Fake work

Flow, flow, flow your boat, gently down the stream! Writing is all about flow, hell, any creative process is about flow.

That’s why I’m challenging myself. As some of you might know, I’m working on a documentary right now. Im in post-production as we speak, and I’m having a hard time  creating the narration that will be the silver lining through the whole enterprise. Besides that, another tough aspect for me is keeping in contact with the outside world.

It’s not like I’m a hermit, no quite the contrary. But I do get wrapped up in my head and my thoughts from time to time. I want to open a dialogue with hopefully my future viewers, but mostly I’d like to structurally ramble about what keeps my mind busy. So I’m going to blog about the working process of More than a Pledge. And while we’re at it, let’s make it daily.

Quote of the day: “The only time wasted, is time spent doing fake work” — Unknown.

Anxiety rules the preadolescent world, and for no reason at all. We tell ourselves that we have to be constantly busy. We’re running ahead but we are being chased by our own shadow. I’ve been reading about something called the : 80/20 principle. Eighty percent of our results come from twenty percent of the work we do. We are being terribly inefficient by trying to be efficient. The 9 to 5 mentality seems disastrous. This twenty percent of our most valuable time is, I believe, spend in the flow I was talking about earlier. Of course, it takes time to fire on the engine or to heat up the oven, but checking your Facebook in the libary won’t make you more productive. Even if it is in a library.

I have an example from my own life. I was taking this course called Theories of Culture, the last course of my bachelor. But coming fresh of the boat from California, I was four weeks behind every pupil in class. I tried to catch up, but the material was incredibly dense (if you read Neo-Marxist literature you understand, simultaneously, I feel sorry for you as well). This course was interfering with what I’m truly passionate about: More than a Pledge. So I realized I was doing fake work. Because I was never going to pass the class with my participation deficit, yet I was spending all my time reading the material. So I dropped it. I decided to postpone my bachelor with one year. What happened? After two months of stress, a month of crowdfunding, a month of filming, I finally felt some piece of mind. And with it, came a creative influx that immediately solved some of the problems at hand.

But actually, I’m just trying to cover up that I’m lazy 😉


Source: Google



The Golden Age

I’ve been working all weekend; and apparently, so has the cashier. As I’m paying for my yoghurt, I meet her thousand yard stare. I can’t blame her, it is a Sunday night. The store closes in half an hour; what could be going through her head?

For some people, this thousand yard stare is the only human interaction they get. What could be going through their heads’? They walk down aisle one, turn left onto memory lane. Pass the booze, think to themselves “hah! I remember when we drank that tequila…” and proceed to sulk away in loneliness. Some pieces of Italian bread might reminisce them of bosoms of lost lovers, some onions might make them cry.

Let’s cut the crêpe. It sucks d*ck when you’ve find a person that can read your mind and the contact between you just waters down. Maybe you moved, maybe the other person moved, maybe you’re just focusing attention in different spheres. But once you see the person again, you can sense the volatility in the air, like a spark that can make it all combust. But something’s gone. Not the ignition, but the sense that it will last. The chemicals are all there, but no wood, no substance that will Bern. The Golden Age cannot be revived; the only thing seeing that person does, is stab you in the kidney with painful nostalgia. F*ck man.


Be (b)rave

IMG_3004Do you think the place you live is dull, or boring? Maybe that’s true, maybe you live in a little hole called Appelscha, but if you don’t, perhaps it is time to think again. Sometimes, your own identity can collide with the identity of your town. Are you a ballet dancer living in Harlem? That don’t make you no gangsta.

Instead, you’re really a gangsta if you set your identity/ego aside to taste the fruits that grow in your neighborhood. Currently, I live in Groningen, a modest town in the North of the Netherlands. For a long time, I haven’t identified with it much. I thought the demographic of Groningen was too layered, as you can immediately tell if a person is a student, a stadjer (someone who is a native Groningen resident), or an alcoholic. It’s gotten so extreme, that I’m afraid to talk shit about fairytale Groningen because the trees might hear me. No, I like big cities, I like mingling, I like to be anonymous in a huge crowd. That’s what I thought.

Two nights ago, I got my share of mingling, of the all-powerful feeling of anonymity in a crowd. It wasn’t in New York, it wasn’t in L.A., it was in a dark hole, where its mass and energy produced light effects that captured the minds of the dancing people and kept them in a euphoric haze for four hours; it was in the basement of a club in Groningen. My city is famous for its rave and party culture, and in my three years of residence here, I had not given it a single shot! Drum and Bass reigns supreme as the giants of Noisia are able to invite international artists to our modest town. I always go on and on about the U.S., it’s true, I love it. But I’ve changed my mind. Four hundred people going balls deep, ravin’ and cravin’, the music embracing, completely free in a cage of delirium. We seek happiness continuously, yet it can be found everywhere.

