Netherlands based artist and painter Arne Hiddingh’s love of hip-hop and fashion dates back to the early 90’s. Self-taught, he was first inspired to paint watching music videos by Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott.
In honor of The LOX’s 25th anniversary of their debut album “Money, Power & Respect”, Hiddingh gifted the group with a painting. We caught up with him to talk about his journey, creating in a digital-first world and more.
What inspired you to start painting?
As a kid, I was always drawing, but then suddenly stopped in my teens. After 10 years, I picked it up again, this time with a brush and canvas and the rest is history. Rediscovering my love for art was more therapeutic than I could’ve imagined.
How did your relationship with hip-hop and streetwear begin?
My love for hip-hop and streetwear started in high school. My brother was a big Michael Jackson fan, so I was first introduced through R&B which then progressed to hip-hop. I’d spend hours studying music videos from Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott. At the time, hip-hop wasn't really popular where I come from, so whenever I got a chance to hear those artists and see their art it was special.
What was the decision behind primarily painting hip-hop artists?
After painting cityscapes for years, I shifted my focus to hyperrealism portraits. Music is an extension of my practice. If I’m painting, I’m listening to music. It has always inspired me to create.
Do you paint for yourself or a viewer?
I always paint for myself. I paint what I love and the artists I listen to. If that means I can occasionally connect with and hand over a painting to an artist, then it makes the practice worth it.
How does today’s digital-first landscape affect your art? Or does it?
I don't think it affects my work now. My identity is and always will be to paint on canvas, but I do love and admire all kinds of art. I hope my work will continue to be appreciated even in our ever-changing art world.
What does greatness mean to you?
Greatness for me is in the little things in life. It brings me joy when I can share my work with those who have inspired me. Outside of painting, I work with people with health conditions. To assist them with the things that are so easily taken for granted feels like greatness to me.
What’s next for you?
As for the future, I want to bring a hip-hop expo to the Netherlands. It remains my dream to continue to share and connect with other artists. I believe if you don’t dream, you won’t be challenged.
See more of Arne’s work here.