The end of the year 2020. I was exhausted because of everything that had changed or was about to change in my life. Another art studio, discarding our emigration plans at least for a couple of years, finding and buying a new home… I was so tired and couldn’t think about making art. Yet I kept on going to the studio every day. Just to be surrounded by my work and maybe find some energy. That’s when I started cutting old work up. And two weeks later I suddenly had all these new collages (19 pieces) staring at me from my studio wall.
After finishing the Homegrown collages series I decided to prepare for our upcoming house move. So I decided to start packing all my stuff and started organising my archive. That’s when I found all these old retro magazines I bought at the thrift store ages ago. Before I knew it I was cutting them op, pasting them onto each other. And without any intention I was making art again. And let me tell you a secret: that’s the best kind of ‘making art’ there is.
A new year a new beginning. After a very weird 2020 I figured we could all do with some refreshing new beginnings in 2021. So I cut up all my drawings from 2020 together with some even older art and started making new things. These nine collages emerged. I deliberately used a lot of lucky red, because a little luck is never wasted. Especially during these times!
After finishing my New Beginnings I had all these colourful ink parts left. I wanted to make good use of them because I loved all those intense and saturated colours. I started this series without a plan. Just cutting up everything I thought would work well with those ink layers. When the grid was complete and I started naming them I couldn’t help but to put seasons in their names. During those days I was just so very happy with the winter cold we were experiencing back then. It had been ages (two years actually!) and I am a sucker for frost, ice and icy winds.
With all their whites and blues some of them really felt like winter. There are some that represent spring and one that’s got more of an autumn vibe. But, like one of their titles: Winter always finds a way! CLICK HERE TO SEE + LEARN MORE (9 pieces in total).
GLIMPSES OF INK COLLAGES
This series is first and foremost the result of me wanting to experiment with different layers of ink drawings. After finishing the Winter Season series I wanted to try something different. So I started cutting up all old ink drawings from back in 2018. And I chose a series of ink drawings as backgrounds. Because I also wanted to add some colour and wanted to challenge myself I decided to only pick one series of oil paintings to cut up. After four days of cutting they came together quite quickly. CLICK HERE TO SEE + LEARN MORE (9 pieces in total)
MORE COLLAGES COMING SOON?
So that’s that: collages galore! Currently I am getting used to working in the studio full time again after two months of renovating, cleaning, tidying and home making after our house move. Already drowning in collage supplies I decided to revisit some old work first.
On the brink of 2021 I found my artist signature style: colourful collages with lots of layers and playful compositions. After two years of fiercely experimenting with everything I could lay my hands on it suddenly stroke. I am supposed to make what comes naturally!
YOUR ARTIST SIGNATURE USUALLY COMES NATURALLY
Colourful collages are always sneaking up on me. When I’m taking a day off, when I am abroad during a summer holiday, when I am on a train… If I have some scissors with me and some paper they will emerge from my hands even if I’m absent minded.
HOW I FOUND MY ARTIST SIGNATURE
During the last weeks of 2020 I was practically exhausted. A week earlier I moved into my new art studio and my husband had just told me that he also wanted to move to a new home. And I was like: are you kidding me? Can a person just enjoy one week in her life without any drastic changes? Apparently not. Even so I kept on going to my studio every morning. Not expecting anything extraordinary to happen. But just to be surrounded by my art. Bracing myself for everything that was about to change in 2021.
After two weeks I found myself making collages. And it escalated quickly. Within a week I made 45 of them and at first I really didn’t know what hit me! Wasn’t I tired of 2020? Wasn’t I trying to save my energy for all those things my husband cooked up? Apparently I was! And apparently I needed to make collages to feel energized and ready again.
That’s how it goes apparently: you can’t force your artist signature style to happen. Neither can you actively search for it. The only thing you can do is to make art like a maniac and it will find you eventually. Maybe I do need to add the tip ‘notice what you want to to/make when you’re exhausted and need a break’ to my earlier blog post about How to find your signature style as an artist.
2021: BRING IT ON!
So here we are: from now on I will make colourful collages with hand cut botanical shapes. And no virus or lockdown or social distancing or husband with life changing plans can stop me.
The mixed media collage series in my art studio are taking over! My newest series, Sprouting Paradise is a collection of nine xxl mixed media collages. My followers on Instagram came up with several ideas for naming this series. I combined ‘Colourful Paradise’ and ‘Colour sprouts’ and named them Sprouting Paradise.
These collages are made with old and new artworks. Back in 2017 I made a couple of autumn inspired xxl acrylic paintings on paper. And they were just lying there ever since. In 2018 I made preliminary studies in ink before starting on the Majorelle paintings. These ink drawings were also just lying there.