It’s  5 A.M., the party is over. My buds and I are walking over deserted roads, with a prospect of being as faded as the lighting of the streets. Not a single worry is on our mind. Like bees we were attracted toward a raving hive, they must’ve put something in this honey, because the bees are going ham. My honey is sleeping in her bed, but Winnie the Pooh hits the blunt and exhales a sigh of indulgence, he’s stuffed. I swear, that in those five hours, I caught a glimpse of some sort of transcendence, a collective euphoria in a state of ecstasy.

Shit, my jaw hurts.


Using a different medium

So normally I post all my art making endeavours on this page. However, I’ve been thinking about using a different medium to illustrate my artworks, and my points. My University asked me to make an artwork for their entrance, in the video posted below, I show you how I’m making it, or him, rather:

“Reflection” – Self Portrait


It’s my very first self-portrait! This is what I look like, kinda. If you’ve never seen me, I doubt you’ll recognize me on the  street. I’ve replaced my skin with fabric, my T-shirt made out of fabric with fabric, and by brain with a destroyed motherboard. My processor still works fine though.


As the portrait depicts, I’m a bit fuzzheaded. My thoughts are all over the place, scattered around my head. Within the work you’ll find the first script I ever wrote, and two of my previous artworks. My brain is sending out lines of connection, trying to connect and control the thoughts, trying to structure them. But the brain’s wires can only reach the mind so far, thus some give up half-way.20151112_142023122_iOS

On the bottom right corner is my signature, and time stamp. It represents my name, Hugo van Essen, and from now on it will decorate all my works.

Making this piece of work was really challenging. I’ve already practiced this “fabric technique” in my previous artwork (Pieces), so that went easier. The real challenge, then, was putting myself on canvas. Firstly, my face was rather in-your-face up close to my actual face. It makes you face your insecurities, and accept your face as your identity. Secondly, I wanted to perfect it to a degree that I do not deem possible, because I want to portray my self-portrait as perfect to others. As if I have no insecurities or weaknesses. Of course this is not true and this piece isn’t perfect, but you must understand that as an artist (which I think I can call myself) it is real scary, frightening even, to expose your work to others.

All of my artworks are permeated by “me”, and this one especially; simply by being my artwork, and additionally because it depicts my actual face. Imagine your persona being a tough shell which you expose to your social surroundings everyday. It is sturdy, and only few people you interact with daily will scratch its surface. It’s like teeth, the outer layer consists of “enamel”, after diamond the hardest natural mineralized tissue on this planet. There is a layer after that called “dentin”, which serves as a buffer, but after that, your inner layer, “pulp”, is practically defenseless! Now they say that if you brush your teeth everyday you ought to be fine, no bacteria will decay your enamel, and your pulp will be safe. Well, I’m exposing my pulp to the haters, and they can go f*ck themselves.



This artpiece above is entirely made out of different fabrics. First drawn, then cut out and glued on a surface. All different patterns combined make a lovely lady.

With your life in shambles, what do you look to? Art! Now, a human is build up of many different pieces. Friends, family, ex-girlfriends all provide the red thread that weaves the fabric of our personality. Some pieces are larger, thicker, or more colorful than others. Some are a bit heavier, darker, and become unnecessary. Looking at my art project Pieces, I wouldn’t say that removing one of the pieces would be a mutilation of her face. No, instead, removing a piece could even make the whole better.

But who decides when the artwork is better? Who decides whether your life choices are better? Simple answer:  no one does. Sometimes, pieces ought to be cut away. It might seem as a form of self-mutilation, but rather, it’s a phase of letting go. Which is difficult, but often more courageous than holding on. Startover with a blank face, a tabula rasa, so what do you do?

You collect pieces, and you know the pieces fit.

Blood Circuit


Sometimes you just have the urge to create. This piece above, is now decorating my bedroom wall. People ask me why, but that is the wrong question. I don’t think there is anything more enjoyable, or fulfilling, than creating something that is absolutely useless.

The term absolutely useless is free to interpretation of course. An economics major may deem it so, but an art major would disagree. Do you see the MRI scan pictures on there?


0129ee093bfd2a4b461106251ded2c88e8204fc418010413162cdd4621c6d2e141454ae05b0c6dba330eA while ago, I was afflicted by heavy migraines. Migraines are something that I’d like to call absolutely useless. They feel like an overloaded circuit, a piece of the motherboard heating up. Your cooling system is malfunctioning, the heat is rising, and what happens when you have a migraine? You shut down. Don’t fret, the sytem will cool down and start functioning again after a while. But structurally reoccurring shutdowns are annoying, and painful, so you decide to get your cooling system fixed.
Hence, I went to the hospital to make some MRI scans of my head. They found no irregularities, anomalies, or points of concern. But I had. Emperically, I was able to pinpoint the cause of my migraines, it was coffee. Perhaps I conditioned into it through a Pavlov effect, maybe it was the caffeine in the coffee that made my head throb so. But the cause was most definitely coffee.


