“There’s no point trying to cover up or better your style because your uncompromised, natural line is what makes you truly unique.”
Who are you? What do you do?
I’m a 27 year old female painter.
Where are you from?
A small coal mining town in Limburg, Belgium called Genk.
Your style in 3 words?
Thick, Dirty, Sensitive
Your weakness? Your strength?
I’m a dark person and I need to be in the right environment to be fully productive. I spent six years of my life living in London and it nearly broke me. I’m all about healthy living and positive vibrations, man! I don’t want to let my ‘weakness’, i.e. suffering from depression, slow down my productivity. My strength is channelling that negativity into paintings that are a bit comical.
What makes you different?
I think the only way to be different is to hide nothing. I used to have this idea of what I wanted my work to look like based on what people I looked up to were making. Like if Lee Krasner’s sense of composition married Niki De Saint Phalle’s unapologetic femininity mixed with Philip Guston’s colour palette. But I think everyone is a product of their own experiences, from the architecture typical of the place you grew up in to the way your mother’s face looks. All these visual things shape your personal ‘world of Forms’. When I’m drawing in the studio I don’t try any harder than I would if someone asked me for directions on the street, and I was to quickly draw a map for them. There’s no point trying to cover up or better your style because your uncompromised, natural line is what makes you truly unique.
When did you decide to become an artist?
Thinking about it now I’d like to assume I’ve never not been an artist. But I probably made a conscious decision to put working as a painter above anything else about five years ago. I had a ‘real job’ and I was miserable and my husband said something along the lines of ‘why are you kidding yourself, you should just devote your life to painting.’ And I knew he was right so I did.
What do you find most fascinating about the creative process?
I have always been very into symbolism in traditional painting. Somewhere along the line I’ve gotten better at being able to link meaning to colour and shape and express a lot without thinking a lot. Sometimes someone can analyse a piece of my work with just very little background info, and they hit the nail on the head of something that’s been on my mind a lot. It confirms that although what I’m doing feels spontaneous to make, it is deliberate.
A few words about your favourite creation?
A painting called ‘De Laatste Dag’ (or The Last Day) by Alechinsky at the Fin-De-Siecle museum in Brussels. I’ve seen it at various stages of my life, various ages and heights and as my understanding of contemporary art has grown its still as massive as ever.
Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…
There’s an ever-growing list of people our there producing amazing work and every day I come across something that shakes my bones. At the moment I’m crushing hard on Jamian Juliano-Villani. I like her process, I like her confidence and her style is something totally unique.
A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?
My head and iPhone notes are full of abstract ideas like “I’m gonna make a really fluffy painting with lots of long, purple, slender vegetable shapes.” It doesn’t make much sense talking about it, so I’d rather not go into it. Haha.
Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“
‘Career’ is quite a tricky one to define. There’s hardly anything more important to me than art, but I’d choose being fulfilled on a creative level over having financial success any day if one excluded the other. That aside, everyone I love and the planet’s wellbeing are more important things. Without them, I couldn’t paint.
Do you have a vision?
For the human race to stop the genocide on animals.
2017: Where are we going?
It panics me slightly to think further than tomorrow or next week, so I’m the worst person to ask!
Your city’s favourite spots?
I live in a tiny rural English town, so the nature that surrounds me is the best bit. Nearby is the studio I work in called Asylum Studios & Gallery. It’s a knackered old building in the middle of an ex US army base that was active during the Cold War. It’s a really surreal environment, and the studio is filled with a great bunch of people. I love turning up on a Monday morning and hanging round the coffee pot. Everyone there knows that being an artist is a ‘real’ job, and its exactly what I wished for when I was a child.
Tell us about your future plans…
I have a few group shows coming up in places I haven’t exhibited in before but are places close to my heart like Copenhagen, Mallorca and another in Peckham before the end of this year. Then I’m spending a month painting in L.A. at the La Brea residency which I’m hugely excited for as I’ve never been to the US. I think from what I’ve heard L.A. sounds like a great environment for a painter. A nice climate full of positive, yoga-loving, vegan-eating hippies with the edge of a big, bad city full of art. Everything that I’m into!