‘I didn’t belong in that world of big money’

Gallery owner and café owner Oscar Larik (48) from Bunnik had a payroll company, was a member of a club for successful young men – Round Table – and frequented skyboxes. Until he got tired of talking about money. His life should be more than a new Tesla, a bigger house or an interesting investment.

“I have always been jealous of artists. Jealous because they have the courage to do something without making any concessions. Not knowing if the world is waiting for them. Without worrying about what others think. However, jealousy has a negative connotation. It is admiration. I admire artists because they have the courage to follow what they feel to create something.

“Some people also think I’m brave. Because I sold my thriving business and started a gallery and a cafe. I find it hard to accept such a label. I immediately think: it is not that difficult to turn your life around. Although I’m getting closer and closer to accepting that I do things that many people think are cool. Which others also want, but don’t dare. I am working on that acceptance.

“Five years ago, I had no choice but to go another way. I went to the skybox at PSV with a good friend in his Aston Martin convertible. On the journey out, I had taken cheerful selfies in the car. There were only men in the skybox. And again it was about money. One went to invest in it, the other flew to Monaco the next day to play with friends. There is nothing wrong with those men; they are nice guys. But when I got home, all I could do was cry. I didn’t feel at home in that world. The next day I called my partner and called in sick. I was all over it.

Ted Troost

Through my general practitioner I ended up with a psychologist who sent me to a haptonomist. I was skeptical about that. But that student of Ted Troost’s ear fell. I had to fall backwards in a chair. And it was a metaphor for what would happen if I stepped out of my bubble of successful men with nice cars and expensive watches. I thought it was terrifying. daunting. But I let myself fall. And that resulted in a bump on my head. That was all. It made me understand that I could do whatever I wanted. That I didn’t have to be great for my parents, my friends and my environment. I immediately called my mate and said I wanted to sell the tent. He took it very well. I am still grateful to him for that.

“I didn’t belong in that world at all. I think sharing is a much nicer approach to life than packing. I was always the guy who wore a t-shirt from the alternative rock band Pixies under his lambswool sweater. And at the Round Table, a club for successful men up to the age of 40, they always called me ‘the left one’ and ‘the red one’. While I don’t come from a left nest at all. Although my parents taught me to be considerate of others. Every Christmas there was someone who had just gotten divorced or had other problems. It was normal at home.

Artists have the courage to make something without making concessions

“My father was an oral surgeon and my mother a tennis teacher. A wealthy family in the Achterhoek. Elite, maybe. And of course pampered. If I wanted a new Lacoste sweater, I just got it. I am the oldest. My sister is five years younger. At school I made a mess of it. Mavoen, havoen and mts. I’ve seen it all. Finally I got my VWO diploma through the private Luzac college. And of course I was into hockey. And I played tennis. It wasn’t until I started working at a temp agency as a lost student that I came into contact with people who had no money to make. I remember calling my parents and saying, ‘Those people really exist!’

“I always bought a lot of art when I was still making good money. And I supported some artists. If they were tight, I gave or lent them money. Then later I got another painting or another job. When I started my gallery, I was immediately allowed to represent a lot of people. Also famous artists. It was a good start two years ago. And what also helped was that my wife immediately ‘does it!’ said when I came up with this plan. We have been together since I was 18 and she has always supported me.

“Art gives me air. Gives me space to think and to relate or discuss the banalities of life. I think life is a pretty pointless exercise. And that is not meant negatively. It’s just how I live my life. To me, artists touch exactly that essence: they are driven by the urgency they feel. And don’t worry about whether it makes sense or doesn’t make sense. I am definitely not an artist. By offering space to artists, I have found a way to be meaningfully busy.”

Entries: ditbenik@nrc.nl

Leave a Comment