Norbert de Jong (Heerlen, 1965) is an autodidact. Since 1993 he has been a fulltime painter. During the past years he has had several exhibitions. Norbert uses different techniques and materials, such as pastel, oil paint, lino-cut and mono prints, but mostly he uses acrylic on linen.
‘I have a certain duality within me. As a person I am quite gloomy, but my work is often rather cheerful. In that sense it is an enrichment of my existence; painting in itself makes me happy, but the same goes for the final painting. I love strong, sparkling colours, and strange creatures who are involved with one another in a certain way. Humans and animals always mingle in my work. They are equal, they interact together. I mostly paint my dream world, as a reaction to the real world. For me painting is a quest: how can I tell my own story, where do I fit in this story, how do I show my inner struggle and my relationship to the outside world? Therefore my paintings speak for me. They show my other side, they represent the freedom I have in my dreams. This I cannot see clearly until the painting is finished. That is why my paintings are like a mirror for me. They may represent a cheerful dream world, my source of inspiration, however, is reality. The real world surprises me, I want to oppose it or react to it. Make life more graceful. It is impossible to actually catch that world, it is also impossible to curtail my dreams, so I put my fanciful fantasies down on canvas.’
‘My message is: to show beautiful things, sometimes inspired by less pretty events. I also want to show that life is not always easy, that everyone at least once has to fight to achieve his goal. That process is a rather intuitive one. The meaning develops during painting. I need peace to be able to paint, because I often have to try things out. I always change a lot to my paintings, sometimes I make a few at the same time, sometimes I work on one painting for a whole week. But when I work, I get totally involved in it. I don’t have an academic background and according to me that is my strength. It suits me to figure things out by myself. I do not belong to a movement, although I do have sources of inspiration and examples, like Picasso or the Cobra painters. Actual events often lead to a painting. When there is a war somewhere, for instance, I like to contrast it with peace. I often paint city scenes, the typical gables you find in Amsterdam. They seem to dance a bit, they are like a fairy tale, because I like living here. Here I can be myself, I don’t attract attention, here I am free. On most of my paintings I have depicted a bird. For me that is the ultimate symbol of freedom.’