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About and artist statement

Dutch visual artist Derek Scholte (1973) creates sculptures purely made of scrap materials, materials found in the streets, thrift shops, dust bins. vintage objects from flea markets and scrubby little shops. He loves vintage, antique stuff with a patina from years of use. Things and objects with a previous life, a soul. The imperfections add to their beauty.

The older the materials get, the more scratches and dings it has, the greater the beauty. All materials in his artworks have a short story to tell. They add to the overall aesthetics of the objects, thus following the ancient Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi.Derek Scholte

His work tells the story of a dystopian or post industrial society where the gap between the fortunate and the not so fortunate has gotten to a level where the large underclass can only survive by using discarded materials. In effect, this is recursive, as Derek is doing the same in real world creating his characters and objects with 99% of used materials on a shoestring budget. In a way his work has the Droste effect.

His characters all look the same, with only subtile differences, a reference to the uniformity of dictatorships and to the sheep-like nature and servility of mankind. His characters share one common goal though, They build vehicles and devices while having the dream to escape.

Derek Scholte uses discarded materials as a sculptor uses clay, he lovingly combines, sculpts and models each material thus transforming everyday items into a new form with a new meaning.

His work has an almost film like realism. His characters come to life due to the combination of absurdity, humor, melancholy and rawness. Athough many people characterize his work as steampunkish movieprops or nostalgic toys, the work is not easy to put in one genre. Retrofuturism would be an appropriate genre, it most leans to Dieselpunk (or Petrolpunk). Dieselpunk combines the aesthetics of diesel-based technology influenced by the interwar period to the 1950s with futurist postmodern technology (quote from wikipedia).

Probably the best way to describe his work is to say it represents “a tomorrow that never was” (quote from Lance Olsen about Raygun Gothic), or “a tomorrow that is likely to happen one day”. It also has Steampunk and Atompunk aesthetics. To put it in one sentence: Derek Scholte creates mixed media assemblage sculptures inspired by a sense of whimsical adventure of bygone and future eras… (thanks Dan!).

Inspiration mainly comes from movies. Derek is a huge movie fan (with an extensive collection by the way) with a strong preference for directors like Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and Jean Pierre Jeunet. But also books from HG Wells and George Orwell, comics and the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi.

Derek ScholteIn his young years when doing a vocational test the result usually was that he was best suited as either a vicar or an artist. Due to lack of faith and a strong disliking of any form of organized religion he eventually chose for the theatre.

After graduating the Academy for Performing Arts Derek worked as an actor, teacher and theatre technician for some years. He has been working as a graphic designer since 1999. His artwork consisted of paintings at first, then of Urban Paper Art, to finally find his niche a few years ago in the work he makes nowadays.

His artworks are excellent ‘conversation pieces’ or ‘icebreakers’ for your home and office. Art you’ll not likely to get bored of and an excellent investment. In his short art career thusfar he has had exhibtions in places like London, New-York and Groningen. His work is collected by people from all over the world, including Los Angeles, Singapore, France, Belgium, Russia, Luxembourg, Australia and The Netherlands.

For current exhibitions please check out the exhibitions page here.

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