Joel Moens: A Single Image Worth Thousands More

(This article first appeared in the May 24 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


In our highly technological society, supersaturated with images off the internet, Belgian artist Joel Moens de Hase began using computers for digital works in 2011. The observer is sure to be intrigued, perhaps even aroused, by a single perspicuous image that when closely analyzed includes the use of thousands of provocative shrunken down images – squares of butts, lingerie, waistlines, and so forth.

In an effort to express his view of the digital era, Moens keeps a database of 70,000 images from the internet on file. He then transforms between 5000 and 15,000 of these images into a single mosaic, after adjusting the color to fit the larger picture. His artistic expression allows for dual interpretation, the whole or the fragment. Beauty, lust, and innocence remain very much in the eye of the beholder.

Moens procures his inspiration from the mystery of women, his work being a tribute to all the aspects that make up the beautiful complexities of the gentler sex. At the heart of it all, the symbiosis between man and woman is what fuel Moens’s creative process; the passionate desire and innate human condition of that sense of longing between the two beings. Human nature aside, it’s also the Woman, with a capital ‘W,’ a divine creator that is both independent and full of the love he adores.

“All her personality and mystery,” Moens exulted. “Their beauty. Their strength. Their battles. Their unicity. Their complexity, so different from man.”

As a painter for several years prior to the switch in artistic style, Moens decided to use the tools of today to create his increasingly unique pieces.

“My computer screen became my canvas, my mouse replaced my brushes, and the internet and software became the medium.”

Moens translated the differences. “My art is of course a mirror of my personal emotions, my life experience with good and bad moments.”

The composition of his work is far more important than the models that compose each individual image. He finds models through an official agency for the large pictures, with a particular liking for Poland native Olga Kaminska. Yet, it is the emotional uniqueness of a model that attracts his attention most.

Scenes of the female form and rendition tributes of classical artworks are primarily what comprise Moens’s collection. Right now he is working on a collaboration with a major group of European galleries, to be announced at a later time, that he hopes will bring his career to a higher level.

With an international following, he maintains a liberated spirit that is futuristic in nature.

Moens met local gallery owner Monika Olko four years ago through a mutual friend. Ever since their introduction he has been visiting The Hamptons seasonally, with plans to explore the North Fork and Montauk this summer.

His creative motto, “Develop your creativity, it brings happiness and it is the future of humanity,” bring his concept of a self-portrayal design saying, “I would be the musical instrument the model is holding.”

Kevin Berlin: An Unrealistic Visionary

(This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Luxury Living Magazine- a subdivision of Newsday Media Group)

“Be unrealistic,” world-renowned artist Kevin Berlin declared over the phone, as he finished his coffee. “Realize your dreams now. Don’t wait for a realistic moment. That’s something I aim for a lot these days.”

From the Renaissance influence of Florence in all its glory to the stability of Southampton, Berlin splits his time working from the two cities. He admits, “Southampton is one of the few places in the world where you can be in one spot and bump into some of your favorite, most loved people in the world, and they just happen to be there.”
The American artist, best known for his black and white paintings of cocktail party scenes, also excels in sculpture and performance art. Anyone who may have had the opportunity to attend opening night for Art Southampton Summer of 2016 will recall Berlin’s unmistakable presence, as he made his entrance with several women clad in black bikinis, the lot of them wearing top hats. In true Hamptons fashion, Berlin certainly knows how to grab the attention of a crowd to launch his newest endeavor.
Berlin’s captivation with top hats started at 18 years of age, upon being gifted a top hat by his parents at his first solo show at Bonwit Teller & Co. He chuckled, “I have no idea why; they just knew their kid, I guess.”
Since then, his fashion company, Kevin Berlin New York, has accidentally reinvented the classic piece for everyday use, “like jeans that already have holes in them…coming to a really nice shop near you, hopefully soon.”

“We all have a powerful, beautiful force…something inside of us that’s beautiful, that can be hard to control,” Berlin roared.

For the Yale University and Slade School of Fine Art alumnus, temptation and desire are the quintessential themes behind his work, as he “usually tells stories about things that motivate people.”


Berlin gushes, “I love Nutella, and I find that I’m not alone in this world. It’s one of the few images I’ve worked with that people really identify very quickly…if you want to create a moment of joy, an image of Nutella will do exactly that. There aren’t many things you can paint that will have such an immediate positive reaction.”

Delicious cravings aside, Berlin is fascinated by worlds often closed to society, such as that of ballerinas. Once upon a time, his curiosity led him to Russia, and he remained for almost a year backstage with the Kirov Ballet in Saint Petersburg. Observing more than 100 of the “beautiful Olympic-level athletes telling stories” in the same legendary theatre where Tchaikovsky first wrote and presented Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. In another chapter of his life, he moved to Ukraine to study the life of the national circus in Kiev. From this experience, his “Save the Tigers” series was produced, shown in galleries in Miami, London and Southampton. Developed to bring awareness to the extinction of the animal, Berlin enjoyed the primal instinct that resonates from within.
“The importance of the paintings, at least for me, is that I never tell you what to think or tell you how to feel.”
Berlin has become a master of narrative art, with an aim to constantly engage his audience over time. His work has been collected by the likes of Kim Basinger, Luciano Pavarotti, Quincy Jones, David Letterman, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, among others.
Pointing out, “You can look at it today, you can look at it a hundred years from now, and you’ll still have a chance to add your own interpretation to it…as you change, your interpretation of the painting will change.”
As an unstoppable creative force, Berlin retraced the past two years of his life back to Russia for “The End of the World” series, depicting the secret life of ballerinas. Upcoming will be his latest program, “Berlin in Berlin,” a fitting title, evoking the German city where the artist spent time exploring the unknown. The solo show, running May 28th – July 15th, is being featured at Livingstone Gallery in the Netherlands.
As for his dream project? To build his “new colossus,” a large-scale monument the size of the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore.
While Berlin’s “unrealistic” artistic goals remain quite large this summer, he aims to make his circle smaller…that, along with getting in a good bonfire on the beach.
“When I’m ready to greet the world, I always go to 75 Main in Southampton, which I consider the center of the universe,” Berlin divulges. “The Lobster Grille Inn is also a good spot. Good food. Sometimes, it’s a real pleasure to be in a place where you don’t know anybody.”