LUC LEESTEMAKER BIOGRAPHY STATEMENT MEDIA ARCHIVE
Luc Leestemaker (1957-) Dutch/American, grew up in the Netherlands, where interests in art, theater and communication led him into such diverse professions as remedial teacher; founder of an Amsterdam based performing arts center; founder of the European art collective “Hart Poetry;” founder and editor of a monthly business and arts magazine; and managing director of “ Leestemaker & Associates ,” a consulting firm specializing in arts' marketing, financing, and public relations. But it would be Leestemaker's long-standing interest in painting (his grandfather and great-grandfather were artists), that would ultimately command his devotion.
Throughout the years he subconsciously knew that he needed time to build the psychological framework for his art. Upon moving to the US in 1990, Leestemaker felt he was ready to fully commit to painting. Not unlike other European and Dutch artists, (particularly Willem de Kooning), living and working in the US, created a dramatic transition. His stylistic journey would take him from early inspiration by the CoBrA movement; through densely abstract expressionist art compositions; to the current “ Inner Landscape ” and “ Transfigurations ” Series, which are situated on the borderline of realism and abstraction and inspired both by Mark Rothko and 18 th Century Dutch and English landscape painters (notably Ruysdael, Constable).
The larger canvases are first treated with a –thin- cement layer mixed with raw pigment powder, then worked into with acrylic paint and finished with an oil based varnish. This fresco technique on the canvas creates a layered luminous sense of the work which seemingly changes in different shades of light. The smaller canvases making up the sets of the “ Inner Landscapes ” are made with the palette knife, and create a rich, layered look to the work. Landscapes have become Leestemaker's preferred subject matter as he feels that it is in these ‘atmospheric landscapes' that he can both express his emotion/intuition of the abstract compositions as well as the universally understood language of landscape painting.
Leestemaker sees the role of the artist as the shaman, or the Greek priest, translating the message of the gods into worldly understood action and matter. The painter does this visually. The tragic mistake of the romantic idea of the artist is that he has lost half of this message. This has cast the artist in the eternal role of the outsider, where as Leestemaker believes that the role of the artist is to fill the world with spirituality and make it whole. He does not subscribe to the recent 19 th /20 th century romantic notion that the artist must be a solitary, suffering individual who locks himself away in a state of despair, creating art that can only be understood by a select few. He has often found that the limitations and challenges in collaborating with a multitude of disciplines (developer, architect, designer art-consultant), become very rewarding when new solutions or ideas come out as a result of those challenges. Those solutions and challenges become part of the development and creative process reflected in his own artwork in the studio.
His openness to collaboration has led to installations in locations such as Miramax Films, the Bellagio Hotel & Casino, the MGM Hotel & Casino and the International Airport in Las Vegas, The Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, The Newman Scoring Stages at Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, The Omni Hotel in San Diego, Four Seasons Hotel, Bahamas, the Miyako Hotel and Mitsubishi in Tokyo, Japan.
His work has over the years been featured in numerous film and television production, such as “Bringing Down The House,” “Spiderman,” “Erin Brockovitch,” “Simone,” America's Sweethearts,” “Shopgirl” a.o. His paintings are exhibited by galleries around the world. Comprehensive retrospective Museum solo exhibitions were scheduled for the artist in the main exhibition hall at the Bakersfield Museum of Art in California and the West Valley Art Museum in Phoenix AZ, in 2004.
2004 saw the publication of his second, hard bound book, “Luc Leestemaker / Paintings;” released by SWC Art Publishers. The documentary “Swimming Through The Clouds; a Portrait of the Artist,” about Leestemaker's life and work, directed by Ruy Carpenter, has been selected for screening at a number of film festivals and was recently released on dvd.
When not traveling Luc Leestemaker lives and works in Los Angeles, California.