Sticks is a Zwolle native

'Zwolle is in my heart'

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Sticks (Junte Uiterwijk) is currently touring the Netherlands and Belgium with his album Alles Over Hoop. Also, starting May 28, he is one of the participating artists in the Hanseatic Year exhibition ENERGY at Ronald Westerhuis' Koelwaterhal. "What a wonderful location that is...A raw, atmospheric and dynamic place in a beautiful landscape. This really adds something back to Zwolle," the Zwolle native feels.

Photos: Robin de Puy

"Zwolle has grown on many fronts. Recently I was given a tour of Dublin House. One of the staff members took me to the Peacock Bar on the second floor. I just barely fell over in amazement. And I got that same feeling at The Refter across the street. That kind of development, as a young father who doesn't go out much, kind of passed me by. You really didn't have that kind of business in Zwolle when I was young. Zwolle is also much more popular than it used to be. Our new neighbors come from Haarlem, for example: they fall for the beautiful city center and the space you still have here.

Environment surprises

Last year I cycled through Zwolle and its surroundings with forty cyclists from Amsterdam. I am an ambassador for the cycling clothing brand Rapha and those guys wanted to come and cycle here. Especially for them I mapped out a route from the Thorbeckegracht to Ommen, Vilsteren, Deventer and via the IJsseldijk back to Zwolle. They didn't know what they were experiencing... It just goes to show that these surroundings are always surprising, I tell them with pride. And the best part: they liked this region so much that they are coming again this year...

Beautiful base

I also cycle and walk a lot myself. And then Zwolle really is a wonderful base. I often cycle to Heerenveen and then return via the Tjeukemeer and Blokzijl. Or I do a round of Apeldoorn or the Vechtdal. Those are all wonderful routes. Every day I also walk for an hour and a half through Zwolle. Through the city center or through the neighborhoods. Sometimes with a podcast on, but often I think and ideas bubble up. Zwolle still inspires. After forty years I haven't stopped looking at the city. Zwolle is in my heart.

Creative outburst

Photo: Robin de Puy]( You can hear that in my texts and I think you also experience it on my canvases. Not that I paint the Peperbus or the IJssel bridge, but Zwolle is in me and you can see that in my canvases. In that respect I am a funnel: everything I experience, feel or find goes through it in a creative burst. This results in poetry for my music and increasingly in paintings.

I started doing these years back, never with the idea of showing them. Until Ralph Keuning asked me for an exhibition at De Fundatie.

Exhibition Cooling Water Hall

And now at the exhibition ENERGY in the Koelwaterhal I find myself in the company of eighteen European artists. That is quite special, of course. With my canvases I mainly portray feelings that cannot be captured in words. Themes range from killing your own ego to creating the world of your dreams. Despite being abstract work, I think people recognize themselves in it. Also because I use snippets of phrases that come to mind while painting. Painting has opened up a new world for me. I remain the funnel through which everything must pass, but how it comes out differs now. That gives me even more creative freedom.

Home town Zwolle

Zwolle is not only an ideal base for cycling trips. For my ambitions and work, too, I'm right here. Of course I travel a lot to the Randstad and Belgium, but precisely because of that hectic life you need a place where you are completely at home and where you can relax. A city full of nice places and fixed addresses. And a city that continues to surprise with all the new developments."

Sticks' top 3

  • "The Koelwaterhal is not only the place for the exhibition ENERGY, but in the coming years also for concerts, theater and performances. In the place where electricity was generated for years, you now feel a different kind of energy. That's where I'm going to come often."
  • "Eating out I really like to do at Senang: you can get great oriental food there. The place recently received a Bib Gourmand for the first time. I also eat regularly at La Cucaracha."
  • "A nice addition to Zwolle I think is De Basis. That's a new hostel with the great restaurant Bennies."

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