Tjepkema first meets Tichy in the winter of 1990 when he is teaching English in a town nearby to Kyjov. After a brief stay in Canada, Tjepkema returns to Europe with plans to move to The Netherlands but ends up in Kyjov where he continues to visit Tichy and study his art and philosophy. During this time Tjepkema continues to write and begins to use oil paints and when he finally moves to Rotterdam, he is devoting most of his time to the visual arts.

Although Tjepkema lives in The Netherlands for five years, he spends half of this time in Kyjov where his associations with Tichy and with other artists continue. In 1997 he publishes some paintings with the music group Narajama and in 1998 he publishes the novel A Fairy Tale which includes a five page description of an early meeting with Tichy. He also writes about Petr Cmelik, the other young artist most closely associated with Tichy in the last two decades.

By 1998, Tjepkema’s career as an artist now looks promising but it is at this time that he begins to suffer mental breakdowns. He is incarcerated first in 1998 in a Dutch mental health facility for doing an artwork that he titles Hell (W)hole and then, later, on several occasions for artworks involving his townhouse and performances around his home town of Rotterdam. It is after the authorities threaten to lock him up indefinitely in a mental institution that he decides to move back to his other native land, Canada.

By 1998 Tichy has ceased making photographs and has gone into retirement. He continues to have some altercations with the authorities, most notably for public drunkenness. Tichy is not yet famous and his art is not being exhibited or sold on the open art market.

In Canada Tjepkema is put on a disability pension and is often taken to the mental hospital but for only very short periods of time. During this period he is highly creative and writes several books in addition to creating a new oeuvre to his visual art involving objects, boxes, costumes and optical devices. He also begins to make Lessendgames one of which includes Tichy and his house. He films these “reality art” projects and Tichy appears in a ten minute segment.

By 2002 Tjepkema is again using drugs and documents this in his book Confessions of a Dutch Drug User. After an aborted attempt to move to The Netherlands, Tjepkema returns to Canada and embarks on a campaign of performance artworks which leads to several incarcerations in mental hospitals and in the local prison. During this time he continues to visit Kyjov and makes sure that Tichy is informed of his absurdist campaigns in Canada.

By the year 2000 Tjepkema has stopped doing exhibitions and refuses to sell any of his artwork. Except for a few public displays in parks and town squares, Tjepkema’s new art is known only to a private audience. During this time he concentrates on performance art and eventually takes his act onto local stages. Later he gets involved again with musicians and forms a group called The God Show which then becomes Theatre Obscura.

In 2004 Tjepkema is arrested for an artwork involving a manifesto, which includes references to Tichy, and The National Art Gallery of Canada. He is later arrested on other charges and in total spends over a month in prison. By 2006 all charges have been dropped but Tjepkema now refuses to exhibit his art in Canada. He writes a new work called Adventures of an Absurdist which in part details his experiences with the Canadian legal situation.

By 2005 Tichy has become world famous. After his breakthrough in Spain and after winning the New Discovery Award in Arles, Tichy exhibits in the Kunsthaus in Zurich, Switzerland. Tjepkema returns to Kyjov surprised that all this has happened. Tichy informs him that he has been betrayed and newspaper articles soon appear about Tichy’s anger and disagreement with these public displays of his art. Scandal begins to attach itself to his name and his fame now goes beyond the borders of the art world. In December of 2005 he appears in a ten minute segment on Television Nova, a commercial station in The Czech Republic.

Tjepkema’s new book, Confessions of a Dutch Drug User, is published in November of 2005 and he returns to Czech to promote it with a couple of underground exhibitions in Kyjov and Brno that he calls (Less)Endgame. These exhibitions include new paintings, homemade kaleidoscopes, films, performance art and music. Due to a complete lack of advertising very few people are present. The exhibitions last no more than three hours. In Kyjov he shows a silent one minute segment of video shot at Tichy’s house which he calls “Conversation with God.”

He is now visiting Tichy on a daily basis and he is present when reporters and curiosity seekers come to visit Tichy. He is now referring to himself as Tichy’s apprentice and as his “right hand man.” (Forward)

Tichy's Art

Tjepkema's Art

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