Merijn Kavelaars (1985, The Netherlands) is a painter on a mission – for him, painting is a journey into a euphoric vortex that ends in explosions of colours, forms and magical creatures.

‘Fighting with colors and forms is my obsession, ecstasy and torture’
Both his consciousness and subconsciousness come together in a naive style that combines daily matters with a fairytale like narrative resulting in colorful, esoteric and playful worlds, which express an almost anarchistic degree of freedom.
His iconic figures combine bright colour patterns yet express and almost dark sense of humour – sunshine also creates shadows as we know.
Merijn is an autodidactic painter who started his career in 2009 in Amsterdam. He ran his own Studio/Gallery and rose to prominence through several live painting performances, exhibitions and collaborations with in particular high end fashion brands. In 2013 – feeling a thirst for new horizons, he moved to Shanghai.

Merijn uses different kinds of paint and applies many layers to create character and dept. He works on several paintings at a time. “I set down the first layer: one color, shape, figure, contrast or relief, and then I put the canvas away. Maybe for a week, a month, a year – until I see it again and it tells me: this is what should happen next. I feel more part of the painting when I work on the floor, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.”
In applying his method, Merijn creates pieces that contain not only an outburst of creativity, but cover a whole period of his thoughts and feelings. “With every work I want to create a world I can get lost in. I want to be able to look at it endlessly, discover new meaning, fantasise about it and reflect on it. It’s a mirror for my soul, a painting that evolves with – and challenges me.”

Merijn currently lives and works in Shanghai. He previously exhibited his work in several museums such as the Van Gogh Museum, he won the Stolichnaya art contest and showed and sold his work in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Paris, Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

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Kavelaars Alphabet


Amsterdam (2009 – 2013)

Shanghai (2013 – 2015)



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  • No Good Can Come From This (Solo), No Mans Art Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  •  Group Show, Teheran, Iran
  • Solo Show, Berlin, Germany
  • live paint performance for Dutch consulate, Shanghai, China
  • Kong Siwenli, Fireflies Gathering (Group), Curateds by Jeremy Chaval, Shanghai, China
  • ‘No Gloves’ (Solo), Curated by Emmelie Koster, Shanghai, China
  • No Mans Art Gallery (Group), Cape town, South Africa
  • Wanderlust (Group), Shanghai, China
  • Begin from chaos (Group), Inna Contemporary Art Space, Hangzhou, China
  • Rauwer (Group), Hutspot Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Nuit Blanche (Live paint performance), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Auction for Soong Ching Ling Foundation Charity Event, Shanghai, China
  • Grote 8 meets van Gogh (Group), Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands
  • Kyra & Merijn (Group), NMAG & Secret 7 Gallery, Shanghai, China
  • No Mans Art Gallery (Group), Shanghai, China
  • Auction for Soong Ching Ling foundation, Shanghai, China
  • Artistic Affairs, Walls Gallery (Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • No Mans Art Gallery (Group), Paris, France
  • Sous 623, Amsterdam (Solo), Netherlands
  • Bead the poetry (Live paint performance), Dordrechts Museum, Netherlands
  • Blue Jeans(Group), Central Museum Utrecht, Netherlands
  • When BlueBlood meets artists (Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Kunst-10-Daagse (Group), Stomperoren, Netherlands
  • Live Paint, Dordrechts Museum, Netherlands
  • Hot stuff, Walls Gallery (Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • No Mans Art Gallery (Group), Kopenhagen, Denmark
  • Walls Gallery at AAF (Fair), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • No Mans Art Gallery (Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Hutspot Gallery(Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Vrije vogels (Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Opening Gallery Kavelaars (Solo), Magna Plaza, Netherlands
  • PUP Amsterdam (Live paint performance), Netherlands
  • On my way(Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Virtine de ville (Group), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Vitrine Vijzelstraat (Solo), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Museumnacht, Amsterdam Museum (Live paint performance), Netherlands


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  • Elle Man China
  • Interview Modern O2
  • Modern Weekly China Cover
  • interview at
  • Publication in City weekend (Shanghai)
  • Publication L’Officiel magazine
  • Article in PUPMAG
  • Article in The International Correspondent
  • Publication in Hoop Doop Magazine
  • Publication Grazia Magazine
  • ‘Schone ramen’ Documentairy, NED 2 television
  • Publication in Elegance magazine
  • ‘Blueblood collaboration’
  • L’ ‘Blueblood collaboration’
  • ‘Blueblood collaboration’
  • Publication in Park magazine
  • Publication in ‘The International Correspondent’
  • Article in newspaper ‘De Pers’
  • BNR Newsradio
  • Article in Lost and Found Magazine
  • Article in newspaper ‘De Pers’
  • Publication in Veronica Magazine



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Xinhua Road 329, Building 69, Room 602

200050, Shanghai, China

Phone: +86 18221229757


The Netherlands:

Kromstraat 60

5554 NH Valkenswaard, The Netherlands

Phone: +316 45610312



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Amsterdam Kunstenaar Kavelaars Merijn Kavelaars Shanghai Actionpainting