oil on canvas
Watercolor, acrylic and airbush on paper
Afraid of self-reflection
The above sculpture ‘Rain’ by Nazar Bilyk represents the relationship between man and the elements and the inner dialogue of someone with themselves.
In search of answers to the questions of life the man fully submerges himself in the world around him, opening up to all the answers it can give.
When we got the assignment to make an ‘opposing sculpture’ I chose the above sculpure as a starting point.
My project will focus on the relation with the inner world as opposed to the outer world, and finding answers within.
“In my experience signs a usually a lot more subtle.” – Michael Chabon
Here you see me making glass waterdrops. They will be part of my work as hint to the sculpture by Bilyk: and symbol of searching / finding answers and being connected to the world around you.
In 2015 the London collective Assemble won the Turner prize for renovating old buildings in Toxteth, Liverpool, to create new homes, a glass-roofed garden and setting up the Granby workshop, where locals are being trained to make handmade furniture. The question is: is it art?
Is it art? seems to be a question surrounding any artwork that isn’t visual like paintings or sculptures. In the modern day it seems desirable that art is engaged with society. This often results in paintings or other types of artworks telling about a certain problem in the world. My experience is that these types of artworks can make you think, but I haven’t experienced art changing behaviour once the physical engagement with the artwork is over.
For example people see the painting in a museum, think about it and think about the problem it describes. But they go home and slowly the topic fades from their minds, and they go back to their fixed behaviour. I wonder if has the ability to change behaviour at all: I personally haven’t seen it do so.
I find it interesting that the question Is it art? is asked so often. I think it is because there isn’t a definition that precisely describes what art is and what it isn’t. Yet there seems to be an overall conclusion that art is something that is not real, but a mirror of the real world or a representation of an imaginary one.
I think that artists of the twenty-first century are looking for a kind of art that ís real. Art that does not only make people think but goes beyond that in one way or another (thinking has never changed anything outside the mind. If the thinking results in an action, it can change something). But this is paradoxical. How can one make ‘real’ art is art is per definition something dat is not real?
In art history we see rising and falling of styles and trends in art. Often the next style goes against the previous, changing the definition of what art should be. It is in the nature of the artist to search for the possibilities. We build art up until it reached her highest point and then started to break her down again in the twentieth century, in search for essence. It seems as though the world is now looking for new definition of art yet again.
In a few decades time there will be a definition of what we are doing now. It will become clear in the framework of history what the developments were at this time. But we live today and the history of this time is not yet available to us. So until that time comes we find ourselves in a no man’s land of possibilities.
Art requires a new definition of itself. Maybe ‘art’ will become not the product but a mindset: maybe in the future art will be the mindset to search for possibilities, and execute those. Like Assemble did in Toxteth, Liverpool.
I am working on a comic about a goldfish that thinks he lives in a bowl, but the bowl doesn’t exist. It wil be finished by the end of the month. The pictures are of sketches for two of the characters.
The slightly too short pipes of his trousers creeped up as he sat next to her on the park bench. His messy hair and oversized shirt made him look like he was trying to define himself but didn’t quite succeed at it yet. Although this look is common for boys who’ve just hit puberty, it looked strange on this near middle-aged man.
The woman next too him was about the same age. She had been sitting there for about half an hour before he sat next too her, enjoying the warmth of the spring sun.
He rolled and unrolled the bottom of his shirt in nervousness. She wondered what he could be so nervous for.
If there had been someone near them they might have wondered what the relationship was between the two. Were they strangers, had they been lovers in a different time?
The silence between them seemed to give them two options. The first: asking the other what was going on. Risking to be seen as interrupting and rude, instead of caring.
The second option the second option was harder to endure than the first but had already started: keeping it silent. If was uncomfortably quite.
The silence seemed to swallow them as whole.
They sat there as time passed passed by. Oddly enough they both didn’t move. If there had been someone near them he might have questioned what was going on on that park bench. Maybe they both didn’t want to be the fist one to leave. Maybe he wanted to talk to her as badly as she wanted to talk too him.
