MARTINE JOHANNA



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  1. Color, form, and composition as language, exploring adolescence, sexual judgement, inner worlds and dualism, shaping the internal landscape.

Mark

CHLOE mag
October, 2014

Tell us a little about yourself, your story and how did you start painting...



I'm a girl with a complicated mind, a constrictive v/s fantastic childhood, I'm lucky to have a warm family and gained some wonderful friends over time. The love of my life is Louis Reith, a wonderful artist and best friend and critic. We both are alternative creative entrepreneurs and have ateliers in the same building and are very close. But at the same time we're both solitary people, which works wonderfully well. I studied art & fashion, became a fashion designer, but felt restricted by office politics and hours and quit all together in 2008 to paint and draw and explore who I was without these company restrictions. I've let my safeguards go but I made it till now. I teach 2 days a week at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, my specialty is creative research and concept building. But my big love is to make my own world in image and experience.


What fascinates you about painting?



I haven’t painted that much yet, I've drawn more, so working with fluid media is a discovery on it's own. I usually make under paintings and build it up from there. I've made myself aware of the technical use of the material so I know how my work will have a literal long lifespan and color intensity. What is challenging is finding the right balance in the elements I set up within a composition. Not to overcrowd the linen and stay critical about what it is I want the focus on. Because I paint fast, I have found that oils don't suit me as well as acrylics. Also I find myself bothered by the waist that builds up working with oils, I'm very much aware of trying to not have much of a damaging influence for our environment.

What do you try to provoke or evoke in people with your work?



I'm not consciously thinking of any external factors, like a public, while working on concepts, I stay close to my own values and views of my experiences and emotional fascinations. After all that process, when a work is exposed in a gallery, people tend to fall in love with particular works. Why that happens is probably a recognition of personal emotions and fascinations we all have in common, conscious or unconscious. But I choose not to be predisposed to what others want from my work, anything forced will never carry the same strength as something that comes naturally.

Can you tell me about your influences?

My influences are anything I have experienced that left a trace, visually and mentally. Sometimes I can fall in love with movie characters, music or muses in my personal life. I love the impossible, unrealistic story lines and alternate realities. I'm fascinated by the complex nature of the psyche. This consciousness that is restricted by a grit of social and political structure, but is apparent that in all around us that this restriction is challenged every day.

When painting do you know already what you're going to sketch or you just let your imagination run free?

I do textual research after fascinations I have, watch endless amounts of documentaries while working. Moods, vague shapes and compositions will shape in my head. I think, I dream, I photograph friends, watch movies, see endless amounts of landscape and model photography, explore color, atmospheres and textures. I collage my own photos into shapes, composition and rhythms. Making sure I get light and anatomy right. From that I make sketches that become under paintings and final works. The final works, while making, get a life of their own, are never fully realistic and have impossible features, which I love. This full process can take up about 6 months.

What's the most challenging aspect of creating art for you?

To live up to my own ambitions, which never happens, I'm extremely critical of my own work. Which helps my development with each step.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere.

How do you know when a piece is finished?


When I've been able to look at a piece over several months, but that’s not always a luxury I have due to deadlines. That's why some earlier works have been changed or even painted over, over time. Nowadays I save a longer period of time so that will happen less.

Do you remember the first piece of art you created?

Yes, although it can't be considered as art yet, in 2006 I drew a little elf girl for a crush. It seems insignificant, but it was the start of my career change.

We know you've studied fashion design before. How important is fashion to you?

I've studied fashion design, back then my parents did not prefer autonomous arts because it was an insecure future, fashion was not. I didn't mind, and even discussed with the intake panel, why I wouldn't do autonomous arts, because I loved clothing as well, since it deals with dreams of alternate reality just as much as art does. Just in a different manner. Even though its generally being looked down on, and has a disputable industry behind it, in its core its an undeniable part of our identity and image, its a shield, its a connection to groups, its a language, a dance, a fantasy, comfort, seduction, deflection, protection, heritage and culture.

What's in the future for you? Any new interesting project?

Lot's of ideas and projects that I'm working on, after the solo exhibit I've been lecturing a lot and doing some commission work, but there are some great things coming in 2015. If you have the chance, visit an exhibit, because the real experience is so much better than the visual-fast-food online.

Interview by; Jac Couso