Boxing Painter Is A Hit In The Art World

His work is definitely hard-hitting.

Some artists get a kick out of painting. but Bart van Polanen Petel gets a punch.

Petel, a former student of boxer Joe Frasier, owns a boxing gym in Tilburg, Netherlands, that he has turned into an art studio.

He starts by wrapping a canvas around a punching bag. Then, he dips his gloves into paint and punches until — voila! — he's got another knockout piece of art.

Petel's passion for painting began five years ago when he met his girlfriend, artist Nonie Buijze. "Of course, wanting to understand the passion of the woman that turned my world upside down, we looked at modern art and talked about it, Petel told The Huffington Post."Before that time, when I looked at a typical Mondriaan painting, the familiar thought 'anybody can do this' came to mind."

Eventually, Petel decided to hit the canvas himself. "Love made me look 'behind' an abstract painting. Made me see what I did not see before," he said. "If people see one of my works, maybe it can do to the same for them, show them the world 'behind' the bloody image of boxing."
Petel doesn't have a concept in mind when he puts on the gloves. He simply aims his fists automatically at the head and body level on the bag. "Once I start thinking about what I am seeing in front of me and what for instance would make the painting look better, I have to stop,"he said. "It has to be natural, a product of the 'Flow.'"
After Petel "boxed" his first painting, he knew he was onto something. "When I finished my first work, I could not stop smiling. I was so happy," he said. "Trying to explain to someone who has not been inside the boxing ring how it feels for me to box, has been extremely hard up until that point. I immediately knew that I wanted to make more of them."
Petel has 10 pair of boxing gloves lying around, all covered in dried-up acrylic paint in various colors. "That does not come off when I reuse them for a work," he said. "Every now and then I buy a new pair. I love the tight fit of a pair of brand new boxing gloves, so that is always a treat."

Like a regular painter knows his technique, canvas, paint and brush, Petel knows how the paint reacts to certain punches, and the interaction of colors. "Also left and right are defined different when you are working with paint on a 'round' surface," he said. "After a while you get used to it and you know what punch gets you what result. It is not about filling the canvas with paint, it is about how I can visualize the process.
Petel describes his paintboxing pieces as “Abstract Expressionism.” "To me that means that the focus is all on the production process, not so much on how the result is going to turn out," he said. "Making a landscape using the paintboxing technique, for instance, would be the other way around. I leave that kind of art up to those who love doing that."

So far, Petel's work is a hit in the art world. His works can sell for upwards of $1,500 per painting. He's knocking out Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, which has included Petel in their newest book, "Eye-Popping Oddities."
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Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Eye-Popping Oddities

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