Where are you from and where do you live currently?
I grew up in Son, a small village with lots of trees and farmers in the south of the Netherlands. Loved playing in the woods, building shacks and pretending I was living on a other planet eating sorrel for dinner. Went to art school in Arnhem, and when I graduated I left for Amsterdam were I live and work now with my two daughters and a black cat.
How did you get your start as an artist?
In the eighties I moved to Eindhoven, a city nearby. I was fascinated by the music scene, I started playing in bands, started performing, making posters, everything you wanted to do was possible! DIY! At the same time I discovered museums. I was absorbing everything around me: people, music, movies, books, and art. Still I was not aware of my creativity. It wasn't until I decided that I wanted to go to art school that I knew I could make my own world in songs and in art.
Love & Balance
Do you have a day job or are you a full-time artist?
I work 3 days a week as a teacher and coach with kids aged 16 to 19. The rest of the week I'm working in my studio in the industrial area of Amsterdam West.
The images in these collages are sophisticated and unusual. Where did you source the imagery?
I make my collages with books I collect from the seventies and sixties, not out of nostalgia but because of the colours they are printed in. Not extremely bright colours, but soft ones, like the colours in the movie 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'. I'm also fascinated with industrial machinery, how mankind makes and reshapes everything around itself. I use the shapes and lines I extract from pictures of planes, cars, warships and so on. With these pieces of scrap I try to construct my ideas or thoughts.
Are the men in these collages historical figures? They all appear very grand and illustrious and dressed in high style from a certain time.
For these collages I used an old book of my grandfather about the history of the Lowlands. When I was young I was fascinated by the prints of the men in this book, making up my own stories instead of reading the book. So looking at these prints this time they missed some of the visual alienation I used to see back then. I’m always questioning myself where reality ends and imagination begins. I question myself what is the personal book with information we have got in our head. Are we capable of receiving new constructions or are we always hooking it up to a the “thing” we know from real life and try to connect with it.
Another series you are currently working on involves sewing fabric on a photograph. Are these two series very distinct or is there interplay between the works?
The ones you refer to are portraits of young girls hidden behind a veil or a headscarf. In this series I'm searching for new ways to reshape an image. I'm searching for the possibilities of making new lines and shapes. I love to work with the sewing machine, and working with fabric and sewing has the same ritual like the cutting out of shapes.
MissD No.11, One eye blind
Any chance there will be a "Women of Calibre" series in the future?
Well, recently I visited my parents in my old home. My mother had saved some books for me and one of them was about traditional dresses and headscarfs of the Netherlands. I always loved this book of the seventies because of the pictures of handmade lace-work headscarfs and dresses. At the same time I was questioning myself why women had to dress themselves so beautifully, while at the same time being so obstructed by the complex dresses and still being able to work or take care of the family. So I can say there certainly is a chance of a Women of Calibre series coming up!
Stitches No. 5