In my opinion, I think my finished piece, Blood Circuit, is nice to look at. However, I do not enjoy the sight of it on my wall, more than I enjoyed the process of making it. I put some immersive music on, and painted for hours. But not only painting though, experimentation with multiple media: watercolor, computerparts, paper, and electronic cables. I got the computer coded” paper from a malfunctioning printer at my university faculty. A friend of mine came to me and said: “the printer is going insane, look at this,” I became immediately inspired.

This whole process allowed my overloaded circuit to cool off, and allowed my RAM memory to delegate its tasks to my electronic organs. Life was getting intense, and this helped me to prevent a binary breakdown. All in all, the process of this creation was helpfully cathartic.

Parting Pieces Discretely

Pinching my eyes, have I forgotten completely?

Delivering line after line,

parting pieces of me discretely.

Give up please,

falll into the void, or whatever there may be,

I want something, a feeling, a touch,

can I get a feeling?

Physical contact don’t matter much,

eyes locked in contact,

but no words come across.

Please my darling I beg to know,

but for the life of me

I shall never show.

Girls ya dig?

Sometimes, one has the feeling as if he has shot him or herself in the foot. I am such a person right now. This bullet pierced the skin and crushed the bone, so I cannot walk anymore. Therefore, I have now taken seat behind my laptop. The footwound throbs all the way to my head, and the pressure rises. But with every word written, the pressure alleviates, and my head gets lighter. But will my foot ever heal?

Will I need a cane? Or will I just continue to shuffle? I saw this old man once, he had a broken leg. However, he never got it fixed, and the tissue grew back, but the ol’ bone was never the same. Will I become that person? Or am I the new House M.D.? A genius in disguise, I just don’t know it yet. No that would be too self-indulgent.

Breathing in the cold, feigning smoke that’s debatably more ill than a cigarrete’s. Waiting for a girl’s text, but it never comes. Supposedly, we spent 4 years of our lives looking down at our phones. Conscious of this thought, and my intuition and anger pressing the frontline all the way to my rationale, it caves in. A trigger is pulled and I don’t know what happens next.

But I do know now. Necessary dissapointment. We could’ve went to the dance together, we could’ve f***ed together. I would wake up first, make her some coffee and eggs. The next day she would care for me because I drank too much the night before. She would whisper sweet murmers and warm my ear, silence would appear victor and I’d nod in approval.

Thoughts run amok, turn to demons.

But I’m not lonely, see, I’m never on my own.

The neverending grasp


Eccentric, eclectic, erratic

I wrote this post for my study’s weekly paper, the theme was “eccentric, eclectic, erratic”. Unfortunately, I received remarks of harsh language and confusion wether this article was on topic at all. See if you can find the three E’s.

Eclectic, what a word. If you don’t know the meaning, don’t fret. Hell, I didn’t even know what it meant before I started writing this. Eclectic means taking a variety of things and combining these things into an ultimate The Thing (1982). The US can generally be described as eclectic, because the country knows a history of immigration and shifting populations. In Massachusetts for example, is the largest population of beer in the US, and most of the pina colladas are seemingly drawn to the West Coast. 

Every fall, biologists track the mass migration of beer cans that shift their focus from high school students to the brand new freshmen. This process seems to happen annually.

So here I find myself at this house party; the JFK airport of alcoholic beverages, and I’m about to get shot….gun by a beer. I was just enjoying my time, standing in the kitchen talking to people, hoping to find the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s pound-town. The clock said 11 and a knocking were heard. I opened the door, and this guy in a police costume stands in the doorway. Obviously, I’m thinking why the fuck is this guy dressed up as a cop, this ain’t Halloween. Then, of course, my brain started kicking in. Oooh. So I walked backwards, beer in hand, and ran to the other end of the house. Whispers of “who the fuck let the cops in” could be heard later in the evening, I answered: “I guess they fell off the back of a truck”.

BAM! Other party. The fine and dandy raised young man I was at the time, I took a cab home with my friends. One of them was obviously wasted beyond repair, so we held him. We got home, I step foot out of the cab, and this annoying freaking light is shining in my eyes. I groaned and moaned and expressed my confusion, and the voice of a man with a stick up his ass calmly replied: “Hands on the vehicle, sir”. Oh, I get what is going on. Me and my drunk friend stand there with our hands on this cop’s hood. “Sir, this hood is awfully hot, could I place my hands elsewhere” I said in my best drunken English. So I was thinking, this fuckin hot shot cop picking on these decent college kids taking a cab home, what did I do wrong? After he was done writing the tickets and I signed all my information like a total dickwad, I caught a glimpse of his uniform. I understood, now, why he was so pissed. For his judgment that night wasn’t one solely on drunken under aged college students, no, his judgment was the result of a tormenting childhood and a tedious repetition of domestic Rihanna violence jokes. Yes, his nametag said Chris, fuckin, Brown. #truestoryChris-Brown-1900068