I have to projects going on: learning stone litho and making paper lithos.
The stone litho series will be more about a man alone searching for his way in life. A personal quest. A pilgrimage you could say.
But the paper litho series are more about things that are happening all over the world. Like terrorism and wars, innocent people who get hurt. And in the middle of these disasters I place an individual, just a regular guy. ‘seasons change and I’m still waiting‘ refers to this regular guy who is waiting for his loved ones to come home after a disaster destroyed his life. There is nothing he can do about it then just wait. Waiting while winter turns into spring, spring turns into summer and then fall and eventually winter again. In the meantime this guy is still waiting. And he just has to sit this through. He has to feel the sun on his face, try to keep warm while the snow is falling. He does not have a choice. Sometimes you just don’t have a choice but to hang in there….
I have to projects going on: learning stone litho and making paper lithos.
Two weeks ago I started to learn stone lithography. There is this nice small museum in the middle of nowhere where I go to once or twice a week to do stone litho printing.
A beautiful place. Very quiet.
First I did not really have clue about what I wanted to do there; did I have a project in mind? Yes, just learning the technique, I thought….
But now, after two stone litho prints I suddenly know what I would like to do: making a booklet of the series of prints I am making at the museum. And I want to write a short story with every image.
Just a small book.
How came I up with this idea? I started to notice that those two prints tell the story about the same guy. Every time I’m thinking of a new print this guy appears in my thoughts. He is wandering around. He wants to be a writer but doesn’t know where to start or where to begin. So he is walking around, jumping into the unknown, stays on an island and walks into the sea.
And still doesn’t know where he can find himself. So the booklet is going to be about this search.
Exposities die ik bezocht, Mijn Exposities, Werk dat ik maakte / No Comments
Last saturday I did a performance together with two other women wearing my paper dresses. I especially designed three new ones for the vernissage of the Grafik Triennalen in Uppsala Konstmuseum.
So there were three women (including myself) and two musicians and together we walked through every room of the museum, like a little parade. It was a light and simple performance and that was the whole purpose. Because I want the attention to my dresses, they tell a story. This story is about me starting a new life in a new country. First I was scared I didn’t now where to start. But then I took the next step and went looking for the possibilities. After exploring a little bit I jumped right into it, into this new life. Now I am dreaming of a strange country I have never been. Because I discovered how wonderful it is to keep on moving.
I’m working on a new series of paper dresses. What is it about? I ask myself that question over and over again. I think they are about leading a new life and that you have to surrender yourself to that new life. You have to throw yourself into it. And maybe it will lead to something good. But it is the part before the jumping that is the most scary. You have to let go of your fears and prejudices. So it is something you have to think about and explore. That’s what I do: first I think about it and then I try to surrender.
This is what the first two dresses are telling about. But the third dress is telling about the longing for a next journey, another place where I would like to go; Oulu, a city in Finland. I don’t know if that is going to happen but it is a place I would like to go and I picture it in my mind.
Having this all said; Eventually the dresses ask the question: what is a good life? Now, having the experience of living abroad and moving a couple of times I know that there are many different ways you can live your life. But I still haven’t figured out what that means to me? Maybe for me it is moving and living at different places. I don’t know. But my work helps me in this search.
Day in day out I listen to the radio. I turn no music on, but only the news and all that is going in the world. Lately there is so much going on in the world; and I see and hear all those incredibly sad stories which are getting more and more close by, it seems that we can no longer deny that the world is changing and that it is going to affect our lives somehow.
To give shape to those feelings I want to work on a new series of prints and try to tell about the stories I hear.
Today I printed the first one. It shows a regular guy sitting in a meadow.
Because in all those sad stories that are happening around the world it is usually the regular guy in the street who suffers the most.
On June 28 2014 I gave an artist talk at the Manhattan Graphics Center in New York. In 2012 I stayed in New York for two months and worked at the Manhattan Graphics Center; for me that has been a life changing experience that really influenced my work and life as an artist. When I returned to New York this summer I wanted to share that experience by doing an artist talk at the place where I learned so much: the Manhattan Graphics Center. But that is not the only reason; last June it has been 10 years since I started to work as an artist. So the artist talk wasn’t only to share my experiences but also a way to reflect on my work that I made those last ten years.
If you want to read my artist talk you just have to go the link above. Enjoy!
Three weeks ago I arrived in New York City, this time we were going to stay there for two weeks. We stayed in Queens one of the boroughs. I have visited this borough before and I always had the wish to come back again. Now we got the opportunity to stay with a friend. I like this borough very much because it has so much variety, from very residential to large apartment buildings but also these typical wooden houses with a porch.
Also, like the rest of New York City, it is a mix of different cultures. I feel at home there. For me it was the third time I visited New York and every time I feel that I can breathe again. I know the way of living, and making a living in New York can be a struggle. But at the same time you are completely free in how you want to live your life.
Because the Manhattan Graphics Center gave me the opportunity of doing an artist talk they offered me a week of studio time in return. First I panicked a little bit; in New York you could walk for days just to find out how many layers this city really has; every day you discover new things or meet new people. So where do I start? What to draw about when everything is an inspiration?
To keep it simple I decided to use my daily life as an inspiration: to wake up in our friends house every morning. I saw the Virgin Mary in the garden on the other side of the street. Every morning I ordered a bagel cream cheese at a deli. Before I could really start a day I had to buy a coffee. After buying my coffee I walked to Bryant Park which became my living room/office/studio during those two weeks. Because that is what you need in New York: a place where you can return to every day and enjoy the things you have seen. So after spending some time in my living room it was time to do some printing at the MGC and to meet people. Just to end the day in Bryant Park again with a couple of drinks.
You see, I kept my life very simple during my stay and still there was a lot going on!
Running through some of my older etchings, I discovered this one again after a long time, I had almost forgot about it. My etchings were more about things that happened in the world. Things that I had read in the newspaper about fugitives and displaced people. The prints were more political involved. This print for example is about an article I read in the newspaper, it was about a tribe that lives very deep in the jungle; they weren’t discovered yet until a plane flew above their village and the tribe pointed their arrow at the plane: they never saw a plane before. So after this it was of course very interesting to find out who those people were. Back then I was thinking after I read this article; that tribe can’t continue their way of living because soon people from the outside world start to arrive out of curiosity. The anonymity of the tribe will just fade away.
It is summertime in Sweden. The fields are covered with yellow flowers. And we are surrounded by all sorts of green. The sky is bright. One evening we were walking home and all the yellow flowers in the big meadow close to our home were suddenly turned into fluffy balls. It was beautiful; de sky was ultramarine blue and in the dark the fluffy balls were like luminous stars.
I want to make a print of this picture that is still in my head. First I have made a sketch. Still don’t know how to turn it into a print. I’ll let it linger for a while.
(picture made by Rense Nieuwenhuis)
The last couple of weeks I have been working on an edition of 300 paper litho’s. I have made them for a Dutch printmakers magazine to send to all their members. It wasn’t difficult to came up with an image. I wanted to tell about my life here in Sweden. Immediately I had to think of this person sitting in his kayak in the middle of a huge lake. I saw it from a distance so the person and his kayak were very tiny. It all looked so peaceful: the kayak was moving so calm in the middle of this huge lake; it was like it all came together.