About artist Mr. Upside
Why does Dutch urban artist Michiel Nagtegaal make art?
Dutch contemporary urban artist Mr. Upside uses vibrant colours and bold patterns, as a visual language of happiness and joy. His art reflects his optimistic faith in the world, although Michiel often perceives reality as too bound by 'unspoken rules that must to be followed'.
The abstract fantasy worlds Mr. Upside likes to create, heal the wounds of this reality and provide a warm escape route. The happy fantasy worlds are bound by only one rule; they need to leave a positive impression on the viewer.
Mr. Upside (Michiel Nagtegaal, 1974) has a carefree childhood. He doesn't have any brothers or sisters but has many friends. When his friends are not around, he draws. Drawing makes him loose track of time and it develops his intuition for color and form. His ambition is to become a well-known illustrator of comic books. But after high school and six months Graphic School he abandons those dreams and starts working full time.
For Michiel money isn't the world, but it surely equals freedom. In the early days of house music and together with two companions, he co-founds a company that organizes house music events in local venues. Michiel likes to design the flyers. Those flyers and his comics become part of the portfolio he takes with him when he successfully applies for a graphic design job at an advertising agency.
During the rise of the Internet, he 'upgrades' this graphic design job for a webdesign job at an internet agency. In the evenings, together with a befriended developer, he founds internet agency Supershift in 2000. In 2005 clients are getting bigger, a third companion joins the company and Michiel learns that managing a company is not one of his passions. He misses the freedom to create. In 2007, when the small internet agency employs more than five people, Michiel leaves the company and starts a successful career as Freelance Designer, under the moniker Designia.
He is 38 when daughter Zoë is born. Fatherhood makes him thinking about the future and the wisdom that he will pass on to his daughter. Things like: 'Do whatever you like, as long as you do it with passion' and 'Follow your dreams'.
Which of that wisdom does he practice himself? He realises that ultimate (creative) freedom only can be achieved as an artist.
Just like film, books, news and music, art has the power to influence the energy levels of the viewer. Emotions in the artworks are reflected in the viewer. But why would you want to make the viewer sad or angry? What is the point in decreasing the energy of the viewer? Michiel feels that art should always try to increase and lift the energy of the viewer. One way to reach that goal is to use the vibrant colors Mr. Upside uses in his artworks.
Download Press Kit
A Press Kit (48,4 MB, PDF) is available for download here. It contains:
• A short version of the biography
• An Artist Statement,
• A list of exhibitions and shows,
• An overview of past and current publicity
• An visual overview of recent artworks
• A download link for high resolution images
Follow Mr. Upside on Instagram
Click on an image to enlarge it in Instagram. Click here for the Mr. Upside Instagram account.