Thursday, May 28, 2009

First impressions of Xiamen and artist participating

The artist participating in the exchange are , John Walsh , Janet Andrews, Peter Coates, Ping mabbit and Robert Franken . here a some photos of them .

Sitting in an email cafe surrounded by smoke and 50 other users who are doing games.

Am having an interesting time.

The art school here is a good standard and the students are quite focused. No other option. The school is 20 square km. I will send some photos soon.

Here are some photos of the art Department in Ji Mai .

This is a small place has only 4.5 million people. But really pleasant so far.

I met the Dean and professors and have just been given a studio to create some art works. They are most helpful.

Next week Friday , I have to give a talk in front of 200 people. Oeps!! thought it to be a small group.

Last Sunday I went to the Dragon boat races, quite interesting and colourful and tomorrow I meet up with about 20 Kiwi's who live here.

The food is great, but won't question what it is. It looks good and taste nice. That is the main thing.

Last Tuesday I went to a small art school on Gulang Yu island. They were teaching the old way of lacquer painting.

The cigarette smoke is surrounding me softly got to get out of this place. More soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

About to depart

Just some last minutes before my departure

I only take hand luggage and the large tube with my pastel rolled up.

The diamond burs ear plugs and and face mask.

Traveling lightly is more my style .

Arrive with little and leave lots and disappear .

Art is about life,a way of thinking but also thrown into the cauldron of nothing, emptiness - . . . .

"I trust not to know" .


Monday, May 18, 2009

About sending art works

This coming Thursday I am off to the customs department to get some customs declarations to bring my work back into New Zealand.

On Air New Zealand one can only take 20 kg luggage , so just as well I trained in the army, loading tank barrels ( Never been in the Army,by the way) because all my clothes will be stuffed in the tube and take as hand luggage promotion materials and tools for doing Glass engravings .

Am planning to engrave a large bowl if I can get one , if not we just go back to the drawing board.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

About taking gifts

It is important that with the exchange of greetings and introductios in China gifts are being exchanged .

I have 8 different cards made as gifts and also put these up for sale in a set of 8 for 24 dollars . not including freight .

If anyone is interested let me know or Katie or Adam at the Office and they will put your name down .

They will last as long as they last .
Am not in the habit of making reproductions .

Well they say .Thank God for the last minute " I guess it has arrived .

Running around like anything .

Wishing you all the best.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Strange as an artist I walk around myself in a circle and keep on meeting myself in unexpected places. This is one of those many meetings.

Sometime we have to launch our self in a situation which is not familiar but is attractive because it uncertain .

It is a good feeling to be in that situation because , all sorts of things might or might not happen .

Have no idea what I am walking into .

Reflecting back on my career as an artist it started with pen drawings , no really at the art school I had part of my training as a stone mason .

But start with a couple of photo's of pen drawings , then my manuscript series then my Styx series , worked with dyes on Textile ,Mosaics ,creating Paintings for kimono's, Pastels, Paintings and Glass engravings .

I share some of these images with you .

I wish you all a fantastic 2 Nd term and be taking a block course at the begin of next term , also during the term I am taking two weekend classes.

take care everyone . Cheers Robert

For more photos of my works go to

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The work I will take with me

I will take with me to China . The large pastel called " The burning of past Karma .

It consist of 4 panels 1200 x 3000 mm each .

This was originally a design to be woven , so might as well see of there is the opportunity in China to have it made over there.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Years ago my father  Rob Franken made a pastel of a Chinese student .

He was dressed in his traditional attire and also over the years I have come across pottery in Indonesia . . Some from the Ming Dynasty . Photograph of A Celedon plate and reverse and a few stacket plates and a Quan Yin figure porceline  with wooden hand .

I find it interesting the images one create in ones mind about a place about to visit . 

Modus Operendi

I have a three prong approach for my time in Xiamen .

 First I can go prepared and take paints with me . 

Second I can take glass engraving tools and get myself some glass over

Third . I take nothing with me and see what will happen to me and use local materials.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Xiamen is the sister city of Wellington and situated north of Hong Kong on the coast .

The above painting I made some time ago and was inspired about my arrival in New Zealand as an immigrant from Holland.

The painting is called " Arriving in the sea of different views" oil painting on canvas , 5300 x 2900 mm

About the Symbolism

The crescent moon to me is like a ship in the sky , or scythe to harvest, a vessel or basket . etc

To me the eyes are like throwing a sense of consciousness into the objects .

About the shape of the eyes . to me the waves of the ocean are the eyelids of the ocean.

When one draws a positive line and a negative line one ends up with a eye , but it could also symbolise two fish meeting .

The mountains are symbolised as Pyramids , because they are mysterious , they hide things from view and also the summit is where the Gods dwell .

In the painting one can also find the presence of the Taniwha and Tuna the eel , but also can be a dragon .

About the symbolism in my works

When one looks on a sunny day on the surface of the water, one can see suggested characters .

I took the numbers 1 till 10 and threw them on that surface .

I don't want my works to be read , but yet the characters suggest a language.

The effect is that it can travel between the floor boards of cultures . it give also the works a sense of motion and timelessness

I have decided that I would like to gift this painting to the Xiamen Association as a gift to the city in China .

Ps this painting has now been kindly rejected on grounds that the air freight was to high .

Well at least I offered and it will stay around till the right moment will come to depart.

Monday, May 4, 2009