Bedroom Art - An Interview with Aldert Schuil
I was lucky enough to meet Aldert Schuil while visiting the Kamasutra Erotic Festival 2017 in Utrecht. Aldert is co-owner of V.O.F Blote Kunstn, an online shop which offers handmade erotic art and erotic art reproductions of oil paintings. I decided to do the interview with him because I wanted to share with you the perspective of a beautiful, unconventional and unique form of art.
MN: Could you tell us a little about yourself and your online shop/gallery? What made you want to create it?
Aldert Schuil: It all started because of my wife, Pia and I, are art lovers. We both have long careers outside art, in social work and law. Our web shop is the result of our shared hobby.
We prefer paintings with human life subjects. We also share a special interest in romance, sensuality, love and eroticism/sex in art and history.
In the beginning, when one of us discovered a fine example of nudity, sensuality or erotic art in a museum or on the internet, we always used to share it with each other, out of pure enthusiasm and even excitement. During those years, it appeared to us that there was no place where nude and eroticism in art came together and was easily accessible to erotic art lovers.
We discovered the old Japanese erotic art called Shunga years ago. We really love the history of Shunga. Later on, we discovered an old Kamasutra book based on an erotic Hindu-art. We found these two cultures, so open and rich in erotic art, amazing. When we found some European painters from the last few centuries who made very explicit erotic works, it was clear what we wanted to do, open a website, an erotic art center, concentrated on explicit erotic/sexual art. Soon, we had a web shop with handmade oil paintings of historical Shunga, Kamasutra, and European erotic art (mainly reproductions).
For us, it is still more or less a hobby business because we did not have enough time to focus on it. But it is part of our way of living now also. It brings us a lot of adventures, new contacts, expositions, fairs and events, national and even international business trips. And we are really happy living between all those paintings in our house waiting for the next art lover!
MN: The paintings you sell are very sexual, what makes sex a good subject matter?
Aldert Schuil: We sell those paintings because we like them so much ourselves and we want to share it with other people. People say “sex sells”, but in the art business, sex is not yet a big selling category. Explicit erotic art is even a small category. Soft erotica has a larger market. You can call our explicit erotic art, “Bedroom Art”. It is a good subject for ourselves and we hope to make a lot of other people come out of their comfort zone and order a piece of erotic bedroom art to make their life a little richer. Why be ashamed? By the way, not all our paintings are that sexually explicit! We offer also very “decent” soft erotic art, suitable for almost every wall.
MN: What sets your shop apart from other?
Aldert Schuil: As far as we know there is no other gallery that only offers erotic art, especially Shunga and Kamasutra art. That makes us unique. Further, we want to expand to a platform that has erotic paintings from artists today. Historic Erotic art and also modern erotic art would be a great combination.
MN: Do you have a favorite artist/painting in your collection?
Aldert Schuil: Artists of older Shunga and Kamasutra sceneries are usually unknown. There are some famous Japanse Shunga artists from the last few centuries, but for us, it is purely about the genre. Most Shunga and Kamasutra art is about beautiful scenes, that tell a story. Pia is a big fan of the erotic works of Auguste Rodin. For me, it's the raw erotic work of Egon Schiele and the almost surrealistic nudes of Felix Vallotton. We both adore the painting “The Source” of Gustave Courbet.
MN: What has been your best-selling print?
Aldert Schuil: There is no real bestseller for Shunga and Kamasutra. We can state that “Size matters” :) because of paintings with an enormous penis on it and larger size paintings :) sell a little better than the smallest versions. On European erotic art, we see that Schiele and Rodin have more fans than average.
MN: How do you price your artworks?
Aldert Schuil: Our paintings are not cheap, as they are handmade pieces of art, but they certainly are not expensive. We have a fair relation with our painters, who have been personally screened on skills, dedication, reliability and personal situation. They own their own private galleries or work in a small cooperation as co-owner. Our relation is a long-term win-win relation. We are not happy when our painters are not happy. The realistic nude, lingerie or erotic portraits of singles and couples, which we also offer are probably the most expensive ones. The basic rule is the more details on a painting and the bigger the size of the painting, the more expensive it will be.
MN: Do you do any types of painting other than erotica?
Aldert Schuil: We only offer handmade reproductions/paintings and unique erotic paintings. We do nude/lingerie/erotic portraits on order, both products are done in oil. Our painters are willing to paint your pussy (we are talking feline), dog or car also, but we don't offer that in the shop. If people ask its possible.
MN: On-line art buying is tricky – how can your customers be confident when they buy paintings from a website?
Aldert Schuil: Is buying art online more tricky than buying clothes online? Would be my counter question! We really do not think there is a difference.
- We have a complete protected Http/ web shop, so the customer’s information and payment are secured;
- Our web shop provider makes backups all the time and has high standards of protection;
- Customers can pay with three worldwide-accepted credit cards, that give an assurance in a case of non-delivery or non-conformation of the product;
- Customers can pay by PayPal, with which their transaction is also secured;
- Our Dutch Law and also our terms and conditions have online customer protection, that means that the customer has the right to cancel the order within 14 days after delivery, without any reason. The web shop is obliged to pay back the full order amount, included the cost of delivery within 30 days after returning. Only the costs and risk of the return will be for the customer; this protection does not count for special orders, made specifically for the customer, such as portrait painting, listing paintings, or other special paintings on request. For those orders, Dutch Law counts: we have to deliver as the customer orders, if not, only then can the contract be canceled.
- We have a privacy statement on our website, according to Dutch law. It's forbidden to use customer’s information for other purposes than the transaction itself or for direct mailing to that customer until subscribing from the mailing list. We would never abuse private information. We must and will be very discrete with private nude, lingerie and erotic pictures and destroy them after the order has been fulfilled and accepted by the customer.
- Occasionally a customer can visit us on appointment for picking up a painting or to view a specific painting before buying;
- We show customer one or more pictures from the result of the painters work and will not send it before approval of the customer; when people have a special request in advance for pictures of the painting process of their order, we will provide them;
- We are contracted by the well-known Dutch Payment service Mollie; no contract with them lasts in a case of abuse;
- In The Netherlands there are institutions/caretakers that control the web shop owners obligations and accept customer complaints; abuse can be punished by large fines;
- Our home address is on the website, including my (Al’s) full name, as the first contact person.
So, tricky? For sure not!
MN: What are your ambitions for the future?
Aldert Schuil: First, we want to go more international. Soon, we will have an option to read the contents of our site in English.
Second, we will be more concentrated on pure erotic art; we will include soft erotic art on our website.
Third, we want to have some films about our painters and the painting process on the web shop.
Fourth for future, we want to offer several modern artists who can do soft or explicit erotic art for our web shop.
Fifth, more live expositions!
Sixth, selling lots of erotic paintings!:)
MN: Can fans purchase your art anywhere other than your website?
Aldert Schuil: As you may know we had exposition at the last two Kamasutra Erotic Festivals in Utrecht, Holland. People can follow us on the web shop to see where the next exposition will be. People can buy at these events. In autumn, we will probably be in Utrecht again as well as Belgium and Germany. We do not have a shop, but my home office is used as an exposition room sometimes. But, by appointment only!
MN: Do you want to share with us anything else about your online shop/gallery?
Aldert Schuil: If people would like our newsletter, they can subscribe to it via the contact form on our website. We also do pay attention to the LHBT community and have opened a special webshop page for them. People who want to contribute to our shop by sharing art pictures that could be relevant for our shop (European Erotic, Shunga, Kamasutra, Kinky, LHTB, Transvestite etc.) or painters who would like to present their erotic work on our site can contact us.