I understand now why Van Gogh went crazy

 Bahador Fatemi’s words after asked about life in the Netherlands. Bahador is a 26 year old artist based in the Netherlands. He left home at age of 18 to pursue the University of Art, where he got a bachelor in painting. The first two years there he tried to experience as much as possible afterwards he started with the works. In present he is doing more digital art and following a new degree in Art& Technology in the Netherlands.

I was really much interested into rotoscoping. And during my stay in India, together with my girlfriend we started to make a movie called “The Hidden Self”, which took me around 9 months to finish. I was working on the digital part of the movie and she was doing the traditional painting.  The story started at the beginning of our journey when we met an Iranian writer, who asked us to work together with him on some pieces. Unfortunately we could not do too many works, but some days before we left India, he came back to us and showed us a script; we were both really into it so our last days in India were just shooting for the movie. It took us a while to settle and by then we were in Georgia, where the main part of the work was done. It may not be the most original story behind the movie, but the way it ended up in a visual way was pretty new at that time.


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I know movies, and what we did it was new. Maybe our promotion was not good enough. But since we come also from Iran, it was hard to get awards in festivals, because maybe we did not show up the situations and other things that some consider really important.

Among the directors of movies that I really like are Akira Kurosawa, he is also a painter. If you see his movies you will get this. Jim Jarmusch, and my favorite is Ingmar Bergman. He is the best in the visualizing way.

I am also working now on a movie together with Jan Hejbowicz, I cannot give you more details about the movie until it will be finished, but I can tell you that the movie will end up really good, and more than that is a really intelligent movie.

I like to keep myself busy and do as much as I can. All the time I was doing something extra besides my own work, so I could afford the costs of living. I was working as a translator for hospitals, making paintings for  people around the cities. And I can tell you I was making a lot of money every day just by keeping myself busy. Then here, in the Netherlands is a complete different situation. 

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I also stayed in a place in India, where I worked for nothing but just to help others and in return to get a place to stay or to be part of that community. The place is called Auroville. It is a big community, and most people there are outsiders. That place is also known to be the center of the meditation of the world. Soil from 125 countries is gathered there. A French architect designed the city in a very simple way. This place is a where you can find more about you and you get the chance to meet people who can help you develop as a person.

I also do a lot of freelancing. Especially in digital art. I also do traditional paintings but the demand for digital paintings is much higher now and I try focus on it. Due to my studies sometimes the workload is overwhelming, here the system keeps you suffocated the whole time. It is hard being here as an outsider and waking up every day at 6 or 7 having to do your projects for school other 6 hours every day and then work for yourself and work for others, it is hard, but I do my best to develop and take care of everything.

So what do I do? It’s easy.

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I am painting. And when you want to ask me what does my painting mean, then I would tell you. I am the painter as well as the viewer. There is the perception and a freedom that everyone should have. I will not say to the people find this, but I will tell them take a look. This is a country which is considered to be the most free. Working and doing things outside the box might seem easier to achieve here, but no it is not like that. Here everything must be under the control of someone or something.

I look at what people here are like, in comparison with that are not from Western Europe. They are all the same; of course their looks are different, but how the culture is here, makes everyone act the same, have the same indifference, be thought the same manners, they all eat the same.. there is just one parent for everyone here. Even in painting, everything looks the same. Eastern Europe has a different identity. Each country. Of course there are exceptions, and I do not say that there are no great people in Western countries, or no great art, but the majority is even under the mediocre level as a person.

In the end I can tell you this: I can understand why Van Gogh got crazy. I know now what happened to him.

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