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A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it (Fontaine)

After working on a wide range of cultural events for fifteen years, among other things for Bas-is Design & Production en the Peerd Foundation, the train ground to a halt in 2013: crisis and lack of funding for new projects.

In anticipation of positive news from society and without anything better to do, I started drawing indoor plants in February and garden plants in April.

So, drawing it was. The only trade I learnt and had taken a lot of effort to avoid.

Trying to do what I wasn’t yet good at seemed more exciting to me than simply doing what I was born and raised to do.

Every day I drew something, posted it on Facebook, called it Drawing of the Day, got response, and continued drawing.

I approached musicians when they played at the entrance of the supermarket, made movies and started painting as well.

Now my studio is in an industrial zone on the wrong side of the tracks, at a stone’s throw from the city of Groningen. There I paint, among show people, car dealers with connections with the former Eastern bloc and a number of Roma musicians staying in a container. Their only luxury: internet. 

The painting never stopped. I studied the history of the Roma people and got involved with them. Here you can see the results.


About Ron


Ron Glasbeek (1952) graduated from Minerva Academy of Arts in Groningen in 1976. He now works as an artist and a creative producer.

The Colour of Smoke is originally the title of a novel by Roma author Menyhért Lakatos, from 1975, in which he describes his youth in pre-war Hungary in a magic-realistic way. This book, plus a number of encounters with ‘gypsies’, got Ron fired up about this ‘strange’ people that also lived in the Netherlands.

In 2013 he started researching material for a theatre show about Roma and Sinti. After some digging he came across a number of old movies on YouTube. They evoked images from the book again, but these were now set in Western Europe. He started working on a painted storyboard with scenes for a theatre show, but gradually realized that the resulting pictures did not need actors or a theatrical performance.

The exhibition and its catalogue tell a bittersweet story, in which the wanderlust and the need for freedom of the Sinti and Roma are thwarted by registration, raids and deportation. The paradox of free man: a theme that is dramatic, yet picturesque. Besides the Gypsie theme Ron makes portraits of different people, for instance every year during the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival in Groningen.

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