The interviews are conducted by VB Contemporary's director, Vian Borchert. Besides being a multidisciplinary noted international artist. Borchert has been a writer and art critic for over a decade contributing with art articles in a national online newspaper. Borchert gets called upon to cover and write reviews for major retrospectives and exhibitions in world-class American museums.

Photo of artist Arjan Janssen
About the artist: Arjan Janssen is an accomplished artist who resides and works in Breda, the Netherlands. Janssen encompasses in his artwork his own probable universe. Janssen’s work showcases his individual aesthetics via the usage of structure, stripes and lines that bring forth dynamic compositions.
Tell us about your "Beginnings", how did you start your artist journey? How did your childhood influence your creative career path? And, how is your beginnings / childhood "Reflective" within your work? My artistic life, like so many artists, indeed began in my childhood. I was a dreamy child and always have been. Already at a young age I was preoccupied with the big questions of life. How is it that I live and not, not live? What if I had never lived? What if I'm no longer alive? In daily life, I felt little response to these existential questions. It didn't really seem to concern anyone other than myself. That alienated me somewhat from the others. Not that I was an isolated child, far from it, I had enough friends. Yet, I felt a kind of powerlessness to fit my philosophical research into everyday life. It goes without saying that these are retrospective reflections. And, at that age I did not have the words to think about what was on my mind. It was more of a lingering feeling of unease. To channel those feelings, I picked up the pencil and started drawing. I think my entire artistic career has been a balancing act between two components. On the one hand, a primarily existential investigation into the foundations of being human and on the other hand, an expression of frustration and anger about the world around me. The lack of understanding of fellow human beings and their infantile behavior has baffled me since I was a child. The denser the person, the more nonsensical. The crueler the man, the more power he conquers. We only have to look around us to see that this fact is not decreasing which makes one furious. To add, I have often been that way. To quote Johnny Lydon, “Anger is an Energy. A driving energy under my artistry.” Furthermore, there was a need to remain that dreamy child, and to create a pure world through the image that is not stained by earthly trivialities. You only live life once when you not only just respond to it, but also offer an alternative. As an artist there is beauty in the pursuit of delight and sublimation, and the euphoria that is released makes one happy at times. That is one of the most beautiful aspects of being an artist.
Image of artwork Duizend Jaar
Walk us through your day from morning till evening along with your creative process? What does a day for "Arjan Janssen" look like? Where do you find inspiration in the area by which you reside? And, how is your surroundings "Reflective" in your work? Just as my working method used to be thoughtful, it has now become rather explosive. For a long time I made paintings that required a lot of drying time. Layer after layer were placed over or against each other. The surfaces were covered with tape and therefore had to be completely dry. These are oil paintings so they took long periods of time. Naturally, this process involved a good amount of reflection. A cautious approach where every step was thoroughly considered. For many years, I have been finishing a painting in one movement. Everything happens in the moment and nothing further is added. It is a total acceptance of what is occurring. Reflection has been exchanged for intensive concentration. Like an athlete, I prepare myself for the moment and make sure there are no distractions. I am sharp and aim to deliver optimal performance. It is a kind of reverse development as is often expected. The aging person becomes wiser and more thoughtful. He views the world tranquilly and responds to it with calmness. While in his younger years he was furious. For me it is the other way around. It must be said that I was also furious in my early twenties. Yet, in the years leading up to adulthood I have seriously pursued a coherent oeuvre. Until this started to bother me. I felt the need to express my primitive emotions. If I'm angry, I'm angry. If I'm sad, I'm sad. I want to use and express my entire humanity. No longer channeling wisely and subordinating myself to what I present to the world. I believe it does my life more justice especially as an artist to fearlessly step into the unknown. I also don't know what will transpire and I don't know what the outcome will be. It is a basic attitude that brings justice to what a human being is, which is nothing more than a helpless creature desperately searching for a meaningful  significance for a life as quick as a snap of the fingers between two infinite plains.
As an artist, what have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career? And, what have been your best achievements for you personally and professionally? Who are your favorite artists and why do you find their art captivating? The biggest challenge in my career has been an ongoing one. How do I safeguard my integrity as an artist? Every person wants to be successful and loved. You want appreciation for what you do. So, the temptation is always there to please people, and to meet the expectations of others. That is disastrous for an artist. The tragedy of the creative person is that he can only follow one path and that is his own path and one doesn't know where this leads. It is a lonely undertaking accompanied by fundamental uncertainty. You are never, ever, sure of one’s case albeit those euphoric moments I mentioned earlier which are short-lived and doubt immediately follows like a hangover. The creative person can be full of doubts. If I have to speak about my greatest success, it is the meaning I have had for others as an artist. I have always set up many initiatives and took on the role of an artist in society. Often by working with people in vulnerable situations. To contribute my insights as an artist is to help people in need move forward. To provide an impetus to find a new direction in their lives. I also execute this in my profession as a social worker. Of course it is nice to have an exhibition in a respected place. And for sure it's nice to receive appreciation for one’s work. Still It gives me the most satisfaction to work with others to find out what art can mean to someone. My list of favorite artists is long and changing - That's more for another time. Simply throwing around a few names doesn't seem useful to me. I prefer to explain why and how a specific artist is important to me, in regards to the big names from art history that is. However, closer to home I can say that the artists I work with, in the Abstracte artists’ initiative, are all of the unruly type. Artists who, despite their talent, feel more uncomfortable than comfortable in the art world. The celebrated artist already receives enough attention. The work of the maladjusted artist touches me more deeply.
Instagram: @janssen_arjan Website: