Persona January, 4th 2019 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 195 - Nicko Christiansen

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 195 – Nicko Christiansen
I saw beautiful works by Nicko Christiansen at the ‘Nicko Christiansen Blues art’ exhibition at Marcello’s Art Factory and Rock Gallery. Music and musical instruments were his inspiration, I saw. Not strange for someone who has been a musician all his life. I made an appointment to find out more about his paintings.

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A week after the opening I am in his house in Scheveningen. Green stools with paintings on it and on the walls some of his cheerful, multicolored works in which there is always a musical instrument to discover.
A box with paint equipment
It all started in October / November 2008, he says. “A good friend of mine, Marcellus Hoornweg, told me ‘Shouldn’t you give painting a try’? He is a painter himself, most of his work is in the style of Rembrandt. He also looks like a 17th century man. We used to have the same long hairs, nowadays it has faded with me. He was a fan of my band ‘Livin’ Blues’ and was also a driver of our drummer. He also drummed himself. I was busy with music, rehearsing, touring all my time. Did I have time for that? “

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But Marcellus was resolute. He gave Nicko a box with acrylic paint, brushes, a large and a small easel and invited him to work together in the studio in Hoogvliet near Rotterdam. They drew a pyramid there that they were going to paint. Nicko: “I did it very carefully. But Marcellus flung a few clumps of paint at the drawing. “You should not be too frugal, my friend.” Then I learned the importance of spontaneity and action.

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Rock and Blues
One of the few things that Nicko (Scheveningen, 1950) liked at primary school in Scheveningen was drawing. The teacher thought he had a great imagination and thought of a possible continuation of Nicko at the Art Academy. But the music drew more. In 1960 he heard Little Richard on the radio and he became interested in black rock. And when he heard real blues a few years later, he was sold. With John Lagrand he formed the blues duo Indiscrimination.
And then his music career got off to a good start with the band Livin’ Blues that had hits like ‘wang dang doodle’ in 1970, ‘lb boogie’, 1971 and ‘black liza’, 1972. It was a wonderful time. The band played in the Netherlands and the rest of the world, especially Eastern Europe. In Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia the band was part of what was considered to be the Western underground: Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones and Livin ‘Blues. “In The Hague we practiced in Club 192. Our favorite bar was The Factory in the Prinsestraat. It was a lot of fun, even the boys from the other bands were walking around.” The top years lasted until the disco era began: 1975.

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Nicko: “The disco has killed a lot of live music.” He takes new steps and finds the joy of playing back in Dr.Bongobrain. We see him with a doctor’s mirror on his head and hat. “The songs spontaneously popped out of my mind.” At Radio he starts to present a music program. Livin’ Blues continues touring and has a performance in the majestic Svetlanov Theater in Moscow in 2000.

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Meanwhile, when he was on the phone, he always made ‘doodles’, drawings with many round lines in which occasionally a person or instrument appeared. He read many comic books, had a whole collection and particularly liked the stories of Heer Bommel and Tom Poes. At a certain moment, it was 2012, he started coloring the doodles with felt pen. He made them bigger, with the effect that the faces, saxophones, guitars and drum sets became visible. He experimented a lot. It was sometimes almost abstract. The guitar was ideal, with a little imagination it was a woman. The bodies of persons initially consisted of an arm and a hand. The colors were sometimes fluorescent. The eyes and mouth were sometimes above or below. The eyes were initially light with an edge of shadow. Only later did the eyes open up. “I saw that an open eye gives life to a figure, especially when you touch a white dot in a black pupil. I got the comment, especially by women, that there were too many eyes.”

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The painting room

We walk to his painting room. It is at the same time his practice room for music. There are four saxes next to each other, a soprano, alto, tenor and a baritone. His hat (one of his many hats) is also painted. There are masks on the wall, I see an Indian chief painted in acrylic, as is the case in all his paintings. We also walk all the way up to the attic. A folding staircase goes down and then we stand between all the things that have to find a good place after his move of a year ago from the city center of The Hague to Scheveningen. He also works here sometimes and wants to paint more often when the winter is over.
The theme in his paintings is still music. “I am a musician and I think like a musician. There is a big difference between music and painting. Every second is decisive in music. If you hesitate for a second in music, it feels like an offense, a disturbance. It does not matter with painting. In the course of time you become more convenient, you make certain lines. Now it sometimes goes the abstract way. In the beginning there was more spontaneity. If I want more spontaneity now, I’ll take a drop of cannabis oil. Then I’m going to paint crackling stoned and then something special comes out. “

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Yin and Yang
Has he exhibited a lot? “I have exhibited in a number of cafés, including the Syndicate in the Nieuwe Molstraat, where we also played a lot. And in the Utrecht Jaarbeurs (fair). The director was a Livin’ Blues fan. I even got two stands for two days. I have sold a lot to foreigners, including in Russia and Eastern Europe. With Livin’ Blues Xperience, the successor to Livin’ Blues since 2005, we often went in those directions, but also to other countries such as Spain, Scandinavia, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia and Thailand. “

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The music brought an unhealthy and irregular life with it. He already did Kempo and karate, in 1968, when he was 17/18. In 1975 he became acquainted with Tai Chi. As a matter of course, he started to live a more regular life. About fifteen years ago he deepened even more into Eastern philosophy and Eastern martial arts, particularly in Taoism and Zen Buddhism. “I learned about Yin and Yang. Then you discover that there are not only positive things, nor just negative things. There is also something positive in all negatives. It is the battle between the light and the dark, people can never do without a fight, but the light gives hope. “

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1 – 4) Nicko Christiansen, Blues Art , 5) Nicko Christiansen, photo Robert van den Andel, 6) Livin’ Blues 1971, LB Boogie, 7) Livin’ Blues Xperience, 8) Nicko Christiansen in action, 9 – 10 ) LivinBluesXperience

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