Meet Reinder. We did, and it was awesome.
It was back in 2014 when we first met Reinder Oldenburger in person. We were younger, our company was just young.
We couldn’t help but get excited when one of our favorite artists told us he was road tripping down the west coast. He is after all, a Dutchman living and painting in Queens, New York. So needless to say, we weren’t expecting him.
We met up in South Park, San Francisco, a perfectly tiny green plot surrounded by one of our favorite cafes, Centro. After grabbing lattés all around, we sat on one of those green painted picnic tables for an hour or so.
As we attempted to suppress our fangirl/boying, a familial conversation flowed back and forth, touching on California’s highway 101, music, and what plans our guests had for their rest of their west coast travel. We asked questions and Reinder was happy to answer them, even if they were simple, like “When do you have time to paint?”
At night mostly, he told us, in his apartment. An apartment, we learned, that is shaped by the dominant presence of two things: art and music…or maybe music and then art. Despite the unique, self-aware style found in Reinder’s paintings, it was only at age 27 that he began creating art. Playing guitar, however, was an artistic endeavor that began early on.
At the age of 13, Reinder began studying and playing guitar, eventually moving to Amsterdam at age 19 to attend the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he graduated in 2007. When asked about his songwriting techniques, he would often be found describing how each song had a color, which he then turned into words and melodies.
We could instantly tell that for Reinder, art doesn’t really exist without music, and vice versa. Notice the sounds of his studio here?
Whether we knew it at the time or not, (we didn’t), that day in South Park was a subtle jumping off point, I dare say, for us and for Reinder. After swapping stories, advice, and questions, we retired to our office and set to work on some suggestions he had thrown our way, while he and Jennifer continued their journey down the coast, stopping along the way to take in that which New York lacks.
He has, of course, since returned to New York, his guitars, and his studio, to engage in what he calls, a hunt.
Making art is a hunt; I compose my canvas from the abstract. As I sketch, bodies of color define themselves and become cues to the composition that connect to form a focus. Working on all parts of the canvas at the same time, movement and a sense of depth develop in the balance between bold lines and the bones of the original sketch.
We’ve kept in touch like many cross-country friends do, through email, social media, and even the occasional phone call. Since 2014 we’ve bounced ideas off Reinder, using him as a sort of authentic gauge and voice for the very real needs of practicing artists. And as we improved, he certainly outpaced us. His works have transformed and become more complex at times, all while hanging onto their core Reinder-ness: awesomely thick oily lines and geometric figures emerging from an abstract surface.
In the early days as we call them, the five of us in the office used to actually call “dibs” on Reinder’s new pieces as he added them to his portfolio, and a few of us have his work hanging in our homes as a result. Now though, Reinder pieces generally sell before anyone (more than 5 of us now) can rightly lay-claim with a cross-office “dibs!”. Oh, how progress and time has created a new reality for all.
Our latest conversation with Reinder surfaced about a week ago, in the middle of his quest for dedicated studio space, or to use his way cooler name, atelier, in New York. The directors of the studio required a reference, and Reinder reached out to us to oblige, which of course we did. Thanks to a friendship that started in a small park in San Francisco, and a lot of painting in between, Reinder moves into a new studio next week.
Watch him unpack as he takes over our instagram
starting Friday, May 13
@reinderoldeburger live-posting on @vangoart
In the meantime, check out Reinder’s work and follow him on Vango to keep in touch.