Blog : Holland

My love for Future Islands part II


I’m floating on a post-gig dream cloud! I saw Future Islands again last night, and I’m still dreaming about it today. Listening to their songs, and playing the scenes from last night over and over in my head, smiling. The first time I saw them was in Le Guess Who May Day in Utrecht earlier this year, it was fantastic. But this time around was even better! (Didn’t know it was possible!)


1. Their opening act, Celebration also from dream-music city Baltimore (where Beach House is also from), was amazing!

2. Everyone was singing and shouting the lyrics to Future Islands’ songs. Everyone there was just so passionate about them, and that makes the experience even more intense! I was dancing like crazy, smiling and bumping around strangers, looking at each other and exclaiming, “This is so amazing!”

3. They played Tin Man, Balance, Spirit, Back in the Tall Grace, Seasons and all my favourite songs.

4. The best part: Climbing the stage (well, the front row practically threw me up the stage) to dance with Samuel Herring during the finale! EXHILARATING! Have you seen the Melkweg Max packed to the max (hehe) from the stage?! With everyone around you dancing and jumping like whackos? I did!

5. IT’S FUTURE ISLANDS! <3 Like I told M, they're just so positive and full of good energy, the crowd can just feel it. Their songs are so powerful and empowering, with the most beautiful, poetic lyrics. Like a post-it that you want to keep in your mind forever. I once saw an article about their song-writing, the writer said he would like to make kitchen tiles out of Future Islands lyrics. I can totally relate. 🙂 See you again soon, Future Islands. We love you!

To See: Summer Dreams at Het Nieuwe Instituut

F.A. Warner House by the Sea

Summer Dreams is a trip to the whimsical Dutch summers of the last century. Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam presents paintings, drawings, photographs and other art works from their archive, depicting how the Dutch spends their leisure time in the last century:

From designs for swimming pools, summerhouses and luxury holiday resorts, to travel sketches and drawings of all that grows and blossoms. The exhibition features the Sporthuis Centrum summerhouses by Jaap Bakema, the beach house by F.A. Warners, and a garden design by Romke de Vries, but also a lazy beach scene by Koen Limperg, the frivolous bathing caps by Henry Wijdeveld, and a drawing of the faint light of a summer evening by Michel de Klerk.


‘Summer Dreams’ is the first in series of changing presentations of objects and documents from the archive and library, curated by archivist Alfred Marks. Based on various themes, he selects drawings, photographs, objects and models from the collection in an associative manner, with special attention to more autonomous drawings and the personal documents of architects and urban planners.


From 08/07 until 21/09
Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25, Rotterdam

Notes from the weekend

1. Watching The Fault in Our Stars (with my boyfriend) in Holland is magic. A cosmic bonus: one of my favourite songs (Strange Things Will Happen) from my favourite band in the whole world (The Radio Dept.) played in one of the scenes, without me knowing that they are part of the soundtrack! The best surprise ever. I just love moments like that.

Me and M recorded this specific song during the time we just met. I took out my phone, he learned the chords quickly, and then we recorded it on that one snowy night. Later on, I made it into a movie which was an entry for Stockholm Shorts 2011. It was all DIY – I recorded a spontaneous Skype conversation (he was in Holland, I was in Singapore) and put the music over it. It brings back all the warm and fuzzy feelings. Aww. You can see it here:

Strange Things Will Happen from Angel Trinidad on Vimeo.


“Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.” – E.F. Schumacher

3. I spent a lot of time in the sun this weekend. I saw Marloes again, after a long time! We walked around town, ate ice cream with loads of sprinkles, walked into shops to smell shampoo, and hung out at Roof Garden. We played N64 there and I beat her thrice at Super Smash Bros. Hehe!

Ice cream

4. I saw Case Mayfield play live at Roof Garden today – it was super dreamy. Then I ran into Marloes again at the Albert Heijn. We had drinks and sat in the sun with Pim at TAPE.

Case Mayfield

Marloes and me

5. A big birthday box arrived last Friday from home! It was filled with presents from my parents, one of my favourites is an old Mary lamp from my childhood. It’s absolutely beautiful- it reminds me of my mother, prayer and solemn, quiet memories.

