city’s future river way will reclaim the road that was paved in its place.
“Above Water” features a 1,500 square meter blue square, with a 5 meter high human head extending from the center of it. The blue is symbolic for water and reaches all the way up to the lips of the head. On top of the head is a smaller statue of a man holding a briefcase. Hofstra drew his inspiration for this work from George Orwell, who said, “Most people keep their heads above water, but some people keep their heads above water more than others.”
This Thursday, we salute Henk Hofstra for challenging our imagination and visual perception; for making us question social norms; and for being a friend to the environment. We ask you again: Why do you create art?
Do you really need a reason?