The silence had already set and had lasted too long to be broken. If there had been someone near them they might have wondered how long this moment would last and how it would be broken. But as these two people were alone, this information is restricted to them
In the middle of the night
I build myself a tower
to look over all of life
and retreat at any hour
I live up there when it’s day
watching all things far below
but when the sun is far away
on my way down I go
In the dark I find myself
strolling through a world asleep
And if you’d see me, you could tell
this is when I’m truly me
Muren van weerstand
vullen het brein
uit angsten voor wanhoop
voor verdriet en voor pijn
Je kunt niet weg
uit deze eeuwige schijn
want buiten dit al
zal alleen maar chaos zijn
Overgave aan angsten
de chaos verdwijnt
heeft nooit werkelijk bestaan
alleen weerstand tot wat zal zijn
There are as many versions of me as there are people that know me
Some photo’s of an installation we had to make.
After the chair assignment where we had to turn a chair (or in my case a yoga-ball) into an artwork, we had to add:
I kept the whole installation quite minimal because my ‘chair’ was minimal to begin with.
This is my second attempt at drawing in photoshop
“ ‘Wat is leven eigenlijk?’ vroeg de Beer laatst aan de kever.
‘Leven is datgene wat jij ervan maakt Beer,’ antwoordde de Kever, ‘of eigenlijk niet wat
je ervan maakt als wel hoe je ertegenaan kijkt, dat is leven.’
‘O, en hoe weet je dat dan zo zeker?’ Beer krabde zichzelf achter zijn oor.
‘Dat weet ik omdat mijn waarheden, samen met de waarheden van vele anderen, mijn verhaal vormen, en daarmee mijn kijk op leven.’
‘O, maar zijn waarheden in dat geval dan wel waar?’
‘Voor sommige zielen wel Beer, voor sommige zielen wel’ ”
– Inge, 9 jaar
Soms zie ik mezelf als vijf jarig meisje. De wereld groot, mijn angst ervoor vele malen groter. Onbewust ben ik ervan overtuigd dat mezelf uiten me meer pijn zal doen dan het met goeds op zal leveren. Als gevolg hiervan uit ik mezelf niet, belicht ik hoogstens hoe je iets zou kunnen zien op verschillende manieren. Ik weet meestal niet wat ik ergens van vind of hoe ik iets zie, dat geeft de veiligheid dat anderen mijn mening niet zullen vervormen en tegen mij zullen gebruiken.
Uit angst voor de emoties van anderen, en uit angst niet mezelf te kunnen zijn, sluit ik mezelf af. Maar ik bereik het tegenovergestelde: door mezelf af te sluiten komt alles nog heftiger binnen en kan ik juist niet mezelf zijn. Mensen zien niet dat hetgeen zij op mij over willen brengen voor mij allang te veel is. Omdat ik er niet zichtbaar op reageer. Daarom denken ze dat ze het nog veel harder moeten brengen waardoor ik me vervolgens meer terug trek.
Als de wereld me teveel wordt ga ik naar de paarden. Dat is de plek waar ik compleet mezelf kan zijn en vanuit daar een connectie aan kan gaan met een ander wezen. Het geeft me een gevoel van verbondenheid, van groter zijn dan mijn lichaam. Alsof ik tegelijkertijd mezelf én de hele wereld ben en die wereld door mijn ogen naar zichzelf kijkt. Die verbondenheid die ik bij de paarden voel, daar ben ik ook naar opzoek met mensen.
Door te kijken naar de wereld heb ik geleerd dat mensen allemaal hun eigen perspectief, hun eigen waarheid hebben. Gevormd door de hun unieke ervaringen en persoonlijkheid.
Dit maakt anderen zo verschillend en uniek – en toch, in de essentie, ook hetzelfde.
Mijzelf zijn en mezelf uiten zijn onlosmakelijk verbonden. Door mezelf niet te uiten onderdruk ik wie ik ben en scherm ik me af van de wereld. Ik werp onbedoeld een schaduw over de wereld waar ik mezelf vervolgens weer in terug trek. De muren van zelfbescherming die ik voor mezelf gebouwd heb belemmeren me de rest van de wereld te kunnen zien. Het gaat zo niet langer en daarom breek ik deze wereld af: opzoek naar een nieuwe wereld waarin ik mijzelf kan zijn en vanuit daar connecties aan kan gaan met anderen, met de wereld. Ik vind dit doodeng omdat ik die nieuwe wereld niet kan zien. Deze wereld achter me laten voelt daarom als van een imaginair flatgebouw springen.
