Tymon De Laat - Crossing Borders & Cultures

Since first seeing “Madre Tierra” online by someone, who at that time, was unknown to me I loved  the work.  It jumped right out at me, It looked stunning, the colours, the imagery the design and without knowing the message I knew I needed to know more.  Thats what good art does right? Captures you, drags you in and engages you.  Fast forwards 12 months and I am standing in front off the 12m x 15m epic i looked at on a tiny screen with my now good friend and creator of this most wonderful piece Tymon De Laat…what a journey!

Madre Tierra Rotterdam

It’s been a whirl wind 12 months for Landmark Street Art in many ways.  Firstly in our mission to raise awareness and get public art on the streets of our home city in the North off England, secondly in the shows  we have done (Moniker 2019 Chelsea London being the highlight), the journeys our work has  been lucky enough to takes on, so far racking up trips to Detroit, Washington, London, Rotterdam, Manchester and New York with artists and clients and finally the new artists we have managed to meet and work with along the way.  It is important to reflect on all this progress…when all I ever normally do is look forwards to all the exciting things I know we have planned for 2020!
But reflecting on what matters is a big theme for Tymon De Laat when it comes to the subject of his work and it is with this in mind we caught up with him in his Rotterdam studio to reflect plan and discuss all things that make up the world of big wall (and small canvas!) painting!

Chilling the Studio With Tymon Before Hitting POWWOW Rotterdam

Hi Tymon, so quite a year for both us, what have been the highlights for you?

Yes this has been quite the ride this year, which I am very thankful for. Painting travelling and meeting new friends like you make this artist life even better than crunching paintings in the studio. I would say that one of the highlights was making big walls in relatively small communities as the impact becomes even more tangible. Also having my work displayed with Landmarkstreet art at Moniker Londen is a blessing and they feel like the right steps to a bigger and more international art buyers community. Also starting to paint a series of 6 walls in the south of the Netherlands as part of my own street art route in the villages surrounding my dad birthplace has a very special meaning for me.

Obviously having you come paint ‘Bombero Silvestre’ in Carlisle was pretty special for me, how did you find the process of painting in a city where public art/street art was so new as a concept and culture?
                                                    Silvestre Painted in Carlisle UK 2019

This was truly an great start of the year. A bit cold and rainy at first but speaking to the locals and see their reactions to the work was a humbling experience wich made me forget the weather straightaway. What made it extra special was that the municipality of Carlisle also reached out to the fire department in Merida Mexico where I had the pleasure of portraying Silvestre the firefighter. This is proof for me that art builds bridges and opens up communication between cultures.
When you approach a commission in the wild, what factors do you take into account when planning the subject matter?

Great question, it usually starts with the lay-out /size of the wall and what composition would suit best next I try to take the location in account, like for example the fire fighter from mexico on the old firestation of Carlisle. This way there can be a combination between a local with an international story and find the cohesion.

What started your interest in raising awareness of marginalised cultures?
For me it was that I felt the need to step away from the comforts of home and learn about how other people aproach to life as i finished the academy and was not too sure of my next step. The place to go could have been any place outside of the western world but Latin America made sense because they mostly speak the same language. So Mexico to Argentina was the plan. On arrival I just fell in love with the  mentality and hospitality of Latin america, these people may have very little in our eyes but they will share everything they have. Being blown away with their generosity and cultural plentitude it struck something within me. Especially the indiginous cultures i found interesting because they have such similar needs in life but their very own interpretations.
          Run For The Forest

Why do you think this message is an important one, especially for us in Europe?

Well I think everybody needs to find their own way of how to live their life, I don't want to tell anybody how to live theirs as I don't like to be told what to do either :). So for me this is more of a personal story of my admiration of the Latin way of life (which also has it flaws). If there is a story to be told is that there are many ways to arrive at the same place where we all want to be and I think we can do it together. We are all humans and lets keep that in mind when we meet others that try to have something similar as we do.

                 Zapoteca Painted 2019
Pow wow Rotterdam was a total feast for the eyes this year, it was great to spend time with you in your home city seeing such a frenzy of big wall painting going down, stand out pieces for you this year?

Man I loved the vibe at Pow Wow Rotterdam, sunny weather and so much creative buzz, meeting new and old artist friends and sharing stories and experiences is super nice, especially when this all is going down in your own home town. If I really have topick out my fav wall it would be the piece by Dourone, such friendly folks too. We both paint colourful portraits and i have been following them online for quite some time.
We are sat in your studio here in Rotterdam, an Aladdin's cave of creativity and visual treats for both yourself and Nuno (Nuno Viegas shares a studio with Tymon check his work out here) what are you currently working on?
At the moment I am preparing some sketches for the last wall of this year (luckily an indoor one, as it is freezin cold outside). Once this wall is done It is canvas time till the end of the year. In the beginning of march there will be a group show in Berlin and i need to have 3 paintings ready. in January I am going to Cuba and Mexico for 6 weeks to shoot reference photos for projects in 2020 and paint some walls, so it all needs to be done before then. It is also the last days for Nuno here in the studio in Rotterdam as he is moving back to Portugal to paint there and be with his girlfriend and family again. We had a great 5  years together and will meet up painting somewhere around the globe.
         Colab with Nuno Viegas at Powwow Rotterdam 'Flight of Man'
Finally, this city is like a veritable art gallery of your work and it’s been amazing to see the pieces large and small, new and old that you have put up around the city, is it possible for you to pick a favourite piece or is that like asking a parent to choose their favourite child!
         Seeing the Sites in Rotterdam With Tymon in September 2019
Hahaha, yeah kind of, but if you twist my arm my favourite wall to date would be "Madre Tierra" on the Bergweg. Mostly because of the positioning of the wall, this is where many cultures blend into another and the size/surface makes me happy too. I am not gonna lie, bigger is usally nicer and more challenging to paint as it comes to walls. This is the time where I learn the most, and that i cannot get enough of. Thank you for going on this adventure together Ben, lets see what the future holds for us.
The journey is the most important part of any story as the destination means it is over in one sense, we have been so honoured to have Tymon work with us both in the streets and with our gallery this year, you won’t be surprised to learn that we have a lot more plans up our sleeves so stay tuned and watch where we go next!
Like what you see?  
Check Out Tymon's Original Works Available Here