The wall is adorned with a large-scale aqua-turquoise circle as its focal point against a rich brown backdrop. Sprawling across the canvas are black and white lines, creating an interplay of bold vibrant shades and colourful contrasts. The contemporary aesthetic of the mural will no doubt capture the attention of passers-by, most likely students on their way to take their exams.

Crisp spray paint lines

Aileen Esther Middel aka Mick La Rock next to one of her works at the Erasmus Gallery.

The first day of work was all about the preparation. La Rock: “It took two to three days to measure everything and get started.” Afterwards, it was basically a geometric puzzle: “We needed a centrepoint from where we could start out, like a spiderweb. A lot of measuring and mathematics were involved, which I don’t have a degree in, but this is the only part of math that I understand somehow.” The graffiti artist admits having a knack for crisp spray paint lines, which she created using lots and lots of tape.

Eventually, with help from a team of assistants, an aerial platform, and lots of creativity, La Rock was able to finish her mural. The weather wasn’t very helpful, though. “It was a bit tricky to work in the midst of October, but thankfully the rain only set us back for one and a half days.”

‘Brutalist paradise’

La Rock expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome received from the department of Art Affairs. She had never had a solo project this big before, and she is thrilled about it: “When the curator of the department of Art Affairs sent me the measurements of the wall, I knew I had to paint this mural.” She was happy to do it in the ‘brutalist paradise’ that is the EUR campus. “I just sat down, closed my eyes and came up with this style. I created this especially for this wall, it wasn’t a design I had laying around.”

Right now, La Rock’s exhibition is being hosted in the art gallery in Erasmus building, where more of her work is presented. As a kid from the brutalist era, her art is heavily influenced by the artistic aesthetics of the 1970s, as well as modernist paintings. Her inspiration for this style came from the letters she would use in her graffiti: “I started molding my letters into more brutalist shapes, and cutting out elements of the letters to be either used as a line or negative space”, she says.


Some of the artwork in the exhibition even shows her name: “As a graffiti writer, the essence of the work is all about my name.” Even in more abstract paintings, you can find traces of Mick’s name within the linear lines. “Nobody knows because it’s abstract, but it’s all in there”, she said.

The official opening of the mural is on 8 November, but it is possible to see it from now on. The exhibition will be held until January.


Read more

20 years of academic life in pictures

A totally incomplete but wonderful impression of academic life in Rotterdam from 1997…