6. Things I am loving lately: sweet popcorn, vanilla and tonka bean oil diffusers, my succulent plant in a pink pot, dogs, a crazy little goat called Jerry, cheering for my team when it wins, chocolate chip poptarts, being on Softly Sometimes and wearing my Swedish clogs. I also loved talking with my best friends on the other side of the world again, helping a friend who’s getting married with social media stuff, and Facetiming with parents. 🙂


A birthday weekend by the sea, making friends with gigantic seagulls and boulevard dogs. We sat by the beach with our chips, bruschetta and cola, talking about everything.

Rain and thunder calls for an afternoon at Escher in het Paleis – a dream of eternity and infinite tessellations, a man with a beard who lived and travelled in Southern Europe, reflections, chandeliers and flying fishes. The man by the door said to Mark, “Veel plezier, maar dat moet wel lukken met zo’n mooie vrouw,” (“Have a wonderful time, but that should work out well with such a lovely woman.”) I felt so special and beautiful at that moment.

At the back of the museum was the most idyllic courtyard cafe, where I enjoyed a cola and a muffin and looking at funny, angular shrubs. We took a walk afterwards, finding ourselves at the Hofvijver when sun slowly came out. A drink in a square, outside a fake art-nouveau building, we talked about distancing from ourselves and making the haziness go away. We talked about Pico Iyer and the meaning of home and standing still. There was a tender moment when you suddenly looked at me and kissed my face.

Then off to dinner at my favourite restaurant chain in Europe (Vapiano forever), it’s always such a joy eating scampi pasta. We discovered my new favourite herb (name unknown). And then we went to the cinema and saw Man of Steel (better than The Purge)! Sometimes that’s all you need: scampi pasta and a cozy movie.

The final day was spent looking at the sea, and lying on the windy beach. Feeling the sun on my face, walking towards the sea, and making a wish.

Happy 28th, Angel!

Arts Holland: Chris Berens’ Amsterdam

December 5th by Chris Berens is probably my favourite Sinterklaas painting of all time. Read my interview with Amsterdam’s most magical painter at the Arts Holland blog, with photos of his works:

You can also scroll down and read the interview here (without photos):


Chris Berens is one of Holland’s most talented contemporary painters. Inspired by Old Masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt, Berens creates surrealistic dream worlds filled with mysterious characters. All of his works are painstakingly hand-painted with drawing inks and perfected with a rigorous technique which results in a unique distortion effect. His latest exhibition “Amsterdam” is a spectacular hommage to his city. The moment I first laid eyes on his works, I was smitten and I knew that I had a new favourite painter. I got in touch with this very talented artist, and asked him about his inner world and inspirations, and their impact on his highly-acclaimed, soul-stirring works.

Your work is so whimsical and other-worldly. The Amsterdam series is filled with fantastical characters: blown-up animals, Sinterklaas and spinsters in a post-apocalyptic setting. The paintings seem like scenes from a saga or a mythology. Is there a bigger story to the paintings? Are they characters and scenes that make up a story? Or are the paintings simply seen as individual works on their own?

Well, that’s just how you would look at them I suppose. I wouldn’t say there’s no story to them, but the thing is that the paintings ARE the stories. They are not illustrations to a piece of text nor do they come with a manual as to how to read them. A story is a series of events, connected and gathered and put in order for them to make sense and have a plot.

Perhaps you should see a painting (or my painting at least) as a walk through the forest of Little red riding Hood, or Hänsel and Gretel, without the story ever being told. So there’s a girl in a red poncho, on the far end there’s a wolf, and there’s a house with an old lady in a bed, there’s distant singing and the flutter of birds. You could put some pieces together and make up Little Red Riding Hood, you could also see different things, focus on other elements and make a whole different story. Same scene, same forest, but different spectator, different perspective, different story. So I’m not the one telling the story, I’m the guy who made the forest, dimmed the lights and threw in a little girl and a bad-ass wolf.

Do you live in Amsterdam? What is the motivation behind making a series about the city?

Yes. Whenever I have a show abroad, the city the show is held is my theme. or rather, my decor, my setting. And Amsterdam brought me so much, my fiancé is from Amsterdam, my daughter was born there, my ‘mother gallery’, as we decided to call it, is there, and my career started there and it just felt time for an homage. The city is so very beautiful, and this is what it looks like in my head. Plus, when I make a whole show, it gives me time and space to expand its original thought, to give it more depth. So the longer a setting or place on my mind and the more I feed it by rendering it all into paintings, the deeper and more evolved that place gets.

