Future Tribes reflects a lifelong obsession with cars and costume. Since childhood, Niek has seen humanoid faces within automotive forms – unique characters with colorful metallic features hidden in oversized grilles and unblinking headlights. As his obsession evolved and expanded, Niek began to observe connections between contemporary car culture and costume traditions around the world, particularly in the way certain attributes are exaggerated and abstracted to express collective identity. Future Tribes explores this theme across a series of clay masks. His spontaneous sculptural technique gives each a rudimentary quality, while layers of high-gloss automotive lacquer place them firmly in an otherworldly future.
Car Crushed extends the concept of car and identity, sparked by Niek’s fascination with the visuals of damage and impact. Shot at brazen angles typical of car enthusiasts, each portrait is interrupted by a mesmerizing composition of destruction, further abstracted by the use of transparencies.
Continuing to explore the juxtaposition of structure and chaos, Niek began using a 3D printing pen with a variety of plastic filaments to ‘doodle’ automotive favorites of his childhood. While the iconic silhouette of each car is recognizable, they become sculptures made unique by the unpredictability of the medium and impulse of the artist.