Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Pick: Aafke Ytsma

Sachertorte, 2010, Oil on Canvas, 64.5 x 50 cm
Dinosaur, 2010, Oil on Canvas, 64 x 50 cm
Untitled, 2012, Watercolor on Paper, 38 x 28 cm
Untitled, 2012, Watercolor on Paper, 38 x 28 cm
Untitled, 2009, Oil on Panel, 35 x 26 cm

Untitled, 2009, Oil on Paper, 35 x 26 cm

Caravan, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 50 x 38 cm

Aafke Ytsma is a fantastic, emerging painter residing in the Netherlands.  We got in touch a few months ago, she stumbled across my blog and I was immediately taken with her work.  

I decided instead of giving you my two cents on her work and why I like it, it would be interesting to hear directly from her.  She graciously answered a few questions I sent over that were prompted by her work.  Enjoy!

Your works all seem related but the subject matter varies greatly.  What provides the original spark for creating a work?I think one of the reasons my work is diverse is because of my work process which seems roughly divided in two periods: working and observing. A period of painting ends when my questions and doubts about what I’m doing get the overhand. It doesn’t seem right anymore and I practically stop painting. Then I mostly just look and try to grasp what I’ve done and why I’m no longer content with it. Bur for things to come together again I have to actually see something. By creating certain circumstances I try to have some control but I don’t think I have much if any. It can be really trying. But then I see something, a person standing in a certain way, an object that looks strange, or the branches of a tree reaching into the sky. I get excited and paint. And this is I think what the paintings have in common. The original spark of witnessing something and attempting to catch it in paint. 

What are you currently working on and thinking about in the studio?At the moment I’m working outside if the weather permits it. I take my watercolours and cycle around the countryside until something hits me. When I finish painting I bring the things I’ve done back to my studio. I pin them on the wall and move them around. And study them while sitting in my comfy chair near the heater, warming-up again after working in the cold.

What artists are important to you and your work?It’s not so much artists that are important to me, rather it’s paintings. I don’t really have a steady selection, so many good things have been made. Matisse's goldfish in the Pompidou for example, I think its marvellous. But I also very much want to go to Italy to see the frescos by Fra Angelico and Giotto. They are important to me but it’s not in the sense of ‘using’ them, it’s rather that they give me a believe in painting.

Is there anything you can share about what it is like living in the Netherlands as a young painter?The Netherlands has a large and diverse art community and for a part it’s funded by the government. A year ago drastic cuts forced the art world to tighten its belt. Funds like a small monthly fee for young artist while starting up their ‘business’ was cut. There has been a lot of debate since on the importance of art and how the art world, having to think more commercial now, can stay artistically independent. So it’s a changing climate, and that’s not a bad time or place for a young artist I think. It takes time to find your way, but I guess that’s universal.


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