What inspires you? (It could be in general and/or in your work as an artist)

The shadow of a tree, a child laughing.. No, kidding. What inspires me to paint, is the world inside my head that keeps getting bigger and more crowded. It’s the opposite of ‘The Nothing’ from Michael Ende’s the Never Ending Story. Things I see and hear and do and feel or have ever seen, felt, heard or experienced in another way, is inside me, and is transformed is one way or another and from that moment on it’s part of my inner world. Not transformed exactly, it’s more like adapted. All evolves so it can survive inside me. Changes are needed for that. Sometimes things transform into something completely different, sometimes multiple things merge into one, sometimes things are trimmed, and sometimes the things I come across are just so perfectly beautiful, they come out just as they came in. So from that perspective, I am the Nothing from Michael Ende’s the Never Ending Story.

But of course not everything I see or hear nests or sticks. If I would have to put a tag on the things that do stick, I guess that would be all the things that could be from my world. So that could be a film, a painting, a book or a piece of music, the imagination of my 2 year old that is triggered by the things she sees instead of held restrained by them, or the way the autumn sun is grazing the yellowing leaves outside my studio right now.

So to sum up, the shadow of a tree, a child laughing…

In your bio, you said that you taught yourself the techniques of the Old Masters. Who are your favourite painters or artists?

In the range of Old Masters, I would have to say Rembrandt, Vermeer, Ruysdael, Pieter Brueghel, Jheronimus Bosch…..

Quoting from a previous interview of you, you said: “I try and find and stay true to my own language in imagery, as in my opinion it all comes from gesture -being the aesthetic of the brushstrokes and their emotional impact- your imagination and trying to stay true to yourself. When images come from deep within, regardless the source of inspiration, they’re sincere and genuine.”

In your artworks and in interviews, you place an emphasis on dreams and imagery and the importance of staying true to the inner self. However, it can sometimes be very difficult for artists and creative people to reconcile their dreams / inner worlds to their work.. It can be that they don’t have the right technique or they do not have the right skill. What advice would you give to them?

Right, it might seem like I say that when you’re being true to yourself the rest will follow. Obviously you’ll have to be able to make a fantasy, an idea, dream or wish into something else. In my case, what I did, was look for artists that come as close to what I want to visualize as possible, and start to X-ray, dissect and analyse what they did. I chose painting as my outlet, as making film would be my other option, but, as I started being freshly graduated and very poor, I had no resources and no one I could work with, as I had to be all by myself and live an almost secluded life to nourish and incubate the germs that were my true, own ideas. Working with someone would have killed all those thoughts. It’s not said that I would have no imagination or creativity left in me if I would have worked with someone, they just wouldn’t have been as original as they are now. I would however like to make the step to film someday. I just have to figure out a way to poor my thoughts into such a complex medium.

So anyway, I locked myself up, tried to put my own imagination to a rest for a while, and just started imitating and studying other artists, sometimes literally painting over prints. Later I would try to paint Vermeer’s paintings from behind, or paint the same scene at night, and so gradually letting my own mind flow  freely. At first wrapped around someone else’s creations and slowly but surely letting them go and try and stand on my own two feet.

As an artist, do you have any tips for first-time visitors to Amsterdam? Are there any special places for you or secret nooks with giant rabbits or sinister spinsters you would like to share with them?

Oh, well there’s a lot of great museums. Stedelijk Museum just re-opened after 9 years of rebuilding. It’s just wonderful. The first room you’ll enter after you’re in is just too much. It’s as big as my living room, but there’s 2 Breitners that just make me want to sit down and cry and opposite is a van Gogh that might be the best one he did and right next to it there’s a Toorop (Jan) that I would love to return to in my dreams and just when you leave the room you get kicked in the stomach by a Courbet that haunts me ever since I saw it and it just leave you gasping for air as you float down the rest of the museum.

Hermitage is very cool. Actually the Van Gogh Museum just closed for renovations, and has for now moved in with the Hermitage.

I always love the Westerkerk my favorite church in the shadow of which my daughter Emma was born. Near that church there’s a small cafe, called Café Chris, it’s been a cafe since 1624 and the builders that built the Westerkerk were paid their wages there. That used to be my hangout when we first moved to Amsterdam. Since we moved about a year ago, it’s Toussaint, a great café just around our corner.

