Painter and illustrator, Peter Blokhuis (1938) from The Hague, is best known for his depictions of the street scene. The themes for his drawings and paintings are drawn from his many trips around the world, as well as that which lies around the corner from his studio in The Hague. His ultimate travel destination is Marrakech: his ideal source of inspiration. However picturesque and idyllic the outward appearance of this North African society may seem, Peter is guided by the complex political and religious contradictions and, in fact, paints testimonies of human drama.
Peter Blokhuis depicts abstract themes such as impermanence, loneliness, and the acts of waiting and caring. Blockhuis can work intensively on a painting for up to a month to convey his stories. Peter: “I don’t make comfortable, pleasant, accessible art. The peaceful silence in a street, or view from a hotel window, depicted is only surface level. There is always the threat of chaos and disruption, which can strike at any moment. The smell of transience is omnipresent. I paint contemporary society.”
Peter draws on the streets: in coffee houses (often in a faraway country); in ravaged neighborhoods in Beirut; the waiting area of Grand Central Station in New York; a homeless shelter, the Hoefkade in The Hague. These are places where the people he wants to depict remain, more or less, motionless. “After an hour of drawing, I can also take pictures—not too flashy.”
In his studio in The Hague, Peter continues the work in his chosen medium. New drawings emerge, in which he also incorporates the remains of posters he has collected. Sometimes these drawings foreshadow future paintings, but possess an independent character, his autonomous works.
The city of Marrakech in Morocco has long served as a source of inspiration for Peter Blokhuis. However picturesque and idyllic the outward appearance of this North African society may seem, Peter is guided by the complex political and religious contradictions and, in fact, paints testimonies of human drama. His works paint a confronting picture of the unknown side of this colorful city. Blokhuis can be found near the Mosque of the Blind, among the tanners, in a remote square where fortune-tellers make their predictions, or in the hushed Jewish cemetery. The people he draws live on the fringes of society. Peter records their poverty, hopeless waiting, resignation and loneliness.