jan giliam

jan giliam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

About jan giliam

"I find inspiration in my world of associations and my environment, like the forest, the city life, people, diving and all the bright colours underwater.

Ensuing gestures and colour choice dictate the images that arise. I work out these images, drawing whatever presents itself to me, with no goal other than transmitting the impulse or desire of the moment, in an écriture automatique. The very moment of metamorphosis appeals to me; when drawing a line, I follow the process. I let the line transform.

I make my drawings and paintings mostly on paper and on glass.

When making a drawing on paper I use my favourite Karisma color pencils and mostly smooth heavy weight paper from responsible sources.

Working with glass makes it possible for me to play with light and shadow, my drawings become vivid.
Using a kiln I fuse different layers of glass at high temperatures. To reduce the ecological footprint I like to use up-cycle glass, like old window panes and bottles."

Jan Giliam
(1965, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


Jan Giliam wants to open up culture through concepts, conversations and aesthetics.
He uses his own visual language (his drawings, paintings and glass works) to tighten and, when possible, to deploy. His work thus acts as a membrane: two poles, one aesthetic and singular, the other interactive and communicative. And for that he works in his studio in Amsterdam, as well as a STEAM teacher at a special educational needs school, challenging children to explore creativity.

He studied Arts, Education and Mathematics in Amsterdam (NL) and graduated in 1988. To improve and refresh his skills he went to the Digital Pioneers Academy for innovative Internet initiatives in 2007 and graduated from the Amsterdam Gameskool in Game Design and Education in 2010.

To master the art of glass fusion, Giliam followed classes at the Bohle Glass Academy in Germany, after which he took private lessons from the Dutch glass artist Bert Grotjohann. During the Glass Heap Challenge 2014 in Eindhoven he met the Swiss artist Daniel Gaemperle. The challenge to make art from used glass inspired Giliam to use heat resistant markers to draw on used windows, bottles and glass-panels and fuse his drawings into glass.


Jan Giliam promotes collaboration and creative initiatives with other artists, like Rik Lina (NL), Daniel Gaemperle (CH) and artists of Cabo Mondego Section of Portuguese Surrealism.

"The fascinating thing about painting together with other artists is that your work is constantly painted over. You can never tell what the painting will be like. It's much like fooling around, but serious."

Seia (Portugal) June 2019: Luiz Morgandinho & The Cabo Mondego Section of Portuguese Surrealism invited Jan Giliam to paint together in the Parque Natural da Estrela to protest against the mining of Lithium in the park and to support the discussion on the severe environmental impacts induced by the processes and procedures of mineral exploration and extraction.

2018, floorpainting, commission, USA

Vicente Gandía Winery Museum, collection of commissioned painted barrels by artists from all over the world: also a Jan Giliams Painted Wine Barrel. Preview exhibition in 2017, The Netherlands

collective work: 2012 exhibition at Goggle Works in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

collective work: 2009 Serra Boa Viagem, Portugal: performance by Rik Lina, Seixas Peixoto, João Rasteiro, Miguel de Carvalho and Jan Giliam

collective work: 2009 Oporto - Fabrica Social – finnisage = performance by Rik Lina, Seixas Peixoto, João Rasteiro, Miguel de Carvalho and Jan Giliam

collective work: 2003 Artgarden'03: performance with Canadian visual artist Dave Bobroske and composer Paul Goodman: live projection on performing dancers, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

1998, commissioned painting on wall in dancing, Eindelijk, Almere Stad

1993, commissioned drawing with markers on theatre glass wall, part of international exhibition “93 Geheimen” te Venray, collaboration with Ben Gort