Niemand houdt me vast en toch val ik niet. Door mezelf open te stellen word ik juist beter begrepen door anderen. Daarnaast merk ik ook dat anderen zich ook open gaan stellen naar mij toe. Jezelf zijn inspireert anderen om ook zichzelf te zijn. Daardoor ontstaat er een veel diepere vorm van communicatie dan ik voorheen voor mogelijk hield. Hierbij vervallen meningsverschillen en wordt er plaats gemaakt voor een woordeloze connectie die voorheen niet bestond. We ervaren dat iedereen in de essentie hetzelfde is en toch zo verschillend.
Ik houd ervan om andere mensen gelukkig te zien en denk dat jezelf zijn belangrijk is om gelukkig te zijn. Mensen die werkelijk zichzelf zijn, stralen. Zij worden niet belemmerd door wat-alsgedachten en trekken zich niet uit zelfbescherming terug uit de wereld.
Mijn passie is om zo vertrouwd mogelijk te raken met mezelf, zodat ik de wereld in de ogen kan kijken en zij dan ook terug kijkt. Zodat wij in elkaars ogen kunnen kijken we en elkaar dan werkelijk kunnen zien.
*My Autobiography [song] (2009). Janis Ian.
Acrylic on paper 2×1.5m
I started this by making a big abstract composition, and than started searching for a figure in that composition. I made the figure I saw in in more visible and left it that way, as if the figure is created by the abstract forms.
If I could be in two places at the same time I’d want to be on earth and in heaven. Because I would still be one person with one consciousness, I imagine that both places would sort of merge into each other in front of your eyes.
I decided to make a stained glass window to execute my idea. This goes well with the heaven-theme. Also by making it into a window you can still see the world behind the art-work. I think this adds to the idea of being in to places at once.
In the oven
Now it can be turned into a window!
A customer asked my mom (who runs a business in stained-glass windows: http://www.annetglasinloodstudio.nl (shameless promoting here..)) to remake a stained-glass window.
The window showed a tinsmith at work and the customer wanted it to show a man cutting window-glass. My mom asked me if I could make the design.
Human trees and other species
Choose an artwork and remake the pose. Add an item of modern time (like a laptop)
Assignment: make a baroque astray to go with the chair your made.
Photograms combined with analog printing
My earrings look like a mosquito
Assignment: turn a chair into an autonomous artwork. As a ‘chair’ I used one of those yoga-balls that are supposed to be good for your posture behind the desk.
– I didn’t use photoshop for any of these images –
These are my first attempts at still lives. I used glass to photograph the object form below, because I was looking for a different type of still life than you would normally see.
Later today I made the following pictures:
My workspace for the second set of pictures:
Glass does funny things when you take pictures from the side. This is a piece of glass with chickenwire on top of it and a clock below:
In this assignment we had to interview a classmate whom we hadn’t talked to yet or who scared us a little. We had to find out something that was interesting about them and made them unique, and use that to create an image.
I interviewed Naomi, who seemed quite extravert to me and the introvert in me didn’t feel very confident about that. I learned that Naomi has learned that she can override the more introverted person. She also told me that she thinks about what she says way more than she used to and that she learned to listen.
In my image I wanted to incorporate that although Naomi is extravert, she is becoming more open to others. So a made an image in which she installed reception disks onto her head.
In the photo Naomi was quite dark and I thought that didn’t match the extravert personality I wanted to portray. And when I couldn’t get it quite right with changing the lighting etc. in photoshop I tried some filters. Although they did enable to make the image much lighter and more colorful, I don’t like how it made the overall image look.
Imagine you were an alien sent on a mission to planet earth. You know nothing about the planet and your fellow-aliens who do know, didn’t inform you about anything as to keep your first experience as pure as possible.
After traveling to earth, which may or may not have taken a long time, you step out of the UFO that brought you there and see earth for the first time. What do you see? Probably shapes and forms, maybe colors you’ve never seen before – assuming you have cone cells in your eyes making you able to perceive color. But you wouldn’t know what anything is.
Past Friday we experimented with pretending to be this alien and seeing earth for the first time. We stepped out of our UFO called “ArtEZ” and were sent into unknown territory to document everything we saw, especially the things that grow. But when given this assignment the first problem already occurred: when asking a human-pretending-to-be-an-alien to draw things that grow, we immediately focus on plants… Although that alien couldn’t possibly know what grows on earth and what doesn’t.
I don’t think it’s possible to hide the things we know in a corner of our mind where awe can’t reach them, spending our day without being able to acces that knowledge. Thus, I don’t think it’s possible to truly see something as if it were your first time.
