Τετάρτη, 1 Μαρτίου 2017

The portrait of an artist: Lieke van der Vorst


Lieke is an environmentally conscious artist. At 2011 she founded "Liekeland", a web page where she shares most of her illustration projects. She loves to ride her bike when it's sunny, to cook, to watch her plants grow, to listen to her friends telling stories. Her dream is a world where human and non-human beings will coexist in peace and nature. 
 
Tell us a bit about your life. When did you begin to paint, what made you decide to do illustration?

I was born in 1989 in the South of the Netherlands, in a little village called Kaatsheuvel. I lived there together with my parents and our dog. For my study at the graphic design school I moved to a bigger city and when I graduated, I did the Art Academy, where I studied Illustration. When I was a very little girl I started with drawing and making illustrations for my parents and my family. I have lots of books full with paintings and illustrations.

What kind of illustrations do you do? Would you like to share with us a unique experience you had when illustrating a book?

I have never made any book covers or books, but the illustrations I made when I was little were almost always from things I saw. So lots of old pictures from my grandparents, the wedding pictures of my parents, our garden, this kind of things. But very childish of course. Now I still illustrate the things around me, but more with a vision and a story I would love to tell.

Is there a text, a book, a fairy tale, a song you would like to illustrate but haven't yet?
Not really, but going to think about it.


What materials do you usually use?
I use ballpoint pencils, soft colored pencils and wasco.


Is there a time of the day you prefer to work? Do you always paint at home?
 
I have a little place where I live in the old center of Eindhoven, a bigger city in the south of the Netherlands. At the other side of the city, half an hour on my bike, I have a studio in an old school building. I love to work in the morning, till 7 in the evening. Then I go home and relax, cook and see my friends.


What is on your desk at this moment?
At the moment there is a big cup of tea, a glass of water (I drink a lot during the day), a sketch paper with ideas for a new project, my computer, my phone where I have a chat with a friend, my pencil and a little notebook.


Are you currently working on something?
At this moment I almost have 100.000 followers on Instagram, where I make a little give-away for, as a thank you gift. I’m also working on yoga positions illustrations for a German magazine and I am illustrating the sketches I made during my half year trip.


Is illustration a profession for you or a hobby? Is it possible to make a living through illustration in your country?
 Yes, I do this 5 or 6 days a week, for 7 years now and it’s possible to make a living from it.


Which illustrators (classical or contemporary) have inspired you?
 
Sandra Juto was a big inspiration when I first started, not only her illustrations, but also the way she showed her life through her blog. At that time Instagram didn't even exist or wasn't big as it is now. I loved following her on her blog. Every time I went in a other country I loved buying illustration books or prints from different illustrators.


Tell us a few words about “Liekeland”.
 My place on the internet where I share my illustrations.

Images form imagination. When you paint do you think that images will come alive in the imagination of children?
That would be so nice, but it’s not something I think about while illustrating.


What in an illustrator's relationship with childhood? How much do your childhood memories define your work?

I think my childhood inspired me for my illustrations, but also the way I look to the world, animals and nature. It was important for me as an illustrator, but also for me as person. The things my parents taught me, cooking on Saturday and Sunday together with my dad, going to the art shop and museums. I played piano when I was a little girl, and we often went to the beach and forest with my dog.


Are you inspired by your routine? How could you define happiness?
I get inspired by many little things, also my routine. Making breakfast in the morning and going to the supermarket, or riding my bike in the sun. The spring is coming now and it’s getting warmer, I am always so happy at this moment in the year. But also the stories my friends tell me in the evening with a cup of tea is very inspirational, or keeping my plants alive in my house, got a lot of them!


I sometimes think of your paintings as a peaceful and happy-ending version of George Orwell's “Animal Farm”. In your pictures animals very often replace humans. They drive, they cook, they have their coffee, they own pretty little shops. Is this a part of your vision for the world? In what way could we coexist in nature?

It would be so lovely if we wouldn’t dominate over animals. If we could live together with nature and animals without hurting them or putting them in cages. 
 
You obviously have a preference for bears. Why is that? What makes them special for you?
 
I have no idea to be honest, I did a little research at the art academy but couldn’t find out why I like bears so much. I think they are so great, big and they have human expressions. 

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For any information concerning Lieke's work have a look here.  

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