Stefan Thelen, better known by his moniker Super A, is a Dutch street and gallery artist who blends urban methods, graphic design and traditional painting techniques to give life to work that evolves out of his personal experiences and thoughts. His pictorial stories seem to exist in a balance between fiction and non-fiction as Thelen’s topics are a result of his amazement with rarities in our world, filtered through the view of the mysterious Super A.
The Story of Super A
The story of how Super A came to be is a rather interesting one – Super A is in fact perceived by his author as an anti superhero kind of character. As Thelen explains it himself, he needed someone that can get away with the things he himself was not able to. He also channeled strong feelings of confusion into his new alter ego as at the time Stefan was experiencing a lot of stuff that didn’t feel right to him after he graduated from the Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam. Initially, Super A started to appear sporadically in Thelen’s paintings and drawings, but the anti superhero’s visions and thoughts soon managed to emancipate themselves from their host. Soon, Super A began to deal with the city’s underbelly sensation and the visualization of the self-side of society in a way Stefan Thelen was never able nor allowed to. As explained by the artist himself, these images can be seen as the melancholic, cynical little brothers of common picture postcards.
Stefan Thelen’s Position in the Dutch Art Scene
Soon after he started to express himself via street techniques, Stefan Super A Thelen became known for his extraordinary realistic images of a dreamy and surreal atmosphere that feature highly metaphoric narratives with fantasy figures, strong social messages and harsh critiques of world politics, often spiced with a splash of profound humor. He also became noticed for his creative versatility. Make no mistake, he truly proved himself a multidisciplinary artist – in addition to paintings and murals, Super A also created engaging sculptures and installations. In 2012, a Dutch broadcasting company AVRO organized a public voting in which one of Super A’s supreme murals was elected as the best street art piece in the Netherlands by the majority of public votes. Stefan was no stranger to collaborations and working alongside other urban colleagues as well.
Stefan Thelen’s artistic alter ego Super A allows the Dutch artist to unleash and channel all his inner feelings in a fashion otherwise unavailable to him
A Transition to Galleries
Maybe the greatest asset Super A showed us beside his obvious creativity is the author’s ability to adapt to the needs of the gallery world, so much different from the circumstances of the street in which Stefan honed his skill. His powerful and intriguing oil paintings, sculptures and installations managed to maintain Thelen’s visual urban characteristics and, as a result of such a transition, Stefan’s work has been included in various art collections and has been exhibited internationally at renowned galleries and art fairs such as Art Amsterdam and Fair21.
This artist is represented by 1AM Gallery in San Francisco.
Stefan Super A Thelen lives and works in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Featured image: Super A – Untitled gallery piece (detail)- Image courtesy of 1AM Gallery in San Francisco
All images courtesy of 1AM Gallery in San Francisco.