So I drew plants an people, birds and trees, preoccupied with the idea that those are the things that grow. I experimented with drawing small plants quite large, with the idea that when drawn in that way, it could also be a big tree. But to me – or at least my human side – it looked like a big drawing of a small plant.
Than I got the idea to take some skepticism into the assignment. Skepticism says that certain knowledge is impossible. For example: if we see a garbage bin we can’t be absolutely certain that it is, indeed, a garbage bin. It could also be something entirely different like a flower. That person bending forward could also be a strange kind of tree.
Here are the sketches I made:
For now we left the slightly-less-unknown territory of earth and went back into our UFO. The next step in this documentation process will be to make big drawings using the sketches we made as starting points. I think it has the potential to become a surrealistic encyclopedia about earth.
I will keep you updated
This is a time-lapse video of ‘Afscheid’ (this means something like ‘saying goodbye’, ‘farewell’) I made a year ago.
I like how the drawing turn out but I would have liked it if the swarm of butterflies looked a bit more naturally. I think they are a bit too evenly spread.
I didn’t get the first stage of the drawing on camera because my files were somehow deleted. The bad quality of the video is also because of problems with the camera. I think I drew this in a total of 35 hours including the sketch.
English version below
Het gaat zo niet langer
Kun je niet zien dat het met mij zo niet langer gaat?
Houd me vast
Ik zweef door een wereld van zielsangst
met aan houvast een gebrek
Ik zal proberen te veranderen
Ik moet proberen in een andere wereld te stappen
Maar hoe moet ik dat doen als ik die wereld niet kan zien?
Ik ben zo bang dat ik het liever niet zo proberen
Maar ik heb geen keus
Dus ik loop naar de rand van deze wereld
en stap eroverheen
me in het diepe stortend
Niemand houd met vast
en toch val ik niet
Hoewel deze wereld nieuw is en onvertrouwd
weet ik dat ik het gehaald heb
En dat vanaf nu alles beter kan worden.
I am not okay
Can’t you see I’m not okay?
I am lost
I float through a world of agony
without any grip
I must change
I must leave this world I am in now
and enter a new one
But how can I enter a world I cannot see?
I am so afraid I’d rather not try
But I do not have a choice
So I walk over to the edge of this world
and step over it
into seemingly endless depths
Nobody holds me
yet I don’t fall
and although this world is new and unfamiliar
I know I’ve made it
And everything can now change for the better.
I heard frightening stories about students who lost over 26 bikes because they had stalled them at train stations. People who had chained their bikes to poles with several of the best locks they could find and return only to find them stripped of the wheels, lights, saddle and cranks. I heard stories about students that had gotten so frustrated with their bikes being stolen that they decided to steal bikes themselves.
And then there was me, first-time student and never before did I frequently travel with public transportation. So there I was, on the Friday of the first week of university, ready to travel back to my parents by train. My student room is not very far from the train station, about 1.5 kilometres. A distance that can very well be walked if it wasn’t for the luggage I was planning on taking back with me when I would travel back to Enschede at the end of the weekend. The amount of stuff I had to take with me for the fist week had learned me that 1.5 kilometres can feel like 15 when you aren’t used to walking with two backpacks filled with stuff.
So going by bike seemed like a way better option. A little frightened of the possibility that I wouldn’t find anything when I came back I cycled to the train station and chained my bike to a pole. I got on the train and when it left I realised that I had forgotten my click-on lights. Ah well, I’d worry about that after the weekend.
The whole weekend I didn’t think of my bike but when I came back my heart skipped a beat when I didn’t see it and there was another bike standing in the place where I had left mine. But when I looked closer I saw that it was in fact my bike and even my lights were still there. Bus also I suddenly had saddlebags. There was no one around and no bikes stalled directly next to mine, so I decided to tie them to my bike and take them with me.
Most often we loose something when we leave our bikes at public places, but this time I got something extra.
English version below
Over verlaten zeeën van onbevangenheid loopt hij
Geroepen door schreeuwende woorden kijkt hij
Kijkt. En ziet
Hij observeert, luistert
Afgeschrikt door verslindende meningen vlucht hij
Stopt. En draait om.
Terug naar de wereld van onbevangenheid keert hij
English version, roughly translated
Over abandoned seas of impartiality he walks
Called by screaming words he looks
Looks. Ands sees.
He observes, listens
Daunted by devouring opinions he flees
stops. And turns around.
