THE INTERVIEW WITH
"As a child I always had my eyes at the ground searching for things I could use to build stuff from. I would go on construction sites to pick up nails and wood that was discarded and build whatever I could think of...."
First, wanna intro yourself?
Hi Jakob. My name is Marcel but as artist I use the name Perishable Rush. I always liked that name. I thought it would be the best name for a band but as I’m not musically at all I just used it as I started to present my art. I like how it triggers a conversation with people.
I’m always busy with design and art. There's not much room for anything else. Music is also very important to me. I always have music playing in my studio. I use it to get in the right state of mind. I like to explore new music, and I also love that it can set me back in time. Music is so powerful to trigger emotions. And I live in a quiet town in the middle of the Netherlands...
Tell us, how did it all begin…
I grew up in a small village near a city. As a child I always had my eyes at the ground searching for things I could use to build stuff from. I would go on construction sites to pick up nails and wood that was discarded and build whatever I could think of. I rebuild the scenes from star wars from packing material and stuff like that. Always reusing what was available. Building my own toys. It’s natural to me to see the beauty in what others see as trash or discard and throw away.
I think we live in a overhyped overstressed society where focus is on speed - being successful and famous and rich as quick as possible. I would like people, myself included, to be more relaxed and focus on things that actually matter in life. This is something that is the foundation of my work. Expressing what I think needs to be told. Not just make a pretty picture but adding layers.
What's the best ‘hiding spot’ you know of?
The best spots are at the edges of the city where there is some decay and the governments are somehow more loose. City centers are mostly very neat and clean where as other areas are more sloppy. These are the most vibrant and interesting areas for me. You’ll find more street art and graffiti in those areas. The people are more in control. The environment in not under commercial control. Every city has those spots. And in those areas you can find these somewhat forgotten buildings or doors where someone starting pasting up and everyone tagged along and made this art oasis.
These are also the areas where I can find the most interesting material. I like my material decayed and sunkissed. The longer it has been out there the more interesting it gets. Posters on the city center walls are too new and too fresh. They don’t stay up long. Whereas at the edge of the city you have these forgotten walls and abandoned buildings where poster are stuck one over another for months and sometimes years - with layers of graffiti in between. These are my favorite spots. I like my material to have a lot of character!
I had this spot in Amsterdam we called peperbus. It’s a round metal column where one can paste up posters. This particular one had 40 cm thick layer of posters on it. As I cut the posters all the way to the core and pealed the layer of in my studio I could date back the oldest poster almost 10 years. Like the year rings on a tree. That is magic to me.
But these spots are rare. Sourcing material is like a treasure hunt you never know what you’ll find. You’ll never know what's between all the layers of posters. Every city and every wall is different with its own level of decay and color scheme. This makes going abroad so interesting. Every city has its own characteristics. Berlin for example has a lot of brick walls. When pealing of posters you’ll find the imprint of the bricks at the back of the posters creating very nice textures that are typical for Berlin.
Your masks and portraits... Can you tell us more about ‘the why’ of it all?
My portraits are about admiration and my masks are about inspiration. In my portraits I pay homage to characters that have somehow inspired me. Like musicians and artists. I try to capture their characteristics as minimalistic as I can. Leaving out any unnecessary lines, peeling off every layer until the true essence. Making icons of iconic people.
In my masks I respond to things I see going in society like consumer culture and capitalism. I want to provoke thoughts and trigger the audience to question the issues I address.
And which was your favourite 'icon' to portray?
That’s a tough one. I very much liked working on the Yolandi Visser from Die Antwoord portrait. While working on this piece I noticed her hair which is very iconic - it looked a bit like the manes of a lion. I exaggerated that to emphasize this. Which I think was a very nice effect as she’s a powerful lyricist from South Africa. Their first albums and clips were very inspiring to my and I had theirs music banging through my studio speakers when working on my first ski mask series that I presented.
When did you know that art was your calling - when it was not just a hobby?
That was when I started exhibiting my work in 2013. At that time I was confident enough to put it out in the world. I had my first group-show at the Go Gallery in Amsterdam. Go Gallery has a focus on street art and I felt like my art was a good match. I reached out to Oscar and Farud and they were very enthusiastic and asked me to participate in the next group show.
And since then... How has your pieces and overall work changed over the years?
It has changed a lot. I started making stencils and screenprints. It was more traditional collages were I would mix images together to create a story. Much like hip hop I would mix existing images, cut them up and create something new. I still work that way but not in the ‘traditional’ way.
At one point when working on my first portrait I needed a background and started tearing test prints to pieces and rearranged the pieces to get this raw background. At one point I was walking in Amsterdam and spotted this poster spot full of old posters. I filled my bags with those posters and that was the starting point if working with found material. It lead me to a new visual language that is now somewhere between traditional collage and street art. I call it urban collage.
So - the world needs more of… and less of…
The world needs more of art. In the Netherlands the government has been cutting in cultural budgets for many years now. Every city needs cultural free havens where art can flourish and bloom.
We need less focus on return on investment. Not everything has to be and can be measured in commercial success or constant growth. Capitalism is a dead end. We’re using everything up. Balance is lost.
And last… Which question we should have asked you? And what would be your answer.
Which masks do you wear in personal life? I went through a hard reset a few years ago. Which made me go back to basics. What do I want and what do I need to have a meaningful life. Instead of just following and going with the flow I try to take more control. To create a life I can call my own. I’m no stranger to any human emotion and I also am sensitive to capitalist temptations. In my art I want to inspire the viewer to think and rethink how we live.