On Wednesday 25 July, at the studio of sculptor Herbert Nouwens in Slochteren in the Netherlands, I asked the artist some questions.
Question: Most of your work is rusty steel sculptures. Is your material rusty already before you start working on it?
Answer: Yes, most of my material is. It mainly is second-hand material from foundries and ships. Some of it is sandblasted before I start my work; that cleans it, but also makes it get rusty soon.
I use stuff like hacksaws and welding gear to work the metal.
Question: There are big size differences in your sculptures. Do your small sculptures differ from your big ones, apart from that the small ones are made inside your studio, not outside like the big ones?
Answer: In principle, there is no difference. Some smaller sculptures are models, to make bigger sculptures later. Sometimes, a small sculpture becomes a part of a bigger later work. Many people often repeat themselves. I do that as well, making series of sculptures which are similar, though not identical.
When I was young, I thought that sculpting would become easier later, as I would get used to it. However, now that I am older, it has not really become easier, probably because of my self-criticism. Self-criticism should not drive away spontaneity, which is still important.
Often I get spontaneous creative ideas late in the evening, after lots of more or less routine work during the day. Though I may feel tired in the evening, I then feel relaxed as well.
I used to work in wood early in my career, but not any more. I also worked bronze and stone. I want to work stone again.