Student - 29 november 2012

Wallflowers

The occupants of some student houses have let their imaginations run riot on their walls.

16-D-Way-CMGZ-GA-5659.jpg
16-D-Way-CMGZ-GA-5659.jpg

Foto: .

Whether a wall painting serves as the backdrop for a house party, represents longing for your home country or portrays your degree subject, it always gives your student house something special and unique. 'Every time I walk through the door I think: I did that.'
T-Rex meets Captain Kirk
D-Way - Nick
'It is a tradition in our student house - a former croquette factory - to organize a big party once a year. We have 32 occupants, which makes us the biggest student house in Wageningen - so plenty of room for a party. Each year, we redecorate two of the kitchens in our house to fit in with the party's theme. That is always a really nice part of the event for us, firstly because we get a lot of fun doing the painting but also because it adds something to the evening. And then you still have an entire year in which to enjoy it.
We start by thinking up a theme. That's the key because you can't paint without a theme. You also need to keep in mind that we have two kitchens to decorate. So you can do something with contrasting images, or alternatively matching images.
This year, after a lengthy selection process, the chosen theme was "If only I had a time machine". We depicted the past in one kitchen with paintings of dinosaurs, cavemen and a Dutch East Indies Company ship. You leave that picture of bygone days in one kitchen and walk straight into the future in the next kitchen: a futuristic city with the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek on the wall. We also took the music styles into account: the DJ in the kitchen of the past will play older records and mainstream modern music while the DJ in the kitchen of the future will mainly play house and dubstep.
We used a video projector to create the wall paintings. That was a real help. You project the images onto the wall, pencil them in, retrace the lines with a felt tip and then it's basically a question of colouring in. Useful for someone like me who can't just paint a mammoth or whatever from scratch.
This year is particularly special as we are being sponsored - by Flügel. We sent Flügel an e-mail and they called me back the very next day. Two reps came along in posh black cars, dressed in suits. We are getting forty crates of Flügel bottles and a variety of gadgets from them for the party. No, you won't find Flügel in the wall paintings: we like to keep art and commerce strictly separate. 
'A month surrounded by painting equipment'
Willemstad - Chandni
'We had an old wall painting of Disney figures but we had got bored with that. Last summer we had a long debate about what we should have on the wall. In the end my housemate came up with the idea of painting the multicoloured wooden houses around Willemstad harbour. Of course I thought that was a great plan given that I actually come from Curaçao.
That's how my big painting project started. I got going with the Olympic Games on the TV in the background. My housemate gave me support by bringing me occasional cups of tea. I found a picture on the Internet and sketched that on the wall - just freehand. I didn't get all the lines properly straight, so I downloaded a special spirit-level app for that. My housemates did have to put up with a lot: we spent at least a month surrounded by brushes, paint tins and plastic sheeting. 
I am proud of it, really proud. Every time I walk through the door I think: I did that. I also took a photo of it and showed it to my family back home - my dad, mum and kid brother. It took my mum several days to realize that the painting was on a wall, not on canvas.
I have to admit that the colours are not entirely correct. I never thought it would be so difficult to mix purple. I assumed it would just be a question of adding red to blue, but that gives you a kind of aubergine colour. Whatever, a wall like that gives you a real tropical feeling. We have now made a house agreement that one day we are all going to visit Curaçao.'

'You have to get it right'
Biologists - Erik-Jan
'There are five people in our house and they are all biologists. That's quite unusual but there is a reason for this. This used to be the office of SFO, the Idealis tenants association. When they moved out they looked for five students to be the new occupants of the premises, and they ended up with our group.
All the walls were white when we moved in. That gave real potential for turning them into something unique to us. I was the one who began on the wall in the living room. My housemates decided that I should paint a fuchsia-pink tree. I started with green grass and blue skies. Then I added the tree with pink flowers. I used a bird guide to add various birds to the painting, bit by bit: a tawny owl, a nuthatch, a great tit, a buzzard, swifts, a swallow, a stork. If you look carefully, you can see a bittern among the reeds.
I used the flora guide for the plants. I checked that to see which species would be found in combination. That might be a bit nerdy but you have to get it right in a house full of biologists. I ended up with marsh plants: reed mace, reed, marsh marigold, yellow flag, snake's head, and great bindweed. The only thing that isn't biologically correct is the tree. Even if it did exist, it would be an exotic import.'

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