#026 - Joost Stokhof

#026 - Joost Stokhof


Destination: Moscow, Russia
Date: 04 - 10 August, 2016

About the print:
± 50 x 70 cm 
Colours: 3 colour silkscreen print
50 prints, signed and numbered by the artist
(frame not included)

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A little word by Joost Stokhof


“I am almost ashamed about the presumptions I had about Moscow and Russia before the trip. I expected a cold, grim, and somewhat hostile city where it would be hard to make connections with anyone. But really, I couldn't have been further from the truth. I was instead positively surprised by all that Moscow had to offer. I had the luck of having two very nice guides who showed me around. They told me a lot about the city and showed me things that I wouldn't have found by myself. I felt the city to be so alive and vibrant, everybody was outside and the city goes on for 24/7. That tells a lot about a city if you ask me.

The sheer size of everything has been made to impress and make you feel humble. From the avenues, the buildings and the statues to the impressive parks. They have used so much effort to show their greatest achievements and heroes, and you just feel small compared to it all. But there is another side to the story, as a lot of it is just exterior. It seems like things are foxed in a very short-term kind of way, but a new coat of paint doesn't make a building last. Everything looks to be in good shape, but you only need to scratch a little bit under the surface to see through it. Old soviet flats, once a symbol for order and greatness now seem to be nearly falling apart while people are still living in them. To me, there is a beauty to this contrast. A beauty, which I've referred to in my print as well. It's all a facade, a big stage to a story they try to tell, but behind the curtains, that's where the real story is told.”



Travel diary

Thursday, August 04, 2016

And we are on our way! Today Joost Stokhof is boarding his flight to Moscow, Russia. Everything is packed, and everything is good to go. Moscow here we come! 🇷🇺✈️


Saturday, August 06, 2016

My first days in Moscow are great, it’s great weather, everybody is out and seems happy, a lot different than I expected when I went here. Everywhere I go there is work done; repainting buildings, renewing streets (I am writing this now accompanied by the sound of drilling, quite lovely) it seems like the whole city is getting a new look al in the same moment.

Monday, August 8, 2016

This handsome devil drove me through town yesterday. Lyosha is a graphic designer from Moscow and kind enough to show me his favourite places. Since I really wanted to see some proper Soviet buildings he drove us to the suburbs as well as to the university; Stalin’s biggest projects.

It is quite interesting being surrounded by such enormous buildings, it makes you feel really small, and I can only imagine that was one of the goals of such projects. The university was in good condition but I couldn’t say the same about the highrisers in the suburbs. Colossal groups of flats, far away from the city center, all pretty much identical except for small color nuances. These ones at least had some trees nearby but Lyosha told me it’s not always the case.


Time took its toll here. What once was planned to be a perfect example of order and structure now seemed to be a mere reminder of that. Broken windows, crackled paint, home made balconies, all small errors in these organized structures. Somehow if felt fitting that right there I encountered my first rain during my stay. Driving back home on the motor through the rain was an amazing experience for once, but I was glad to find myself with dry clothes and my first vodka on the table in a nice place called youth, one of Lyosha’s favourite places here, impossible to find if you don’t know about it.


I’ll start drawing again today, I can’t wait to put everything on paper.


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

I have the luxury of having two dedicated tour guides here in Moscow. Before I went on my motor trip withLyosha, my other guide Alex, took me to the Izmailovsky market. A flea market that gets really interesting when you pass the tourist part with endless rows of matruska’s and enter the domain of locals selling old soviet memorabilia.

Being brought up in the Soviet Union himself Alex showed me a lot from his childhood; toys, books, fragrances, you name it. It was fascinating to see how these people took pride in their past, it seemed like they weren’t just selling old products, they were selling a glorious history, which they couldn’t seem to let go.

Talking about preserving history, I’m going to try to get a glimpse of ol’ Lenin today, more soon. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Looking back at my week in Moscow while waiting on my plane I must admit that my ideas about this city were absolutely proven wrong. I expected a grim, structured, somewhat aggressive city, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Thanks to my wonderful guides Alex and Lyosha I discovered a warm and inviting city, which had a lot to offer.

I fell in love with walking through this enormous city, seeing the sun go down and coming back up again, seeing the Kremlin in the early morning light, riding the metro, watching it’s countless statues celebrating it’s past, walking through it’s parks, it’s streets, it’s museums, meeting people, hearing the city’s history, listening to it’s language, it’s all been a beautiful experience, now let’s see how to translate this into a print.