Johnny Beerens mainly makes monumental and at the same time minute works of art. Eyecatching are his murals, such as on the water tower in Oostburg and the grain silo in Breskens, and his three dimensional works built up out of many layers and pieces of handcrafted paper. Beerens has a low production rate because of his time-consuming creative process. Many of his works are directly sold to a handful of collectors. This is why is he not widely known, even though the nature and the quality of his work demand it.
An ode to the sea, the tides and the power of nature
The works of Beerens are often an ode to the sea, the tides, the power of nature and the circle of life. He uses materials such as seashells and other materials that can be found by the seaside and incorporates this in his handcrafted paper. The paper functions as a connective element between the depiction of nature and nature itself.
Beerens’s works are complexly built up out of many layers and this handcrafted paper. Various techniques and backgrounds are combined in one work. Drawing, scratching, etching, cutting, gluing, sowing, constructing and painting. The painted and paper skin of the work, that no pictures do justice, need to be experienced in real life. And you are able to, in Knokke!
In his most recent work Oculus Maris Beerens even integrated a projector with images of the sea.
This almost four and a half meter tall installation, comprised of over 200 etched plates, took Beerens over two and a half years to complete. The very labor intensive creative process was documented by himself in a documentary. He takes you into his atelier and walks you through the creative process in 40 minutes. You are able to discover how the work was put together out of etchings, many layers of handcrafted paper mixed with found materials such as seashells, sand, shark teeth, barnacles and old nets.