Back to the world of innocence he returns
This text was originally written in Dutch, Dutch version below.
When we meet you will first ask me for my name.
I will tell you that I am called Inge van der Wal en than I will ask for yours.
You will also tell your name.
This exchange of names will be followed by an exchange of more facts.
I will tell you that I live in Enschede but come from Kollumerzwaag.
I will reply to your questioning look with ‘that’s in Frisia’, whereafter I will hope that you won’t ask me to say something in Frisian.
Maybe we will than ask each other for our hobbies.
I will tell you about my love for everything art related and I will probably tell something about my horses.
We won’t mention all the small and bigger things that make us happy.
For that, we don’t know each other well enough.
Maybe, over time, we become close friends and outgrow the stage of superficiality, realizing that friendship is more than hobbies and shared interests.
That will challenge us to get to know the person that is behind the masks that each of us puts on daily.
I would like to get to know you,
and I challenge you to really get to know me.
Inge van der Wal
Beste toekomstige vriend,
Als wij elkaar ontmoeten zul je me allereerst vragen naar mijn naam.
Ik zal je vertellen dat ik Inge het en daarna zal ik de jouwe vragen.
Ook jij zult je naam vertellen.
Deze uitwisseling van namen zal gevolgd worden door een uitwisseling van meer feitjes.
Ik zal je vertellen dat ik 19 jaar oud ben en dat ik in Enschede woon, maar uit Kollumerzwaag kom.
Je vragende blik zal ik beantwoorden met ‘dat ligt in Friesland’, waarna ik zal hopen dat je me niet zult vragen om iets in het Fries te zeggen.
Misschien vragen we elkaar dan naar onze hobbies.
Ik zal je vertellen over mijn liefde voor alles wat met kunst te maken heeft en ook vertel ik je waarschijnlijk iets over mijn paarden.
Over alle kleine en grotere dingen die ons gelukkig maken zullen we het niet hebben.
Daarvoor kennen we elkaar te kort.
Misschien worden we in de loop van de tijd goede vrienden en ontgroeien we het stadium van oppervlakkigheid, realiserend dat vriendschap meer is dan hobbies en gedeelde interesses.
Dat zal ons uitdagen om de persoon te leren kennen die schuilgaat achter de maskers die we dagelijks opzetten.
Ik zou je graag leren kennen,
en daag je uit om mij echt te leren kennen
Inge van der Wal
A little more than a week ago art school started. After a small warm up we continued with an exposition for which every new first year student had made an artwork.
The assignment was: make an object that emits light by itself.
I made an object with a pun using the word light: in Dutch ‘licht’ means light and ‘ligt’ (licht with a g) means lying down. I made a bucket called ‘lichtpotje’; light pot. But instead of a light, there is a person – made of electricity wire – lying down.
So far we did some model drawing, and also this week and next week there are introductions in the different ateliers. In these introductions we learn things like how to use the machines, so we can work with them later. It’s weird for me to be doing art the whole day and not think: actually I should be doing something else, like learning physics. I like it very much, haha.
Here are some of the model drawings I made. It was my first time model drawing and I loved it. It’s a nice way to experiment with how to look at something and translate that to a drawing.
Introduction in the graphic atelier, etching with cardboard:
Introduction to screen printing. Assignment: make a bird in a cage.
I live, but I don’t truly know me
There is so much more to each human being than we think
and I fear you – or I – won’t understand me
I live, but I don’t know how to express me
All my dreams, beliefs and values
fade when you ask me
I live, but fear to loose me
Because what if, when things come close,
it hurts to be me?
I live, and I hope for me
For I may learn how this earth works and get to know the people on it,
to see beyond me
I live, and I want to expand me
For I believe I am more
And I hope you’ll join me
First days, struggles they are.
Waking up from nightmares about having to spend another day at high school. Picking favorite outfits and wait for the last hours of summer to pass.
Arriving at the new university to see other newbies with nervous looks on their faces. Teachers commenting that this is the most quiet first day they ever experienced. They probably forget about the silence: it’s such a common phrase to go along with first days that teachers probably use it every year.
And then those strange first social talks. A hesitant question asked, answered and followed by nervous silence. A cycle repeated until the silence persists or it is broken by the next activity.
Also frequently seen: small disappointment when one is asked for their name three, four, five times that day; and the other persons shame because they can’t remember it.
When the day end, cycling back to parent’s homes and student rooms, we realize that – in-between the akward moments – we had a great day.