Persona June, 17th 2021 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 319 - Pascal ‘Tanna’ Tan

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 319 – Pascal ‘Tanna’ Tan
In the O.D. Gallery in Amsterdam I saw Pascal Tan’s artworks in the exhibition ‘Coming Together’. Pascal makes beautiful collages in color and in black and white. Next to that he is an avid skater and he also presents a television program in the Netherlands.

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How did that come about? Pascal: “Since I was young, rollerblading has always been a passion of me ( Because of rollerblading I literally rolled into the world of television where I now work as a presenter for the Dutch program called Klokhuis. Thanks to that job I got in touch with a lot of other subjects/jobs.”

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Trip to Thailand
One of those subjects was art. “For some reason the art scene always had something magical I couldn’t get off my mind. To live a life full of creativity and be the director of your own creations without interference of a superior, that’s just pretty fucking amazing!”
At that time he did not know exactly what form it would take. That only became clear after he came back from Thailand. “I came back from a beautiful trip to Thailand together with my girlfriend (3 years ago). When we came back I immediately met the spiritual leader of the Native Americans, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, for a presenting task (jet lag included). He really inspired me with his way of thinking and his wife Jadina Lilien who was an artist (painter) stayed at our house in Amsterdam for a few more nights. Then the idea started to create something myself. “

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The first collage
He bought some LPs because he liked the covers (without having a vinyl record player) and he still had some money from Thailand. “With those two elements I made my first collage. Everything fell into place and I thought; This is the feeling of freedom I want everyday! The idea of having my own exposition one day instantly gave me a big smile. With some of my works in the O.D. Gallery it’s a perfect start and I feel blessed already.”

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How would he describe his theme? Pascal: “Although my work often has a critical touch to society I try not to think in themes or concepts too much. It’s more like a critical wink with a positive vibe (also to myself): ‘You know how you live your life, but there are so many other ways, enjoy the ride’. I started making art, because it brings me into the present moment and that’s actually my biggest life goal. Don’t think about the past too much or worry about the future, just enjoy the Now.”
That’s why he loves serendipity: “”Getting brilliant insights by ‘accident’ without looking for it”. In my opinion you can’t really call it an accident. If you’re living in the now and following the flow the most beautiful inventions/creations/ideas will just find it’s way naturally. That’s when magic starts to happen and also why I try to never make a plan before making something. The more I start to think the more I feel restricted. I always make my best works when I feel aligned and focused after an experience which made my mind shift. This can be a good trip, but also a more volatile happening.”

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What does he get inspired by? “My inspiration comes from everything around me. Sometimes I find it by walking through the city and keeping my senses open to the ambiance, but it can also derive from nature, colours, a smell, pictures, dreams/visions, people etc. What I make really depends on my mood and environment, but it’s also depending on the materials. For example; I’m currently working with photo books of the Naked Eye Project. A book with hundreds portraits made by artist Nathan Mooij. In that way I started the ‘An Eye For An Eye’ series. Normally this saying has a negative connotation, but in here it’s about sharing each other’s eyes and therefore we’re all a reflection of each other’s soul. The next exposition of the Naked Eye Project will be in Fotomuseum Maastricht and they will also show some of my works. Really looking forward to that!”

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Key work
Does he have a key work, a work that caused a change in his oeuvre or a work that is etched in his brain? He has. “One of my key works is ‘Rebirth’. I went to five different book stores in Amsterdam. Finding good materials is a big part of my process. I didn’t have anything specific in mind. However, I just couldn’t find the right book. In the end of the day I went back to the store where I started, De Slegte at Vijzelstraat, as one last try and found out they had an extra floor (it can happen to the best of us). That’s where I found a secondhand book about human anatomy made for artists. I used almost every page of the book and it took about a week before the work was finished. You just know it when you made something special.”
This wasn’t the only time he experienced this astounding feeling. Another key work is ’Totem’. “It’s a tiger’s face (LP cover) mixed with a robot (LP cover) and money from foreign countries. I made this and knew it had a lot of potential, but couldn’t find the right background. Then a year later I made a random background out of pictures of Michelangelo’s church in Rome mixed with an air photo of suburban homes. This proved to be the perfect background to finish the piece. ​From a symbolic perspective the work contains so many contradictory elements, yet it mingles so well together, almost hard to believe. Sometimes you just need some patience. This is also a perfect example of serendipity.”

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Indian temple
Although most of the works described above are black and white his oeuvre is mainly coloured: “I love to work with vivid colours, because it makes you feel a live. An example of a colourful piece is ‘Return to Paradise’. I got inspired by a fascinating picture of a bright coloured Indian temple. The best colours are definitely born in nature and I’m certain nature’s allure also had a big influence on the temple, so I instantly grabbed some books of wildlife photographers. When I put this art piece on the wall it lights up the room and makes me feel more at home.” Together with The Friendly, an education puzzle company, he wants to transform this artwork into a puzzle: “It’s a good way to make art accessible. This piece will be the first try-out and solving an art-puzzle is a fun way to dive in the mind of the creator”.

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A mirror of life
Does he have a nice philosophical last word? “As you can see in my works, a lot of them don’t really have logic, even I couldn’t reproduce them, but there’s always some kind of balance. In that way it’s a mirror of life. I always try to learn something from my own art. Sometimes ​by looking at it when it’s finished, but also a lot of times during the process of creating.”
And he has one very last word: “I really want to thank two amazing women. To start (what a cliché) my mother, Dingena Mol. She helped me really well with all professional pictures of the artworks! And my wife Janna Stam for building the website and all the support building this new career. Thanks for believing in me!”

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Images: 1) The Butterfly Effect, 2) Totem, 3) Rebirth, 4) Return to Paradise, 5) 9 to 5, 6) Dance with your Demons, 7) Siyo Nqoba, 8) Hey by Rui Reis Maia, 9) Pascal Tanna Tan looking at his artworks, photo by Dingena Mol, 10) Temple Colours India

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