So I decided to cut up the whole bunch and made them into xxl mixed media collages. I added a few new botanical shapes as well, inspired by the Tucson series. And then I just got started.
SPROUTING PARADISE IN THE MAKING
During the making of these xxl mixed media collages I made a couple of ‘art in the making’ videos for you. This way you can see my art process in more detail.
First video: making compositions
Second video: my gluing tactics the compositions
Usually you only see the result, but I just wanted you to show how many other artworks there always are before the end result. First edition artworks get discarded, changed, discarded again, etc. The cactus collage is a very good example of this process. Below I’ve posted all its stages for you so you can watch it evolve into its current form.
SPECS OF XXL MIXED MEDIA COLLAGES
These Sprouting Paradise collages are all 42 x 59.4 cm (A2). They come signed and unframed. Since I’ve just finished them these aren’t listed in my shop yet, but I’m working on that, so stay tuned.
What do you think of these new mixed media collages? What do they remind you of / would be your name suggestion? Would love to hear from you in the comments!
It’s official: I am a contestant of the Luxembourg Art Prize of 2020!
WHAT’S THE LUXEMBOURG ART PRIZE?
The Luxembourg Art Prize is a prize for emerging and more established international artists. It’s organised by La Pinacotheque a museum in Luxembourg every year and it features great international attention.
HAPPY HABITS FOR THE LUXEMBOURG ART PRIZE 2020
I have submitted my relatively new mixed media works of the Happy Habits series. Because these works transcend my earlier works in style, material and artistic approach. And, more importantly, because these works are my most personal so far. They deal with the perfectionism I’ve suffered from for years. These artworks transform my perfectionist habits into new, healthier ones and in a way they serve as transformational art.
Beside the 16 artworks I’ve also submitted the short accompanying poems I wrote for every artwork. Scroll down to see and read them all in detail.
MY ARTISTIC APPROACH
It took some time to complete my application, because of all the kind of difficult questions they asked me to answer. Like: what’s your artistic practice? And what are recurrent themes in your work? Though these were tough questions they already proved very valuable. Getting the right specific questions about your work and your artistic vision really makes a difference. It has inspired me to think and feel about this and to put this into words the best way I could. (You can also find this on my About page.)
My artistic approach can be summarized by three themes: energy, the boldness of nature and this human life.
As a child with a restrictive religious upbringing I wasn’t allowed to go to art school nor to pursue any kind of creative career. Obviously not a very rebellious child I obeyed but I got very unhappy with life, myself and the choices I made. After graduating it took me 6 years to discover I had to shake off all these restrictive convictions about what life’s supposed to be. So I didn’t paint until I was 30 and since then I feel this sort of incredible urgency in creating, in catching up with myself. That urgency gives my work energy and electricity. It makes my work pure, spontaneous, direct and bold.
The boldness of nature
Nature inspires me with her unapologetic colours, shapes, diversity and versatility. The same kind of inspiration I find in the work of Swedish artist Malin Gabriella Nordin and Canadian artist Sarah Hughes. Nature is the only place where I can feel truly relaxed and energetic at the same time. It inspires my work as well as my artistic approach. It teaches me to not try to fit into styles or boxes but to grow like a massive rhododendron tree and reach up to the sky.
Nature also inspires me to create my own universe, just like Yayoi Kusama. That’s why I translate my paintings into fabric patterns and print them on carpets, fabrics, scarves and cushion covers. That way people can really immerse themselves in the exotic bold energy of nature. I try to capture that energy in all colours I am able to create with my three primary colours + black and white. Mixing colours is one of the core practices of my work. It takes me away to coral reefs, botanic gardens and tropical forests. So while creating my own colourful universe I travel the whole wide world in my mind.
This human life
In my artistic energy I feel like the love baby of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. With my work I want to dance between the total bliss of carefree joie de vivre and the inevitable pain and sorrow that come with living this human life. I wish to lift people up and comfort them. We are together in this and all emotions are valid to feel and express.
MY SUBMISSION FOR THE LUXEMBOURG ART PRIZE 2020
I really feel this new work sums up my artistic approach quite nicely: because of the fast nature of making collages I can follow my energetic inspiration completely (like: scrambling a composition together, immediately seeing whether it works or not and accordingly starting from scratch or keeping it). Furthermore it is inspired by organic, botanical shapes because I want these new habits to flow through me as opposed to the more harsh perfectionist ones that block my flow. And since they are so personal they dance between the pain (perfectionism) and my innate zest for life.
AND NOW WE WAIT
Because of COVID-19 the application period has been extended until the 31th of August 2020. The nominated artists will be notified before September 30th. If I am nominated I will be part of an art exhibition in La Pinacotheqe from November 2020 until April 2021. Of course you would be cordially invited if that would be the case. Fingers crossed and I keep you posted!