Jeroen Middelbeek: a man with more than one passion
Jeroen Middelbeek is a Dutch artist and scientist. He got a Master's degree in Biomedical sciences and a PhD in Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. He spent the summer of 2015 in Barcelona exploring how cell mechanics drive cancer progression at the Institute for Bio engineering of Catalonia. As a scientist, he performed research from bench to bedside aimed at the identification and characterization of mechanisms that drive tumor metastasis and therapy resistance. Currently, he is appointed as lecturer at the HU University for Applied Sciences in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Sounds interesting? Sure. Do you understand what he actually does on a day to day basis? No worries, most do not. He is a scientist and he is passionate about it, that is what matters. He has spent hours and hours in the lab, waiting for cells to grow, waiting for test results and then writing scientific articles about it. Now he teaches students to do the same and he is all in. He feels the students are funny and he enjoys interacting with them. It is a career that takes up a lot of time; but that is what happens when you do what you love doing.
In addition to his teaching activities, Jeroen is co-founder and boardmember of the Mazingira Foundation that aims to improve education in Tanzania. He travels there regularly to oversee the progress of the building of the school, teachers- and student dorms and science lab. The foundation also supports the radio station, so the locals can be informed about the latest news, listen to educational programs and enjoy entertainment. The foundation is a labor of love, born out of the tragedy of his best friend's passing.
As an artist Jeroen is an experimental photographer. Starting at an early age, he took several courses, but is mainly self-thought and in that way an 'outsider artist'. Jeroen is willing to learn from all opportunities; from wedding photography, to shooting video's, to macro photography, to city-landscapes and portraiture, but his creative imagination is the driving force behind it all. His almost childlike enthusiasm and hard work, combined with a philosophical and sometimes melancholy undercurrent, make for a great story teller.
With his project 'black-eyed', produced in 2011, he is showing the story of a figure not fitting in, but struggling to find a unique voice. We all want to stand out in our own way, but often that is too hard and we conform to the general consensus in order to feel accepted. A cynical view of the faith of mankind or a celebration of people who dare to make a difference: judge for yourself. You can find his work in the Creative Questions Art Gallery.
An idea developed during many late evenings in a spare bedroom / studio in his beloved city of Nijmegen, along with some cigarettes and drink, his project won the encouragement award of Fotogram Educational Institute in the Netherlands. Jeroen's more recent projects draw inspiration from personal tragedy and African culture, which will be featured later on at Creative Questions Art Gallery.
To see more of his work, visit his website.