Maitland is home to artist Patricia Van Lubeck’s studio and gallery
For those well connected with the local art and creative scene, you will be well across the arrival of Dutch artist Patricia Van Lubeck to Maitland back in 2017, but for those unaware, you might just want to listen in.
Unlike anything I’ve seen before, Patricia’s work both on canvas and her public art projects including large-scale wall murals and footpath rugs are equally thought-provoking and whimsical, offering the perfect textile for those more curiously inclined.
We dropped by Studio Amsterdam, Patricia’s Maitland-based gallery and studio space, to hear all about her artistic journey and creative process and to hear more about the stories behind her works.
Originally from The Netherlands, Patricia and her partner, Frank, moved to New Zealand in 2005 before finally stumbling on over to us here in Australia in 2017. But why Maitland?
“We went for a day out to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery. We walked past this building and had a look in through the glass front. It was just this huge, big space, and we thought this will be right out of our budget. Then a few days later, we looked online and thought, hmm, this could actually be doable.”
Officially opening the doors to her studio in 2018, Studio Amsterdam has just recently ticked over four years since launching. Over the course of those four years, Patricia and her artistic pursuits and range of projects have gone from strength to strength.
Where exactly does someone with such a recognisable style and incredible resume of work start their journey?
From humble artistic beginnings, would you believe that this creative genius was once a bored bookkeeper? Kicking off her art journey at a time that can be considered quite late in life, her late twenties finally saw Patricia taking her creative pursuits seriously.
“I was always creative, but I never thought being an artist could be a profession, I didn’t come from that kind of background where it was encouraged.
“When I was at the bookkeeping office, it was so boring I would fall asleep almost every afternoon. My friend said, why don’t you do something that you like? I said, how do I make money with that? For a full year, I just painted and painted and made a lot of stock. After that, I went to the galleries and asked if they would let me exhibit, and that’s how it all started.”
Even now, all these years later, Patricia is incredibly humble in her pursuits, not taking herself at all too seriously. Now 15 years working as a professional full-time artist, with the last five seeing her career take off, Patricia is surely going to be a household name for those in the Hunter region.
Patricia’s public work that you can check out for yourself can be found at Bourke St in Maitland, the beautiful rugs taking up space on the roads in Morpeth, the footpath rug out the front of Rogue Scholar in Newcastle, and the wall done by Patricia on the corner of Union St and King St as part of The Big Picture Fest in 2020.
“In a few months, I’m also going to do the footpaths around the area here. We are doing an interesting pattern with gas pipes and water pipes. In Lee Street, there was a big gas factory years ago and the council always wanted a connection of what was there.”
Patricia’s public art often features her signature tree designs, with her unique strokes used to signify leaves. Her true calling is with her canvas work, where you can sense her true creativity comes to life through neo-surrealism-like work.
“Landscapes are easy for everyone to digest, they’re never offensive. Using a tree as a character in a piece is easier to relate to. The hairy things on the trees came from me being too lazy to paint all of the leaves. Suddenly, it has become my signature!”
Comparable to Australian artist Jeffrey Smart and even to some works by the genius that is Salvador Dali, each piece of Patricia’s evokes a whimsical and playful spirit, with room to be individually interpreted.
It’s Patricia’s personally crafted stories attached to each work that really makes you look beyond the linear description of what’s in front of you. Instead, she encourages you to look at her work through her eyes.
“The stories that I make up are sometimes a little bit exaggerated and they’ll come later when I’m actually doing the painting. Maybe they come out of something deep in my head, I don’t know! Sometimes I ask people which one is their favourite, and then I ask is it because of the story or because of the artwork? It’s often because of the story!”
The studio is open to the public from Friday through til Sunday from 10am-5pm. You can browse a select range of originals or get yourself a print of one of Patricia’s signature works. Watch this space, as the building is also home to a sneaky little surprise out the back, a private cinema/event space available for hire.
Currently, the space has played host to a selection of events but the couple plan to expand their offering and potentially even get some comedy nights in to weave art and culture whilst bringing some more nightlife into the centre of Maitland.
Whether you’re an avid art consumer, enjoy new experiences, or are just looking for a reason to explore somewhere new, head on over to Studio Amsterdam in Maitland and engage with Patricia Van Lubeck’s truly unique work.