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Donna's blog

  • midnightinamsterda

Your work has a lot of textures, can you tell us more about your technique?

All my paintings start with the accumulation of recycled materials, superimposed and glued to the canvas. These materials have a history and with them I create layers of memories. They form a kind of skin on the canvas made of colored and rough strata. Like us, their appearance, their personality, is the result of a lived past. They are the consequence of their own history. When this abstract work of memory is completed, I move on to the figurative phase of the work.

I am inspired by stories like "Alice in Wonderland" or "20,000 leagues under the sea". I use these uprooted characters, lost in unknown and destabilizing worlds, and I confront them with contemporary issues, such as global warming or women's rights. These characters represent our doubts, our mistakes but also the courage we show in the face of adversity. This quest for truth and support for what seems right to me is the primary motivation for my pictorial work. In a world where the media have to fight to prove themselves trustworthy, I like to think that art could help restore truth and balance in thoughts by inviting contemplation and reflection.

How did you come up with the idea of painting your "Home" Series?

Since I moved here in Amsterdam, I wanted to paint the traditional dutch houses, but I couldn’t find the right angle, I mean, my personal point of view on the subject. During the confinement, suddenly we were all asked to stay home, in our dutch houses. Our universe shrank so fast, the limits were so clear, it was our doorsteps. We had to find ways to do so many new things from inside our homes: work, teach our kids, entertain them, clean our groceries, enjoy happy hours on zoom and meet with family members on video conferences. It was surreal, in this series, I was inspired by my discussions with my friends or the news. This series keeps on developing with the current events.

Do you work on commission?

Yes, I have a studio in Amsterdam Oost where I paint and meet with my clients. When someone wants me to create a painting, we discuss the subject matter and the color scheme, I usually ask for multiple photos, especially when it’s a person’s portrait or to represent a family’s pet. It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for the painting to be done, sometimes a little more if it’s a large one or if I’m using oils instead of acrylics. I really enjoy working with people, they are very inspirational. It’s also a good feeling to know that I’m contributing in making something important to them last through time. A painting of a loved one or of a good memory is something unique, priceless. We have so many photos of everything we do nowadays, we even forget that we took them. But a painting, carefully thought and crafted, with lasting materials, will be the centerpiece of your living space for a very long time and even become a talking point with family members and visiting friends.

come say hello at @artefleur

  • midnightinamsterda

How did you start as an artist?

I am not sure if I am an artist, but I do know that I have always been occupied with imagery and graphic matters. I remember tags and slogans that I saw on the walls of my hometown Hengelo in my youth. "Doe Maar 83" under the bridge on my way to school and "VAV" with the bar of the 'A' running through both 'V's, "Kut en Lul is lekker spul" in the wooden playhouse behind the football field where I played. I drew the band logos I saw on record sleeves, tried graffiti and knew exactly which graphic belonged to which skateboarder. After high school I went to the Art Academy to become a graphic designer. I still am, but since I started Studio Teppo in 2017, I combine my graphic work with making fine arts.

At that moment I thought; if you ever want to do more with your autonomous work than filling sketchbooks, now is the time!

Can you tell us more about the style of Studio Teppo?

I work in different styles and with different media. I use ink, oil pastel and markers, but also make digital drawings and prints. It's all about the fun of creating and figuring out what works best for me. Apart from that, I work on commissions as a graphic designer and illustrator.

My art is always very direct, without a predetermined goal. Yet it often turns out to be about current themes or personal stuff. Most of it is light and positive.

What did you create for this exhibition?

This festive December month will be different from previous years. This is of course due to Covid-19 and social distancing. Many people are looking for a new form of commitment. My exhibition consists of a number of small paintings reaching out to each other and forming a large piece together.The drawing extends over the boundaries of the canvases to the other parts of the painting, not being held by their frames. When you hang one part of the painting on your wall, you are connected to someone who owns another part of it.

Come say hello at @studioteppo

  • midnightinamsterda

How did you come up with the idea for the Artist Portraits series, and how do you determine the selection?

The series started when a friend of mine, Alexander Tempel from ARTISTS NOT ARMIES, asked me to design original content for his Facebook. I wanted the works to have art as a possible subject, and I probably unconsciously let myself be inspired by John Stezaker. From the first portrait I knew it was going to be a series. Experience has shown that a certain amount of abstraction and patterns in the face can work, but there is no formula for it.

What do the works mean to you? What do they stand for?

The works deal with representation and identity, the artist as a work of art, art as representation of the maker, the group identity. But the works also seem to represent a certain religiosity. As a kind of animism the question arises whether a work of art itself can become inspired, how the maker resonates and transforms into the creation he or she leaves behind.

What characterises your work?

I am not tied to a medium, and my interests and themes often shift. Different work at the different stages of my life. Although religion seems to be a recurring theme in the last years. Probably inspired by a Catholic upbringing. But you should ask me again in 10 years time if this is the case. 

Come say hello at @robertovoorbij

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