From here on you’ll find more texts than usual on a website but you do get to know the man behind the paintings better.

Henk Mak was born in Holland 1947. He started working as an artist at the age of 25 before that he worked as a designer in high-end interior design studios. He has more than a hundred exhibitions on his name, his work you can find in private- corporate- and state art collections.


Before the actual painting begins I make a lot off sketches and worked out drawings. This is important for the simple reason that -unlike oil or acrylic techniques- silk cannot absorb a lot of paint. With a pencil and paper it is easier to note down and work on ideas before the actual painting. It begins with a rational sketchy idea and grows during the process into a painting. The real painting work on the silk is a kind of dance with my intuition, resulting into a work of art which should be as surprising and fresh to me as it is to you


The light absorbing quality of silk gives it a very special expression. The colours of the paint/dye enter the hollow fibres of the silk and do not spoil the natural shine and expression of the silk. After I finish the paint/dye has to be permanently fixed into the silk. This is done in a steaming process after this the painting is water- and colour proof.


For me the colours are the most inspiring aspect of silk. Not themes but the deep colours and emotions these produce are great source of inspiration. And probably the reason that -after more than 35 years-I still like my work very much.


Why do you choose to be an artist a lot of people asks me? Why not simply work for a boss or run a business in more useful articles instead of the insecurity and hardship of the artist life!My answer is that I can live closer to my emotions and dreams when I am drawing and painting. I had an education as an interior architect and had a bright future in front of me when I was working but that never gave the satisfaction I have now working as an artist.


Go forth, under the open sky,and list to Nature's teachings.
W.C Bryant

I love travelling since I was very young. I remember the excitement I felt when I was put on a train alone as a five year old kid. Or some years later the bullet-ridden walls in Germany while I was travelling as a child in the back of the V.W beetle of my parents on a holiday trip out of Holland. It was 1958 and Europe was still a place full of shot down factories and barren plots of land were war had left its scars.

More unforgettable was the trip I made in 1969, in an old black Chevy through the southern desserts of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The days that Muslims and Christians lived peaceful together and the hashish was cheap. Travelling is very important for my development. Living in countries like Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, U.S, India, Costa Rica of Thailand, I can often focus better because I am not part of the culture.

Being an outsider gives a strong sense of freedom.Travels are not only cultural outings. But necessary to get away from the winter depressions which blow over my home country so often. A quiet place in a warm tropical climate has become a part of my life’s routines. And because of my work is so easily transported it is no big problem to set up a simple atelier somewhere and work from there.


It was on this overland journey to Sydney in 1969 that I decided to stop working as an interior architect and to look for a more meaningful way of living. On a trip in Indonesia I got inspired by the batik-sarongs most woman where wearing that time. They are beautiful handmade textiles of one by two metres; some of them would take more than three months to make. From 1973 I went back to Djokja every winter to make new art and improve on my knowledge of the batiktechnic. For more than ten years I worked exclusively with this graphic technique using cotton, wax and dyes. At first selling batik scarfs and dresses on hippy markets in southern Spain later on in artist support program in Holland.

This period ended in 1986 and 1988 with two series ‘Parang’ and ‘Semen’ projects in which I tried to make a link between tradition and the contemporary. At the same time the modern silk paints came onto the marked and I changed to silk and painting but incorporated some of the wax-techniques.

In the winter of 1994 my wife bought a block of beach land six kilometres west from the fishing village of Pangandaran on the south coast of Java. A year later the building started, the two-story house stood within four months which is very fast considering that I worked with four to five local people and there were no modern machines or electricity. The work went smoothly as long as I kept everything under control. It was a very special and educating project. In this house called Rumah Mimpi I’ve made many paintings with lots of plants and bamboo inspired on the nature in the surrounding.

Property in the tropics needs a lot of organising and maintenance. My wife and I came to a point to sell the house. An important lesson was that freedom has a greater value then owning a house in paradise.

The years after Java, I rented and worked in, various houses in many more countries. Sometimes primitive and sometimes more luxurious then I am used to. But there was always enough space to live and work. Living away from Europe makes it easier to let lose the social and cultural ties. A kind of liberation, leading to a greater creativity and an increasing production.


Artmarked Het Spui
At this moment, winter 2010 - 2011, i am creating new pieces of art in Thailand.......

More info about the marked itself on www.artplein-spui.nl