How did you get started doing what you do?
When I was a child, I was always drawing. I couldn’t go anywhere without my paper and pencils. When my parents told me there was a school for this, an art school, I immediately knew I HAD to go there. So when people asked me what I wanted to be as a grown up, I’d always tell them I would be an artist. An illustrator actually, because I saw myself drawing for children’s books. This idea changed when I became older, when I discovered painting. The paint brought me what I missed in pencils, it was like sculpting with colors. It just all fell into place.
How would you describe your creative style?
I work in a realistic style, you could say it touches the more hyperrealistic techniques, but I don’t consider myself an hyperrealist. I work way too fast and it’s not my intention to make a portrait that looks like a picture. But I do get lost in details, want to get so close to the reality I’m presenting that it almost feels ‘real’. The eyes must look back at the viewer, hair must look like it’s touchable. It has something to do with the feeling of alienation I can have when looking at the world around me. ‘Living’ is something so enigmatic, and watching it from up close seems to give me more control over it. It’s like when I am creating something real, it makes me more real. Does that make any sense?
What’s your inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from everything that lies beneath the human face, and I’m always searching for ways to bring the inner world to the surface. It’s because we’re used to judge a book by it’s cover, a person by its appearance. And in a world this big, you can feel anonymous and small when looking at the world through nothing more than a small pair of eyes. At least, that’s how I feel. To get wonderings like this onto the canvas, I’m searching for women I can identify with, to decrease the feeling of anonymity and alienation. I sometimes find them on the streets, some of them are close friends already. The important thing for me is that I feel that there is a connection between us, not needing to be explained easily.
What is art to you?
Art is a language to me, a way of speaking in images. Good pieces of art don’t need words to accompany them, they speak for themselves. I love it when I see art that leaves me speechless. I often find myself trying to explain to someone else why I find an artwork so amazing, and the only thing that comes out is something like: “You should see this because it’s so… yeah, well… beautiful. But wait, ‘Beautiful’ is meaningless, and what I really mean is… well… I don’t know. You should see it.” Art also reflects humanity, the time we live in. It’s a mirror. It can make you think. I love art that provokes, that confronts. I love art that makes people angry. Art has so much more power than some people might think. It’s so much more than something pretty that fits the color of your couch.
What does your typical day look like?
My ‘painting days’ are always quite the same and maybe even a bit boring to describe. I’m filling the biggest cup there is with coffee (milk, no sugar) and walk through my garden to my studio. I will put on some music, take some time to look around and smoke a cigarette, and get started. It’s early in the morning, 9 am. As soon as I start painting, there isn’t really room or time for anything else. I will paint and paint and paint. I don’t take breaks, and I’ll even forget to eat till the point that I almost faint- not a joke. And then suddenly, it’s 6pm, it’s getting dark, and I have to stop working, completely exhausted. And the next day it’s the same story all over again. This is why I don’t paint everyday, cause it really is madness sometimes…
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
With those long hours of working, I can work fast, and I usually finish paintings in about a week. But there are paintings that took only two days, and there are some that take like a month or more.
How do you keep motivated?
I don’t really have to keep myself motivated actually… I just am. Sometimes I don’t paint for a while, because I’m busy with other stuff, or just don’t have the inspiration, but there’s always the point where I get restless and have to get back to work again. I really need it, you could even see it as an addiction. I can’t imagine myself without it, it’s a part of me.
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
That everything is going to be okay. It may sound like a cliché, but I’ve been so extremely insecure, and to be honest, I still am in a way. But at least now I know that what I’m doing is making sense. I used to feel like a stranger in my life and in this world, trying to fit in, while at the same time I knew I never would. This feeling lost it’s importance, and I can say that now I can just ‘be’. I can now make a painting and feel proud and satisfied. I’m not my own worst enemy anymore. Thing’s have become more realistic.
What are your thoughts on art school?
Although my time in Art School wasn’t an easy time, I would definitely recommend it to everyone. You don’t need it to consider yourself an artist, but it does give you the opportunity to take all the time you need for creating art. You will be challenged in a way you can’t be challenged when you are your only adviser. You’ll learn to think about your processes, your ideas, etc. You’ll have to experiment and make stuff you don’t want to, you’re going to make stuff you will hate. But that will help to make you wiser, less vulnerable and more secure about yourself.
What art supplies do you use?
I work in acrylics- Liquitex heavy body mostly. And synthetic, good quality soft brushes. Oh, and I work on mixed cotton instead of linen, because I don’t like heavy structured canvas.