Interview Tilburg.com x B-art 2022

013 questions to… Tilburg artist Bart Stillekens: 'I want to inspire the whole world with my art'

 

In the section 013 questions to… we ask – you guessed it – thirteen different questions to various Tilburgers. This time it is the turn of the talented Tilburg artist Bart Stillekens (B-art). He now has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram, creates luxurious works of art and his work travels all over the world. Read the interview below. 

#1 Can you introduce yourself?

“I am Bart Stillekens, 29 years old and born in Tilburg. I have been working as a full-time (art) artist for 5 years now and I want to inspire the whole world with my works. I try to experiment with as many materials as possible in order to discover new things and learn something new every day. I want to create a wow factor with my art!”

#2 How did you become an artist?

“I used to be very creative, studying was not for me. I dropped out of school early and then went to work for my father. He had a lightning security company. After my father sold his shares, I had to think about what I really wanted. My parents played a big part in this. They gave me the opportunity to try things out in the shed in the garden. First I started with music, that was always my thing. I bought a DJ set, but soon noticed that my creativity was bigger than that. I have been drawing continuously from a young age. My whole room was always full of sketches, clippings and other stuff. As young boys we always thought it was cool to spray a little graffiti here and there. But why spray on the street when you can also do it on canvas and make people happy with it. I soon received really nice reactions to the canvases. One of my best buddies even wanted to buy one from me. That's how I really saw the potential in my work, and I'm still grateful to him for that. With that confidence I continued to work and the first sales were soon a fact.

That's when the ball really started rolling. I received an assignment to make ten paintings for a client. This was the moment when I could dream bigger. I wanted to have a studio and put all my time into it. No sooner said than done. A few weeks later I found a beautiful location on the Spoorlaan. I started to delve more and more into techniques and materials with the thought: 'I want to distinguish myself from the rest.' The wider my knowledge, the more applications I received. Duparc Luxury Cars & Art has also supported me enormously in this. I was allowed to work in the business. That's how I got my nose in the butter, because that's exactly where my target audience came. In the beginning I started working in larger editions of paintings and sculptures. Now they are increasingly becoming unique one-to-one pieces.

#3 What inspires you and why?

“I get inspiration from all kinds of everyday things. On the street, on vacation, on social media or the people around me. To give an example: 'The Money Paintings'. I made these pieces to show how impressive it can be to see so much cash together. Cash money is disappearing more and more, which I personally find very unfortunate. When I've worked hard and then I get cash money in my hands, it has much more emotion for me than a number in my bank account. Plus, who says your money is safe there? It is disappearing more and more from the streets, nowadays people are already paying with a mobile phone. I try to bring back the nostalgia of real money. Who knows, maybe we will look back in a few years and say: 'We used to pay with this, a piece of paper'.”

B-art

#4 What do you want to pass on to someone who wants to start with visual arts?

“Make art that makes you happy and in the meantime try to distinguish yourself from the rest. It may sound cliché, but doing what you love and having a passion for what you make is even more important in this job. If it also does well in the market, that's a plus.”

#5 How do you notice that Tilburg responds to the art you make?

“I started in Tilburg in my parents' shed, all my friends & family come from Tilburg and I sold my very first pieces to people from Tilburg. My career started here. So I think I can say that the city is behind me. That, of course, feels very good.”

#6 What are your dreams and goals for B-art?

“My mission is to inspire other people. My dream: my own museum in a beautiful location with art by emerging talents and established names.”

#7 What are you most proud of?

“I think I'll come back to that part of inspiring people. My work can be an addition to someone's home, public space or gallery. Now that I work more and more internationally, I see how my work is appreciated in all kinds of different places in Europe. That is of course something to be proud of as an artist. For me, the core lies in inspiring, making something interesting so that one interpretation may be completely different from another. I now feel more and more that I can actually do that now.”

#8 What are the things you run into as an art artist?

“Infinity of ideas. I think that as a creative person you can keep thinking about new ideas indefinitely. It is mainly about making a choice. Which idea will you develop, which will you not and which idea will you keep in the fridge? There is a lot involved in making the art and the preparations for it. Often people think that if you buy a blank canvas and do something with it, it is immediately considered art. That is not true."

#9 How did you see Tilburg flourish in the past ten years?

“I have seen for years that a lot of hard work is being done on our city. At first we really only had the center. Now the Piushaven, Spoorzone and the nature around the city live. It's great to see that the city is so much more alive."

#10 What is your favorite museum or work of art? Where do we really need to go?

“I find that difficult, because you have so many beautiful places with art. Art is literally everywhere. But if I really have to choose, Art Basel Miami is my favorite. There is so much to see. Everywhere you look, you see art. Think of the Wynwood Walls. Now I understand that is a bit far. If you are looking for it closer to home, the Moco museum in Amsterdam is highly recommended. Museum Voorlinden is also top notch, it is mainly the trick to look at which exhibitions you like. And in our city of course De Pont. We can be seriously proud of that.”

#11 If you could make one drastic change in Tilburg, what would it be?

“Of course we are already a cultural city, but I think we can invest a lot more in this. More art in the city, letting creativity speak. Think of a mega art gallery or a temporary museum in the center.”

#12 What do you like best about our city?

"The people. And of course my friends and family: that will always be the connecting factor between me and the city. When you come back from the highway after a holiday and you take the exit Tilburg-Centrum, it always feels like coming home. That feeling is the feeling of Tilburg for me.”

#13 What is your favorite work at the moment?

“Yes, one of my latest works (ed. the work you see in the first photo.) I always try to play with materials. For this piece I worked with 22k gold sheets. The work is 150 by 300 centimeters in size. That makes it quite overwhelming and I want to unleash that feeling. The gold and size makes it an eye-catcher and exudes luxury. This is probably the most expensive work I've ever made."

More information

Would you like more information about B-art? Or are you curious about his works? Be sure to check out his website and follow him on Instagram.