2020: 'Solo-exhibition Jan Giliam', Stichting Leger Diorama Wereld, (Fort Honswijk, The Netherlands)
2019: 'Las llaves del deseo', (Panama)
2019: '100 años de surrealismo', Centro Cultural Espacio Matta, (Santiago de Chile, Chile)
2018: 'Exhibition of Green Men', (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
2018: 'CAPA', Galerie Art2, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
2017: 'Rik Lina + Jan Giliam', CAPA Pop Up Gallery, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
2016: 'Group exhibition A Luz Dos Castelos Envidraçados', (Figueira da Foz, Portugal)
2016: 'Group exhibition Las Llaves del Deseo - Surrealismo Internacional', La Biblioteca Nacional (Costa Rica)
2016: 'Group exhibition Las Llaves del Deseo Surrealismo Internacional', Museo Municipal de Cartago, (Costa Rica)
2014: 'Daniel Gaemperle (CH) meets Jan Giliam, exhibition of 14 pieces of collaborative painting on glass', Beeldenstorm studio's, (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
2014: 'The Glass Heap Challenge, Up-cycled Glass Art Exhibition, Dutch Design Week 2014', (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
2013: 'International Exhibition of Kilnformed Glass Sculptures', (Joure, The Netherlands)
2012: 'Collective work: Para Montante das Fontes - Dedicated to the group Colectivo The Cabo Mondego Section Of Portuguese Surrealism', Museu Municipal de Espinho, Galeria Amadeu Souza-Cardoso, (Portugal)
2012: 'Fused glass exhibition with Bert Grotjohann', Artihove Gallery, (Bergschenhoek, The Netherlands)
2011: 'International exhibition Grand Rapids ArtPrize', Grand Rapids, USA
2009: 'La exposición de surrealismo', the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, El Museo de Santiago and in the Universidad de Chile, (Santiago de Chile, Chile)
2009: '4 x Naked', Arttra, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
2008: 'O reverso do olhar, Surrealism today', Municipal museum, (Coimbra, Portugal)
2007: 'Beelden Uit Ons Verleden punt en el' (Photography), (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
2005: '17th International Glass Art Show', (Leerdam, The Netherlands)
2005: 'Group Exhibition II', Gallery KadeKunst, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
2004: 'Group exhibition', Gallery '86, (Curaçao Netherlands Antilles)
2003: 'Painting With Light, Exhibition with Bert Grotjohann', Gallery '86, (Curaçao Netherlands Antilles)
2002: 'Winter Show', Gallery St. Joseph, (Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
2003: 'Painting With Light', Gallery '86, (Curaçao Netherlands Antilles)
2001: '1dagsalon', Zaal Plantagedoklaan, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1999: 'Arte99', (Curaçao Netherlands Antilles) (officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands)
1998: 'Group exhibition', Breadfruit Gallery, Windwardside (Saba, Dutch Caribbean)
1997: 'Group exhibition', Open Ateliers Plantage Weesperbuurt, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1997: 'Collective Automatism', Museo de Arte Contemporaneo do São Paulo, (Brazil)
1997: 'Solo Jan Giliam', Breadfruit Gallery, Windwardside (Saba, Dutch Caribbean)
1997: 'Group exhibition', ARTBEAT Gallery, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1997: 'Solo Jan Giliam', ARTBEAT Gallery, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1996: 'Group exhibition', Jim Burns Gallery, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1995: 'Group exhibition' Galerie Art Kitchen, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1994: 'Group exhibition “Ik + de Ander”', Beurs van Berlage, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1994: 'Group exhibition', Galerie IMP.262/Galerie Art Kitchen, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1994: 'Group exhibition', Eusebiuskerk, (Arnhem, The Netherlands)
1994: 'Group exhibition', Cor Mans Binnenhuisvormgeving, (Bennekom, The Netherlands)
1994: 'Giliam & Gort', Galerie Stijl, (Arnhem, The Netherlands)
1993: 'Group exhibition', “93 Geheimen”, (Venray, The Netherlands)
1991: 'Group exhibition', Galerie K, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
1990: 'Architecture Photography', group exhibition (photography), Galerie Uilenstede, (Amstelveen, The Netherlands)
1987: 'Solidarność, Poland in Black and White', group exhibition (photography), (Sonnevanck, Wijk aan Zee and Sint Janskerk, Utrecht)