Happiness found in salvaged wood
‘My work can be found on every continent,’ Dutch artist Diederick Kraaijeveld recently told a local newspaper. But having his work hanging in museums or sold expensively to collectors is not his main aim. ‘I want to experience nice adventures by what I do, to visit places where I wouldn’t come otherwise, meet people I wouldn’t meet otherwise and collect wood and ideas.’
Salvaged wood is Kraaijeveld’s medium. He constructs truly unique photo-realistic collages from it. His images are icons plucked from the contemporary diaspora: All Stars sneakers, a Magnum .44, a bottle of Heinz ketchup, a VW van, as well as celebrity portraits. The wood he finds everywhere on the globe: from abandoned buildings in the Mojave Desert to 16th century Dutch mansion floors.
Though the pieces sometimes burst with colour, Kraaijeveld doesn’t use a drop of paint himself. He chooses, instead, to preserve the original colour and hue, and construct his works with dozens of pieces of different wood.
Following the traces of his father, Kraaijeveld started his career as a journalist. But gradually he turned towards becoming an artist. He’s still in search of good stories, only now finding them hidden under old wood. Creating new appealing works from discarded materials gives him great satisfaction. Just like the boat trip did that he made down the Chattahoochee river on a ‘Pirate Raft’ made of found materials together with three artist friends in September 2015. It’s adventures like these that make him say: ‘Every day I wake up with this thought: what a great life I have.’