Artist Jan is De Man’s latest 3D work brings street art inside a monumental church in Amsterdam Noord.
For his latest, stunning project, Dutch artist Jan Is De Man has broken the traditional boundaries of street art by bringing his creativity inside the walls of Bunk, a monumental building, formerly a church, located in the hip neighbourhood of Amsterdam Noord. Bunk recently converted the church into a multipurpose space that straddles the line between artistic residence, luxury hostel, recording studio, restaurant and design hotel.
Here, using as his “canvas” the white blocks that house the rooms in the church’s central atrium, Jan Is De Man has created a three-dimensional dragon, which you can only see in its imposing entirety from the proper perspective.
“The inspiration for making a dragon came from the surroundings, the church itself, other objects, and artworks already in the building. I also wanted to connect all the cubes in the room with a thing/object/animal, and a long dragon lent itself very well to this purpose,” says the artist.
Jan Is De Man’s social vocation, present in many of his works as an intention to represent and unite local communities, fits perfectly with the concept of Bunk, whose mission is manifested in the motto “sharing stories and generating Wonderment.”
The initial inspiration for Bunk’s project came when its founder, Robin Hagedoorn, was at Burning Man. This festival brings thousands of people to the Nevada desert every year to build a temporary city in the name of art, self-expression, and community spirit. And what better space than an old monumental church to recreate that same spirit – a welcoming, meeting, and creative exchange point for travellers, artists, and literally anyone with curiosity and a desire to get involved. Symbolically, Jan Is De Man’s work echoes the values of collectivity, imagination, and wonderment that are the banner of Bunk.
The making of the work was anything but easy, as the artist recounts: “It was no small challenge, given the perspective and the practical difficulty of having to start from that point of view each time to see how to set up the subsequent lines. It was rather physically demanding. I had to climb a lot. In addition, I was tethered to ropes and safety cables, which often inadvertently dragged over the work that had not yet dried and forced me to make constant repairs.”
Jan Is De Man was nonetheless extremely pleased with the final result of his work, “the most difficult [work] I have ever done in terms of perspective. And if I love it so much, it’s probably because I love big challenges in my work.“
Also in Amsterdam Noord, a neighbourhood that has become home to the artistic avant-garde in the Dutch capital over the past few years, Jan Is De Man’s art can be appreciated at STRAAT, the world’s largest graffiti and street art museum, featuring the work of many of today’s leading international street artists.
Originally from Utrecht, street artist Jan Is De Man (born 1984) is famous for his colorful murals with incredible three-dimensional and trompe l’oeil effects. In 2019 the artist experienced international success thanks to an extravagant three-level bookstore mural created in a multi-ethnic neighborhood just outside the center of Utrecht, a work with a social character aimed at representing and uniting the local community through the books most loved by its residents.
2 churches, 200 rooms, 20.000 stories. Located in former churches in Amsterdam and Utrecht,
Bunk bridges the gap between design hotels, luxury hostels, and art residencies. Under the banner of creativity and inclusion, Bunk aims to redefine hospitality by creating spaces for communal wonderment: music and art events are organised monthly for guests and locals, and creatives can always use Bunk’s recording studio or even apply to the Artist-in-Residence program.