At the paint laboratory experiment and research is encouraged.
"Every year we are re-inventing," says technical supervisor Arend Nijkamp. It often takes a few attempts to visualize the idea of the artists. A table full of tests and prototypes shows what can go wrong, but moreover, what's possible, and inspires every year a new generation of residents. In the paint laboratory there’s a lot of attention for contemporary applications such as synthetic resins, the development of surface structures, conservation methods, industrial paints and coatings. Arend Nijkamp: "More and more materials appear on the market, but pure pigments plus an egg is also still relevant." Former resident Gijs Frieling shared his own recipes and knowledge of traditional tempera with new residents in the paint lab.
Often there’s a search for trickery, looking for a surface material that looks different than what it actually is. Thomas Raat for example, searched in 2011 for a way to make wooden sculptures appear like metal. Almost the paint lab had developed a metal paint by itself, until a new product was found to exist that gave the wood exactly the right effect. It’s preferred to use products that are available on the market, so the artist can continue independent after the Rijksakademie. Through collaboration with the Oudt Hollandse Olieverven Makerij (since 1664, the paint that Van Gogh, Vermeer and Mondrian used) residents can get reduction on oil paint of the highest quality.
The workshop has a spray cabin where new techniques are used. There’s also space to stretch very large format canvases. The paint laboratory collaborates often with other workshops, like with ceramics for 3D objects, but also with video - when it comes to projecting on a special surface.