A Dutch painter with a passion for South Asian culture, Frank Wagtmans reveals his love for bridal paintings from his ‘Behind the Indian Veil’ collection. Fank Wagtmans hails from Sittard in the Dutch province of Limburg, in the Netherlands. For Wagtmans, painting is not just an art, it is a way of expressing his passion for culture. The talented artist executes the beauty of cultures like Japan, Peru, Kenya and India in bliss detail on canvas. His paintings are eye-catching and exquisite, feeding our hearts with meaningful beauty. Aside from painting a series of portraits for his website, he paints on commission as well. DESiblitz admires all his exceptional portraits, particularly his paintings of Indian brides. The distinctive portraits explore a deep tradition and connection with South Asian bridal culture. "I want to capture traditional cultural identities on canvas" Frank created his very first Indian bridal portrait in 2011, for Dutch TV program Koffietijd (Artwork of the Week). He donated the profits of his world portrait sale to UNICEF. In an exclusive interview with DESIblitz, Frank Wagtmans unveils his love, inspiration and passion for art.
Many times inspiration is needed to convert primary imagination into artistry. Wagtmans is inspired to paint by “the need to create, to make art”, which has always been deeply rooted within him. It is this authentic rooting that makes him such a compelling artist. Aside from solo inspiration, the artist tells DESIblitz that he is inspired by “people who follow their own creative path, are original and are true to their own style”. This has guided him on his path to becoming prosperous.
The portraits in his ‘Behind The Indian Veil’ collection, capture female Indian traits and expressions marvellously. Dusted shyness within their eyes, pure innocence and captivating beauty are highlighted. He paints the brides in traditional, prismatic sarees. Sometimes painting on a veil, other times not. They are also adorned with sparkling jewellery to accentuate their stunning and delicate features. All the exquisite details reflect the rich culture of Indian women. Frank admits that the series of portraits is inspired by the “magical weddings” that take place in India. Full of vibrant colour, beauty, music and laughter, they are a visual feast that the artist was eager to capture in his work. Not being of South Asian roots, the unique painter was prompted to create these bridal portraits: “I am also interested in various world cultures and indigenous populations. What I find particularly fascinating is the traditional appearance of these people: the clothing, fabrics, hairdos, colours and jewellery,” Frank admits. “I encounter all of these elements in Indian brides, which is why I find them so enormously appealing to place on my canvas.” So far Wagtmans has created Indian bridal women only. However, the artist has also painted Indian men, but only on commission: “Perhaps I’ll paint a series of male portraits in the future, since these can be just as beautiful,” Frank tells us. His other ethnically inspired collections include, ‘Becoming a Geisha, ‘The Beauty Of Diversity’ and ‘Children Of The World’.
His painting method is complex and takes copious levels of dedication to create beautiful portraits. Starting off with a mere sketch, Wagtmans layers beautiful outbursts of colours onto his canvas. Many times he balances the softness of the colour by implementing materials like crumpled fabric or dazzling jewels. He completes the paintings with velvety strokes from his brush. This technique produces majestic textures: “The paintings are comprised of many layers of acrylic paint and other media, after which they are carefully finished with refined glossy materials,” says Frank. “It’s a labour-intensive process that takes 4 to 6 weeks.” As Wagtmans tells us, creating electric, cultural masterpieces like bridal portraits requires patience and hardwork: “I can incorporate many special materials into these paintings, such as glossy metallic paint and fancy gems, which makes the paintings shine when exposed to the right light, giving them an exclusive appearance.” An exclusive appearance is justly achieved in his alluring paintings. As viewers to his exotic paintings, it would be difficult to pick a favourite from this vast collection. When DESIblitz asks the painter which is his favourite painting from the Modern collection, he is unable to choose: “Each painting has something unique, something all on its own, which is why it’s difficult for me to pick a favourite painting.”
Every artist has a unique message to convey to the world. Wagtmans truly understands the cultural significance in life. He is able to convey this idea and envision through the use of sublime detail and brush strokes: “In a rapidly changing world where values are blurring and where people often relinquish their steadfast customs and tradition, I want to capture traditional cultural identities on canvas.” For the youth, Wagtmans sends out a motivational message too. He addresses the message to those who aspiring to become great artists: “Having a goal, being disciplined and working hard, not giving up, being unique. These are the basic elements I believe in and that I can recommend to young people.” Frank has been widely commended for his magnificent art. His portrait of King Willem-Alexander was displayed in the Dutch soap opera, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (Good Times, Bad Times) . A fan of the artist, Sandeep made a positive acclaim for Frank’s paintings: “Some of the most beautiful paintings I have seen in my life. I am an Indian myself and the painting of the brides are just jaw dropping.” Frank Wagtmans dreams to stay creative and continue painting until a ripe old age. DESIblitz commends the painter for his inspirational art and hopes he achieves this dream. See more of Frank Wagtmans work on his website here.