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  • Writer's pictureKOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH

"Every medium has its own challenges" • Addik Zwiers






Make your day more pleasant with an inspirational interview we prepared for you. This time, we asked questions to a talented artist, Addik Zwiers, who lives in Turkey with his wife and little daughter.


More than forty years have passed since the realization of the very first pictures, which this talented portraitist created at a really early age with finger paints and crayons. “Step by step, and throughout the years, I have improved my craft and found the subjects and materials I find most suitable to my taste,“ shares Addik his story with us.








How long have you been dedicating yourself to fine arts, and when did you start with portraiture?


As mentioned above, as far as I can remember I have been interested in making my own art. I have always enjoyed the arty parts at school; making an assignment for one of the lessons or even choosing art as an exam subject in high school. After high school, I went and attended a few years at a Graphite School in Amsterdam but I did not finish that education because it did not meet my expectations. Still, that time taught me a lot and was a good learning curve.


To answer the question, about when it all started, for sure I can say that it must be at least 25 years ago that I really started showing interest in drawing portraits.





If you had to name three main features of your work, what would they be?


I do think the main feature of my work is the huge diversity of materials I use to create my portraits. It's not one particular medium or paper I stick to, I use a wide range to express my artistic skills and what suits best for a particular portrait. I do think beforehand about how I can bring over an expression, an emotion, or feeling.


Also it is that I try to catch the essence of a portrait instead of going too much into details. Yes, details are important but I am not trying to make a hyperrealistic portrait.


And the last thing is the way I use my colours and especially in combination with them, I try to use unconventional colours with either or making a contrasting palette with the colours next to another, for example, the blues and purples next to tonal skin colour. The colour black I try to avoid as much as possible this way.





You realize both color and black-and-white pictures. Which of these two color options is closer to you?


As of today, I would say colour cause it brings more to the mix, an extra flavor to the process of making my art. But for sure I will combine them, to keep the excitement and creative flow going and have every time a challenge while creating a coloured or black and white drawing.



What do you enjoy the most about creating portraits?


Well as mentioned above, it's kind of the technicality of it. A thing that you can only learn by practice and keep on trying. Cause looking back, the portraits that I have created in the past are not bad but there are so many "mistakes" compared to what I am doing now and what I now know.


Another aspect of why I like making portraits is the fun of creating. Making something that comes alive on paper, capturing the right features, gazing looking, and so on. That in the end, looking at the finished drawing, I have a feeling of being more than satisfied with the result and that I nailed it again.





Interesting point of view. Do you plan to change the subject in the future, or do you intend to continue with portraiture?


I don’t think I will change my subject in the near future, at the moment I am content with it. In the years I have been busy making art, I have tried so many subjects but I felt most satisfied by creating a portrait. This is because I love the technicality of it. One slide line is wrong and the whole portrait is wrong. Of course, it is the artistic freedom that you have and personally as said I am not aiming for a hyperrealistic portrait. Maybe that is the only thing that I might intend in the future, to deepen my ability and pick diverse portraits; ethnic as well as gender.



How do you choose subjects for your pictures?


In the beginning, I just randomly picked a picture from a magazine or newspaper. But now it has become much easier due to the internet, especially all the content on social media. How do I find my main inspiration? The main inspiration can be the music of bands I listen to, a tv series or film character, or a photographer or photo that I come across.


Lately, I have been also asking for permission from photographers, if I am allowed to use their work as a reference to my work. The two last photographers that I asked were so kind as to send me an "original" photo to work from. This helps me a lot cause I like to magnify the portraits for details or raster them in Photoshop for the right measurement.





Do you have any favorite artists whose work we certainly shouldn't miss?


I can't think of any particular artist who needs a shout-out or is dearest to my heart. I would say have a look at my social networks, you might see the people I follow. Maybe there is one artist that you might also like.



Thank you for your tip. In your work, you use many art techniques. Which one do you like the most?


Indeed I use a lot of techniques and a wide range of mediums to express my portrait art. It is hard to choose one or pick a favourite. Because every medium has its own challenges. For instance, with watercolour or gouache, you never know how it will turn out, you do not really have control over them.

The reason that I use so many different mediums is that I like to keep myself focused and avoid dull moments while creating.


If I really need to pick one, at the moment I am totally in love with pastel, cause of the layering, the colours I can use and the softness of it, especially compared to graphite pencil or charcoal.




What products from Koh-i-noor have you had a chance to try?


My first encounter with a Kohinoor product was when I received a beautiful package of Mondeluz watercolour pencils from my wife. After receiving this gift my journey with Kohinoor started. As time passed by I started to use more and more products of Kohinoor; such as a Progresso 8b graphite pencil for the fine darker parts in graphite or a charcoal drawing. As I always loved the beauty of "black and white", I was thrilled to find out that Kohinoor released a 12 grey toned Toison pastel set. Wonderful for making those sketchy pastel drawings or in combination with other pastels or another medium.


As I liked the thickness of this pastel as well as the softness of these toison pastels I was already looking around for extending my pallette. As it is always with every medium, white is going faster than other colours. I found at some point a nice box of Toison pastel online, but the dealer sent me the wrong box of pastels, upon that I contacted Kohinoor to figure out if that was an original box. They responded immediately and showed great interest and they sent me a beautiful extended 48 Portrait set of Toison pastels. A million thanks for that, it made me make a big leap forward in creating my pastel drawings.



Nice to hear that! Do you like any of them so much you would recommend it to readers?


I would definitely recommend buying a Kohinoor product because of its great quality but it is a fair price for what you get.


If I need to pick out one of the Kohinoor products I use, I would now say my latest addition, the 48 portrait Toison set, is a great box with a wide range of colours. That saves you time and you can find the right colours that are essential for creating a portrait. But even the 12 grey-toned Toison box set is a beautiful tonal range, especially if you work on grey-toned paper as I do.





Your pictures are very elaborate. How long does their creation take on average?


This really depends on the portrait I create, how much time I give to myself, the size, or even the medium. It is a whole dance between so many factors that can play a role in how long I am busy. Most of the time with a sketchy drawing with pastel or graphite I spend around two hours at the max on it. But some drawings take up some time cause of certain circumstances, for instance, time to create, lightning, etc. For instance, the drawing of Amanda took me up to a year to complete. Of course I did not spend every day on it but it took me some time to complete because of all the floral patterns. But on average I would say 10 to 20 hours I spend creating my artwork.



Do you have time to create every day?


The time of creating every day, spending hours on a drawing has changed due to the fact that my 2-year-old daughter was born but also all the other household chores and such, that it became different. But still, I try to squeeze some creative time in per day but that is sometimes hard to do so. Luckily I have a supporting wife that gives me sometimes the time to do my creative outlet for at least 1-2 hours, and have a moment to myself to create and put something on paper.





What do you do with the finished pictures after their completion? Are they available for purchase, or do you keep them?


At the moment it is all stocked up and filling my bookshelves, and it's getting more and more by day. It is now for some time I have had the feeling that I am at that crossroads of selling my work or even making a beautiful print of it so it will be available for a larger number of people. The only obstacle for me is, how to do it. Cause I would love to sell if someone wants my work. Also making commission is an option that I consider more and more over. And really wanna give that a shot as well.



Last question is about your artistic plans for the future. Do you have any?


As mentioned above, I do hope in the near future to sell more of my work in any type of form or make a one-time art piece for a person who asked for it. Also, I like to showcase my work more around the world in a solo or group exhibition. And above all the best part would be, people buying my work and that I can support my living with it. But I guess that is a dream of every artist.




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