A Daring Portrait – Niels de Jong

Cadillac has teamed up with Dutch multidisciplinary artist Niels de Jong for a special workshop at Cadillac House Munich. During this “Character Portrait Painting” workshop, he shared his design tips on how to create and design your very own character in the artist’s distinctive style.

He-man, Thundercats, the Goonies and the Neverending story – these are just some of the iconic fictional heroes and stories Niels de Jong draws his inspiration from. In his artwork, he strives to combine those childhood memories and his love for nature with the fastidious preciseness and penchant for all things technical that stem from his architectural background.

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Growing up in a family of creatives, Niels has always been surrounded and influenced by creativity in various forms – whether it was watching his father paint and sketch or spending time at his grandparents woodworking shop. So it does not come as a surprise that Niels already created his first piece of art, when he was only four years old. And he hasn’t stopped doing so until this very day.

"Through my artwork, I like to express my view of the world – and to convey a sense of adventure and exploration."

During his schooling and studying years, Niels was involved in different disciplines such as graphic design, 3D modeling, architecture and woodworking. He eventually graduated from the University of the Arts in Utrecht with a degree in Urban Interior Architecture. But instead of pursuing a career as an architect, Niels took a daring step and decided to focus on illustrations and painting.

Urban meets nature

After having gone through several stages of experimenting with different styles and techniques, Niels still felt like he was yet not achieving his full potential on canvas. Consequently, he went back to the style he had developed during his Urban Interior Architecture studies – a style as organized and structured as himself. So he started creating characters consisting of different elements merging together, treating each one as an architectural element, built up in layers and shapes to create new dimensions.

Within his artwork all of the lines are connected somehow, so if one was to be removed, the entire composition would become undone, just like the construction of a building – or a prestige vehicle such as the Cadillac CT6. From its bold-faced grille to its sleek, integrated rear spoiler, the look is hard to resist. And impossible to mistake. Aluminum, chrome and signature lights; lines, curves and sweeping planes. Every element comes together seamlessly to create an understated, yet riveting exterior.

"Painting is a very personal happening. It comes from an idea that starts in your head without anybody knowing about it."

Besides painting with acrylics, Niels has specialized in yet another artistic discipline, in which he can put all of his skills to work: the art of sculpting. When creating a sculpture, the creative process is not reduced to painting, but also includes working with wood and building up different layers of fabric in order to make everything become alive and imbue it with that extra dash of personality.

Both his paintings and sculptures are characterized by a daring combination of colorful geometric and organic shapes, provoking a feeling of discovery and adventure every time you look at it.

From October 4 – October 8, 2017, Niels de Jong’s work will be on display at STROKE, Germany’s most successful art fair for young, contemporary art.

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related articles:
The Art of Daring – STROKE
The First-Ever CT6: Power and Performance