The Life and Inspiration of Vanessa Jongebloet
27 February, 2018
Vanessa is a Dutch artist who currently has 2 main series of works – Her quixotic landscapes and her impossibly realistic resins which she refers to as her ‘Marbles’. Here she tells of her upbringing and professional development:
“Amsterdam in the seventies was a roaring place to grow up in..
The late 60 were relatively peaceful: a general feeling of freedom and hope for a better world, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in for peace at the prestigious Hilton hotel inspired the people of Amsterdam to protest non-violently: against the Vietnam war, war in general, and everything that this new generation would find suffocating such as religion, the monarchie, conservative authority, and now that they were at it, any authority.
Actions of protest could be frivolous like spreading rumors that LSD would be added to the city’s drinking water stocks the day of the crown princesses wedding, burning bras and corsets, or starting initiatives for collective and free white bikes and electric cars to improve city life.
But there were also more violent actions, and later in the seventies and eighties it would accumulate in a real city war between rebels and the authorities, battles complete with street barricades and tanks. Everything had to change, from music and art to family life and the power structures of the state.
In my experimental school there was one rule: there were no rules. Everybody could come and go as they pleased, and follow the classes they wished to follow.
We would spend hours with activities such as: smoking dried sage to see if we would get as high as with weed, (no) long improvised philosophical debates with teachers about anything, play punk music and dance, and we would even go to class. The good thing was I could choose a lot of creative stuff to do.
My parents were as children of their era loving and free spirits that would encourage the creativity of their daughter as much as they could.
So that explains well why I’ve painted as long as can remember, and the non-conformist environment maybe also explains why I did’n choose for a solid art education at an academy.
I became a professional decoration painter to start with,
and had a project I wanted to realise: building my own house in
the country side.
So together with my husband and father we built with our own
hands, a beautiful house and atelier in the French volcano region. Now there was time and space to focus on serious painting.
I started experimenting with resin as a medium, attracted by the transparency of this material and the possibility to combine painting with making forms, like sculpting. In fact, I find the rectangular shapes of canvasses sometimes limiting.
I wanted to make the organic shapes of river stones, rocks and minerals. (Editors note: Yes the below photo shows a canvas with resin applied, not a real slice of rock!)
When it comes to art, I always like to see someones personality and vision in their work, and I hope that’s what others see in mine. So knowing how to use a certain technique wasn’t enough, I wanted to work from an visualised idea, instead of creating loose images.
I did have some idea…
In the years that I worked as a decoration painter, I built a reputation with my faux marbles and the faux woods I made in the ancient canal houses of Amsterdam, maybe because I studied their structures and underlaying patterns intensely.
I was interested in the way these same structures are found in other, complete different circumstances;
To me, ‘Life’ is the primal force that moves everything in the universe, from one physical state to the next.
With the possibilities we have today to study life from the
tiniest particle to the largest scale it’s amazing to see how the same structures appear everywhere: a walnut looks like a human brain, frozen fish like marble while some stone species resemble aerial photos of the Nordic fjords.. and when we see pictures of neurons, we wonder about their delicate plant-like ‘roots’.
From microscopic details to the largest scale in space, life seems to manifest itself everywhere in similar structures. And since no matter ever disappears, all the components of which it exists are rearranged over and over, structuring and forming patterns, cycle after cycle..
The more I worked with this idea, the more questions I had..
In this light, is there even a distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ ? If a spider builds a web, we call it natural, so if big animals like ourselves create things isn’t that just part of one big system, recycling all matter that exists infinitely?
I decided to work out and paint this idea, and to start
doing it professionally, because my head was always so
full of colours and amazing structures, my life will just be
too short to work everything out even if I stop doing my marbles..
In the end, life is a mystery and all I can do is look at it and wonder… “
Tags: art, Artist Story, Dutch Artist, Landscape Painting, Resin, Vanessa Jongebloet Artist