How did you get started doing what you do?
I don’t remember starting, really. I guess that creating stuff in any way or form has always been a part of my day. As a six-year-old I would, when all the other kids took a left turn heading for school, stay behind and quickly take a right turn straight into the woods. That’s where I made little houses for the mice. I used tiny branches, leaves, moss, but I would also secretly bring pieces of brick stones and velvet fabric that I had cut into rectangles, just to add structure, proper shapes, and nice colors. I enjoyed being there by myself. When my parents found out about me skipping school at this age they decided to take me to Steiner school. I think in my case this was quite a smart decision. After Steiner school, I went to art school, got married and had 4 kids. I stopped painting after my kids were born and started commission-based work as a graphic designer and did some interior design for several years, which I really enjoyed doing. When the kids became a little older, I switched my focus to drawing and painting again. Finding a new way or approach was a challenging and complex process, to put it nicely. Only last summer I decided to leave the comfort of this solitary and private practice, and take my work out of the studio and put it online. I convinced myself that it will never be perfect or groundbreaking and that this is, of course, actually ok. At some point, I just had to stop messing around with it, take a step back and leave it alone. Also, 2015 was a really bad year for me and my family, and being at work in my studio was a solid way of finding the focus to move forward in a positive and productive manner.
What’s your inspiration?
It usually starts with an image or picture that kicks things off. I’m never sure what it actually is that triggers my attention. I like to browse through vintage pictures that I find in antique shops. I also read a lot of art blogs and art magazines like Elephant, but it could be anything really. I can be totally overwhelmed by a particular interior in an old movie or by music. Music is definitely a good one. Also, I like to listen to podcasts and TEDTalks.
What is art to you?
Art is everywhere most of the day, so in a way, I really don’t think of it that often. Obviously, art means a lot to me, but I don’t really know how to define the relevance of it, without going into all of the clichés.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up quite early to get myself and the kids ready for school and work. After dropping them off at their schools I have a juice, coffee and read the (news)papers in a cafe near my studio. I sort of need this morning routine. It calms me down and takes me away from everyday family matters and prepares or charges me for my day in the studio. I work until 17:30 and also most of the evenings after putting the kids to bed.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It depends, but in general, I would say a week or way more. Occasionally just a couple of hours or a day. Some pieces took so long I almost gave up. Actually, I did repaint a lot of my work… sometimes it’s just the quickest fix and besides that, it’s budget friendly. I also often work on a couple of pieces simultaneously. For supplies I use: Photoshop, Wacom Intuos tablet, A3 printer, digital prints, transfers, acrylic, oil, spray paint, Tipp-Ex, embroidery, markers (Molotow), pencils, ink, carbon paper, lots of gel medium (matte)- I love that stuff.
How do you keep motivated?
It is hard to stay motivated when the work sucks and is ugly and irrelevant. Which happens a lot. Sometimes I go into town and buy clothes (which I later return), which actually is kind of weird because I don’t like shopping at all. After roaming aimlessly I usually go back to podcasts or listen to music while browsing through the artwork of famous and arrived happy artists. Also eating high-quality chocolate can be beneficial. But at some point, I mainly just get back to work and tell myself to stop whining.
How have others reacted to your work?
My work has been blogged quite a lot lately and I was taken aback by all the positive and personal comments, emails, and responses I received. Somebody once thanked me for “painting the feeling with no name.” It might be a little Hallmark-y but I still thought it was super nice to hear.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
I seriously don’t think about that. I guess it’s not up to me really what people think or feel when they see my work. Certainly I hope it’s not too bad, but even so, I suspect there’s not much I can do about that. I like what Bowie once said about art: “its meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author. There is no authoritative voice, there are only multiple readings.”
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Oh man- a lot! I had this everlasting feeling of being a weird and atypical creature. Even in art school, I felt highly uncomfortable. So probably something like, “It’s ok to fail to begin with and try not to be embarrassed all the time and don’t expect your work to be so bloody spotless, etc.. and also don’t give up!”
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
This quote made me grasp the bigger concept: “Being an artist is not just about what happens when you are in the studio. The way you live, the people you choose to love and the way you love them, the way you vote, the words that come out of your mouth, the size of the world you make for yourselves, your ability to influence the things you believe in, your obsessions, your failures — all of these components will also become the raw material for the art you make.” -Teresita Fernández.