And go see a film in Tuschinski, great building. If you like film, EYE is a film museum just over the water (IJ) north of Central Station, they always show great films and usually have nice exhibitions. I think the Kubrick exhibit is still showing, go see that if it is.

You can see Chris Beren’s works at the Jaski Gallery in Amsterdam.  Currently, a documentary is being made about his work, “Chris Berens. Master of his magical universe.”

Upcoming shows:

  • PanAmsterdam, November 18-25, 2012
  • TEFAF Maastricht, March 2013
  • Solo show in Tokyo, October 2013


Weekday Nails

Me showing off my Weekday nails to Mark at Weekday’s opening party last month in Amsterdam. A full recap will be online at the Arts Holland blog soon, when we launch our new website! Stay tuned. 🙂

Ice Hotel // Scandinavia Night (Birthday Special)

Tomorrow night at TAPE, 22:00! See ya!

Our first Spotify DJ is back! Ice Hotel is born in the Philippines with a Scandinavian heart. She spreads a big love for danceable indie pop, sparkly electronica, melancholy chillwave and fuzzy shoegaze wherever she finds herself in. TAPE is the place on Friday 13 July for infectious melodies, fun dancing and a simply gezellig time!
Also, she’s having her birthday soon – so friends, future friends and fellow lovers of feel-good, irresistible, sparkly music come dance and celebrate with us! Welcome!

Ice Hotel // Friendly Galaxy Party

DJ Wichje and Ice Hotel!
Photo: Jeroen Trispel

Last Friday, I dj-ed at Luxor Live for my friend Melissa’s awesome Friendly Galaxy Party. It was great fun! I made a playlist that was sparkly, spacey and dancey to follow the intergalactic theme (enter silver shirt and face glitters). The result: a mix of thumping Daft Punks and Chemical Brothers, laser-firing Robyns, dreamy New Orders, attitude-y M.I.A.s and dancing feet-tickling Crystal Castles to name a few. Plus, I got a little help from my dj-elves of the night Mark and Willem who’s back from Australia! DJ Wichje was my partner that night – it was my first time to do a duo set and what can I say, it was awesome and two times the fun! Our music are different from each other but suprisingly, it works very well- a good combination of soft + hard, electric + smooth, pop + rap, Angel + Devil (our dj-duo name haha)!

I prepared a playlist for you guys of what went down that night, enjoy! See ya later space invaders. 🙂

Ice Hotel // Friendly Galaxy from angelf on 8tracks.

On a roof and under a bridge

Where does your garden grow? On a roof, and under a bridge.

Last Friday was Roof Garden Arnhem’s opening – Arnhem’s summer hangout of the century. Roof Garden is an initiative of As We Speak + Belhamels to transform the top floor of a parking garage into an open space where people can relax and have fun – there is a bar, a coffee corner, a jacuzzi, wooden crates, sunning chairs, a viewing deck and green plants all over. SUPER FUN!

It reminded me of Trädgården in Stockholm, me and my friends’ (and everyone’s) favorite hangout during the summer. Located under the bridge, you can’t help but smile the moment you enter the labyrinthine summer party garden. It’s the vibe of the place that makes you feel so good – everyone is just so happy there. Video installations and Nintendo games, ice cream carts and indie pop gigs, sofas and ping pong tables, dazzling people and dancefloors. I think of Trädgården all year long, even when I’m not in Stockholm and even in the middle of winter. It is place where a lot of my happy memories are stored: hazy summer moments of playing ping pong to catch someone’s eye, sitting on top of elevated crates gazing across the dancefloor, dancing with Suzy and Carol and the rest of the gang, laughing my heart out. The apple ciders and the midnight sun.

With Andy, Marina and Isabella. Tradgården, Stockholm 2010.
With Kniven, Kalle, Andy and Felix. Tradgården, Stockholm 2010.

I can’t help but experience a future deja vu! Trädgården followed me to where I am now- this time in the form of a skyline sensation. (“Joy moves always to new locations, the ease of its flow never freezing” – says Rumi, my favorite 8th Century poet whose wisdom keeps popping up with every turn of my modern life. One of my best friends Bituin wrote that line on a birthday card she gave me when I was a teenager. I never forgot about it.)

Here are my very first pictures of Roof Garden Arnhem, so in the future I can look back and say “Oh this was the very beginning of that golden summer!” Here we come, fantastic memories!

Where does your garden grow? On a roof and under a bridge. Cheers to past, present and future special places! 🙂