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The fact that my father was a designer and my mother his regular model has shaped both my character and my creativity. As a young child I would wander around my father’s large studio, with twelve girls and twelve industrial sewing machines that zoom the entire day.
The drawing room was not always forbidden territory, and sometimes I could enter the sanctuary. Large drawing tables and enormous sheets of paper, rolls of fabrics from all parts of the world adorned this big space.
The dream queen who pricked.
Hugging my mother was out of the question, because as usual, she was full of pins. My father designed his clothes on my mother’s body. The dream queen who pricked. One day the bubble of this creative décor burst, and everyone went their own way.
Jesus and his brides
I spent my adolescent years among Jesus and his brides in an old Catholic boarding school. Confined, and only home on weekends, I dreamed the paintings I later made.
With my man on my 17th birthday, I decided to take control of my life. I exchanged the convent for an erotic attic. Fortune smiled on us and the world was ours. We worked to put bread on our plates and roamed the earth between jobs. There was no money for paint; we swapped a loaf of bread for my first box of pastels.
Thumbing and riding trains to Portugal, the unknown land of warmth and beauty. twenty years old, for the first time a few pastel works hang in the little old church of Obidos, a Portuguese village on the coast.
Here we sold our first painting. It became the primary necessity of life; we inspired one another’s spirits and constantly sought new challenges. We made many paintings and sold a few. Back to Holland to the College of Social Studies, but what now – we were at a crossroads. Do we opt for security – life in the suburbs – or do we create a world that connects to our thinking; a captive soul will never be able to create.
There is always a choice, but a free spirit cannot be captured, not even with poverty as a friend.
And so we traveled again, new ideas abounding, and the new world smiled upon us. With a box of chalk and a newborn baby, we booked a trip to America: California. We bought a 45-year-old Chevrolet camper and traveled through the country in good spirits. Between feedings and dirty diapers we visited galleries and museums and finally landed in Carmel Valley.
A “rich man’s dream and no money to spend”, but fortune in America reached out to us, and we were able to take free classes with our little Moses in a laundry basket.
Art is an expression of discontent or pleasure, and only you can embellish or destroy it.
The way of life, setting priorities, discipline and happiness – it all ensures that the roots of art will be fed and can flourish. n the village of Carmel Valley we also sold paintings, and a second baby was in the making. We returned to Holland and landed in an apartment in the “Bijlmer” with two little children, a dog and an old Mercedes camper, a map of Morocco, lots of diapers and flour… the world lay open to us once again.
Mint tea, couscous and the daily prayer from the mosque defined our days, the children played on the beach and all of a sudden, there was room to bring white paper to life. Life in a Muslim culture is clear-cut. A country of control, with strict rules; happiness is a big part of the game. Showing our work in Morocco in the 80’s was impossible for a woman.
Back to Holland again, with a wealth of drawings. I worked from early morning to late evening. For the first time I started to work out my pastels on plywood. A long road of experimentation with various layers of varnish, and finally, the result I longed for.
To relax and be with the family, we moved for one year to France. With a bus full of stuff and all our work packed up, we wound up in the south of France.
We rented an old pastorate with a little Romanesque church in the garden. A stream around the house completed the picture. In that year we had various exhibitions in Toulouse, but impressionism was in its heyday at the time.
Believing in yourself, drawing from your own strength, the many rejections that followed. We decided to take stock… We needed a new métier.
At that time the computer was still only a business tool, and we decided to start a new experiment – digital art. It sounded wonderfully interesting.
After years of experimenting and paper in the wastebasket, we finally found our own concept: the world of postage stamp. Gluing and cutting, tearing, drawing too, manipulating assorted stamps into a work of art.
A range of graphic programs came on the market, and we played the computer as if it were a part of our body. Contemporary work is exciting, refined and esthetic. We are able to convert the digital process into art, with its roots in olden days.
We make our art tangible by using today’s technology. At present we are living by the sea, and the space around us feeds our spirit with the briny air. Art remains an act of rebellion and diversion.