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Interview with vector artist Ruud van den Berg

Updated: Feb 23

Ruud van den Berg has drawn, has made photographs and has been occupied with computers for several decades. East-Indian ink at primary school, further development at high school. Ruud studied experimental physics at university, where he got in touch with computers. He was an expert in, advisor on and manager of automation. He studied philosophy for two years. He has also been a mathematics and physics teacher for several years. Ruud inherited a sense of style and color and a can-do mentality from his parents.

Ruud van den Berg (photographer Menno Bausch)
Ruud van den Berg (photographer Menno Bausch)

Ruud, your journey intertwines art with science and technology. How do you think your background in experimental physics and computers has influenced your approach to art, especially vector graphics?

I worked in the traditional way since primary school - i.e. pencil and brush. But at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic I was looking for a new way to artistically express myself. Quite serendipitously I discovered the Adobe Fresco App and started to use it for making Vector Arts. My use of technology became increasingly more intense. I switched to an Apple iPad Pro 12,9”. Soon after that I switched from Windows to MacOS and started using Adobe Creative Suite for an optimal workflow of my Vector Art.

As to this first interview question, it’s very hard to pinpoint one-on-one relationships between cause and effect in the lives of human beings. My background in science and technology and in artistic creativity have pretty much been separated. However, it seems evident to me that my work in information technology does have its impact on my recent art transformation towards vector art. Also, physicists tend to develop a better understanding of the natural world, using logic and mathematics. So here, too, there seems to be a connection with my art.

Ruud van den Berg (photographer Thijs Rooimans)
Ruud van den Berg (photographer Thijs Rooimans)

You've transitioned from drawing with East-Indian ink in primary school to creating art through vector graphics. Can you describe this evolution and how your artistic process has changed over the years?

The transition was extremely sudden, during the Covid-19 period. One moment I worked in a traditional way. The next moment I started creating vector graphics. The change had a profound effect. My drawings during primary school were simple. My work improved at high school thanks to a very good art teacher. I’ve experienced no profound improvement until starting with vector graphics. Since then, the quality of my work keeps progressing. Also, the subjects of my work become more diverse.

Visitors of the Domstad900 exhibition
Visitors of the Domstad900 exhibition

Having studied philosophy and been a mathematics and physics teacher, how do you blend these diverse fields of knowledge into your art? Do you see a philosophical dimension in your work?

The essence of my work is to provide idealistic representations of subjects and objects. This typically involves elimination of some details during the vector art process. Also, I may change the perspective chosen in the original picture and replace parts of e.g. the sky section or add items e.g. clouds or a moon. So, if one defines philosophy as ‘thinking about thinking’ my vector artwork might be ‘thinking about representation’.

Ruud vanMagazine “De Utrechtse Internet Courant (DUIC)” den Berg
Magazine “De Utrechtse Internet Courant (DUIC)”

Your parents passed down a sense of style, color, and a can-do mentality. How do these qualities manifest in your art, and can you share how your family's influence shapes your work?

My art, as in a single piece and as a portfolio, has several style and color features. These include idealization – as mentioned before – detail, and typically saturated colors. To make my art requires stamina and precision, during a prolonged period of time – typically some 40 hours per work.

Bart Rutten (artistic director of Centraal Museum in Utrecht)
Bart Rutten (artistic director of Centraal Museum in Utrecht)

Who are the artists who you see as examples?

I would like to mention Chuck Close, David Hockney, Banksy, Pieter Saenredam, Johannes Vermeer, Pyke Koch en Joop Moesman. Close, Hockney and Banksy, because they appeal in a modern way. Bart Rutten, artistic director of Centraal Museum in Utrecht, compared my self-portrait with Close when he visited me at home. And the Dutch painters Saenredam, Vermeer and Koch because they have given birth to my love for realism. My set of Saenredam vector arts is a tribute to him.

For those unfamiliar, could you explain the basics of vector graphics and why you chose this medium for your artistic expression? How does it allow you to convey your artistic vision uniquely?

The basic process underlying vector art is to select or take a digital photo of a subject or object. Next, I draw a new interpretation of this, on an Apple iPad with an Apple Pencil and the Adobe Fresco app. This renders a virtual image with vectors and without pixels, with an exceptional sharpness in enlargements. This vector image is transformed into a regular digital image of the required size with the use of Adobe Creative Cloud software. The pictures below show a detail of one of my artworks with the vectors shown in the right-hand picture.

Ruud van den Berg

Earlier in this interview, I’ve mentioned the boost in quality that was a result of making vector art. This proved to be very rewarding tome, emotionally speaking. Furthermore, for me as an artist, it unites three things, i.e. photography, drawing and IT.

See Ruud's online gallery at:

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