The Art of Henk Hofstra

Monday, 14th February 2011 by

Henk Hofstra is a Dutch artist famous for his large-scale environmental art projects. Some reports claim that he hopes his works will appear on Google Earth; while this hasn't happened yet, a couple of them are visible on Street View - including The Blue Road.

The Blue Road was created in April 2007 in the city of Drachten - a 1km stretch of road was painted bright blue, though it had faded somewhat by the time the Street View car visited.

The project was intended to symbolise a canal that formerly ran through this part of the city, to remind residents and visitors of what it would have been like. A plan to rebuild the canal has stalled due to financial difficulties.

The work cost an estimated €75,000 and used 4,000 litres of paint, with some observers questioning the impact on the environment as this gradually washes away.

In addition to all the standard road markings, the words WATER IS LEVEN (water is life) were painted along the road in 8m-tall letters.

An additional feature of this work was a blue car sinking into the 'water', though - just as the road surface has faded over time - the car has been modified, probably by the local teenagers. Nearby we have proof that artists sign even works of this scale, with Hofstra's signature still clearly visible.

To the north-west, the city of Leeuwarden hosted an installation called Art-Eggcident in 2008. A number of large (up to 30m) eggs were painted in the Wilhelmina square.

Again, the paint had faded before Street View captured the work, and the additional installations - a few large plastic yolks, and a statue of children playing - had been removed1.

Somewhat amusingly, this van was parked opposite the square! Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Three of Hofstra's other large-scale projects look really interesting but unfortunately have not been captured by Google's cameras: Invasion of the Ants, Carcreditcrisis, and his most recent work, Above Water. You can see more at his official site, and this blog post has an interesting interview with the artist and some good pictures.

  1. Interestingly, the Street View car visited this square at two very different times, and more recent images along the west and north sides show the whole area under renovation and all traces of the eggs removed. ↩︎