Erik de Bree

Winner 2014

About the artist

Erik de Bree (1977) developed himself as an artist at the Gerrit Rietveld School of Art (De Gerrit Rietveld Academie) in Amsterdam. His artistic process is unique, in that he “finishes” a painting and then proceeds to deconstruct portions of it. His preferred method of creation is a serial format; this allows him to hone in on a subject and explore all of its facets to the fullest content of his fascination.


"A random choice. A gamble. One that turned out well."

Erik de Bree

Erik de Bree carefully builds up layers of acrylic paint or wallpaper to create his paintings and collages. Once “finished,” he reworks his piece by breaking down parts and adding to them again. This process results in a unique and surprising new image partly created by pure chance. The playful approach, cheerful colors and unexpected lines reflect the uninhibited nature of childhood. The creative process remains visible and is an essential part of the result, unpredictable as life itself.

The journey

Erik de Bree chose to travel to the Azores for inspiration. “A random choice. A gamble. One that turned out well,” Erik said. Instead of being overwhelmed by nature, new impressions and insights, he experienced the shock of recognition. Decaying buildings, walls and garage doors—it matched his working process of demolition and decay.

What Erik still finds special is the fact that his choice for an inspiration trip to the Azores was more or less a “lucky shot” that turned out to contain many elements that overlapped with the subject he was exploring at the time. Of this, he said, “The hundreds of walls, buildings and garage doors I photographed on the island of São Miguel dovetailed seamlessly with the painting that was a turning point in my artistic process up to that point.”

Erik’s stay in the Azores sparked a love that inspired new creations.

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