Menno van der Meulen: A humble artist on a quest for the essence. The unapologetic.

I am interviewing my friend Menno and although I know him pretty well, it’s hard to get him to talk about himself. I almost feel guilty for insisting, when I ask him repeatedly about how he sees himself.  

He sighs deeply and then manages to say that he is a “creative”. And,  after a pause, reluctantly admits “I am an artist. Maybe I’m just too modest. “But I’m getting better and better at not being too humble! 

Menno van der Meulen is a Jack of all trades. He is an artistic photographer, music producer, DJ, voice actor, and most of all an artist. A Humble artist. On a personal level he is a somewhat inscrutable person, hypersensitive and a perfectionist.  

When I ask him to be insecure he answers: No.. but maybe that’s how you see me? 

Menno van der Meulen, artistic photographer, music producer, hedonist, philosopher. He is a man of extremes, and at the same time someone with a small heart and an unerring intuition. 

Looking at his work, which is often raw, soberingly honest and “naked”, you might not immediately think that such a sensitive person is hidden behind it. Menno  

But this is exactly what Menno is looking for; honesty, the bare essence of things.  

Watching erotic films, a subcutaneous desire was triggered that he had always carried with him. Passion, desire, lust and excitement were emotions that inspired him. 

He is not looking for superficiality, but for depth in himself and in the other. 

In his work he is constantly searching for the edge, how far can you go? Where does it stop? Even when is it can be painful to watch, he doesn’t want you to look away. Perhaps that is the reason that he, when he started with photography, he was fascinated by BDSM, fetish and pornography. 

 Images of BDSM, highlighted as paintings by Caravaggio, or Rembrandt. “Aesthetics are paramount, especially if you want to push the edge”. 

“It’s  not that I need people to find my work pretty. I just want to evoke something. I want to move people, fascinate them. Art is not something that you have to analyse, or understand. As long as it moves you”.  

Menno is able to make you look a little further than what you “should” see. And even if you don’t want to look, his artworks will force you to do so. 

“It is a pity that Amsterdam is no longer as open-minded as it once was. We Dutch are not that open-minded at all. That’s just an illusion. That’s why I like to go to Berlin. The freedom you feel there is powerful. All genders, and preferences, all kinds of extremes together. People together enjoying themselves, without prejudice. It is possible. That’s why I like to go to the famous KitKat club and Insomnia. I would rather live in Berlin.” 

At the moment Menno is busy bundling his work and preparing for a book and exhibition.