Gieler 61

Michiel Folkers was born in 1982 in Zeist, a small place near Utrecht in The Netherlands. In the nineties skateboarding and graffiti were common and popular pursuits in his neighbourhood. He started experimenting with graffiti in the late nineties. For years, he remained active spraying letters on walls. When he got older, and more ‘mature’ and tired of the fights that are accompanied with graffiti, he was looking for something else and slowly graffiti evolved in street art. The friendlier en less illegal character of street art attracted Michiel above graffiti. Besides, working with stencils was a much better technique to get more details done better and faster.

In addition to colouring walls, Michiel began experimenting on canvas. He started by painting a series called ‘anti-heroes’. Focussed on B-listed celebrities / ‘famous’ people from Holland. “In popart everyone was painting Jim Morrison or Marilyn Monroe. So I thought it would be more striking to paint unpopular celebrities”. It worked, in a way that people started noticing his art, but nobody would hang a B-Listed actor from Holland on his or her wall.” The stencilling style was also over its peak in his opinion, and slowly he started experimenting with new different techniques, like collage.

In Holland there are more festivals then bikes. Festivals promoting their party’s often with eye-catching posters, pasted on walls. Interested in the graffiti layered above these posters most of the time, but also fascinated by the aesthetics of these posters, Michiel was always observing these ‘collage-walls’. In his eyes these walls could go straight to museums. When he saw work of Raymond Hains and Mimmo Rotella that same year, he was convinced to use collage with street posters as a standard for his new series of artworks. Today he is still using these kinds of street elements in his art. His work is often made up of posters he collects from the murky walls of Amsterdam: “Sustainable art, and it gives an edgy and living character to the painting. Street posters are dirty, bleached and scratched most of the time, this always gives the artwork a living character, as if it’s a part of the street. From damaged festival posters to ‘find-my-cat-flyers’, everything with a nice colour-palette will be used.”