Tag Archives: Mina de Haas

Is This A Great Town Or What?!

Just before 10 a.m. today, I posted a story about Tutti’s. A few minutes earlier, alert “06880” reader Roger Schwanhausser told me the popular Saugatuck restaurant was suffering. Last week, a driver crashed into the front window. Plywood covered the damage. Many customers thought Tutti’s was closed.

At 11:36 a.m., reader Jeff Kaufman commented: “they should post a big ‘OPEN’ on the plywood.”

Four minutes later, I responded: “Or maybe an artistic type could volunteer to paint ‘Open!’ and make it look really nice — not like graffiti.”

At 12:36 p.m., Mina de Haas — the subject of a recent “06880” story about local artists with in-home studios — wrote: “I think I know just that kind of person! 🙂 ” 

At 3:26 p.m., Jim Goodrich sent this photo:

Tutti's is open!

It’s now 4:29 p.m. It’s not even dinner time.

But when you get hungry, you’ll know where to go.

Mina De Haas: Artist In Residence

If you listen to longtime residents — or read “06880” — you probably think Westport has lost its artistic mojo. With Howard Munce gone — and apart from Miggs Burroughs — when was the last time you heard of a home studio?

Happily, there’s at least one left.

The other day I visited Mina de Haas in her small, 2nd-floor apartment. There — in the shadow of I-95 — she creates acrylic paintings, decoupage and digital collages. She’s not our only in-home artist — but she sure seems a throwback.

A 1979 Weston High School graduate (and direct descendant of the famous Dutch landscape-paining Koekkoek family) who studied fashion merchandising at the University of Bridgeport, Mina worked as a graphic artist for advertising firms and a pharmaceutical company before joining a Norwalk market research company.

When she's not painting, Mina de Haas attends car shows.

When she’s not painting, Mina de Haas attends car shows.

But this story is about her studio.

Heavily influenced by Dali, Picasso, Warhol and — especially Hieronymus Bosch — Mina wants her art to make people feel a bit uncomfortable.

“Anyone can look at a pretty picture of a sailboat,” she says. “I want people to look at my work and wonder ‘What’s going on there?’ And make their own interpretation of what my artwork means to them personally.”

She points to a 3D work called “Stripper Barbie.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: the famous doll in a cage with a stripper pole. Crumpled bills lie on the floor.

She is an expert at taking existing paintings, photos and other images, and manipulating them in new ways — for example, in her interpretation of Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.”

Mina de Haas' homage to Hieronymus Bosch.

Mina de Haas’ homage to Hieronymus Bosch.

A favorite subject is cars. She looks at their lines and angles in fresh ways, placing familiar vehicles in intriguing and innovative contexts.

One of Mina’s favorite paintings is “Seine River Bleeds.” Done right after November’s Paris attacks, the famed river is bright red. The lights of the Eiffel Tower look like the souls of the murdered victims.

"Seine River Bleeds"

“Seine River Bleeds,” by Mina de Haas.

Mina de Haas is not well known. She exhibited in a small local gallery, and will soon show several pieces at a UB alumni art show.

She hopes to get into a Westport Arts Center emerging artists exhibit. She’d love to sell through restaurants and retail stores here.

Mina does not think there is a real “artistic community” in Westport — at least, not one she feels part of it.

But she’s undeterred.

She does what she loves. In her 2nd floor apartment studio, she creates art.

Just as Westport artists have done, for well over a century.

(To see more of Mina de Haas’ work, click here.)

Another digital collage, by Mina de Haas.

Another digital collage, by Mina de Haas.