LOIS VAN BAARLE TALK TO US ABOUT HER POWERFUL AND SURREAL DIGITAL PAINTINGS AND ANIMATION FILMS

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You’ve built quite the online reputation which seems natural with your digital based works, but can you tell us a bit about how its evolved and your journey until now? 

I always liked sharing my art online, something I started doing when I was 15. I've been slowly building up a following ever since then. It really started to grow when I joined Deviantart, which was a social network just for art and other artists. I met a lot of fellow artists there and made a lot of friends. I still use my deviantart account, and also use Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr at the moment. I love finding new ways to connect with other artists and with my own followers!

 

I must say your personal series ‘Dawn’ is my favourite, i really enjoy the colour palette and mystical fantasy feel to it. You often work with either a muted soft whimsical palette or vibrant buoyant colours, with the theme of fantasy appearing regularly in your work. What are the factors you consider before embarking on a series, and what are the concept you prefer to explore within your pieces?

My focus as an artist is on capturing emotion and feeling. I like exploring ways to convey the sense of peace and calm that I can get from nature and those still, quiet moments when the sun has just come up, or has just set. I approach my concepts intuitively, just drawing what feels good to me at that moment. I feel like this method really helps me convey the emotions that resonate with me at that point in my life.

 

You’ve developed quite distinctive style, which incorporates no doubt influences from Japanese animation and comic drawing. Can you tell us the 3 biggest influences on your current practise, and if you could showcase one series of your work to your biggest influencer which one would it be and why?

My 3 biggest influences at this moment are Andrew Hem, John Watkiss and Hoooook. Honestly I would be terrified to show my work to any one of these artists! I really look up to them. I would love Andrew Hem's opinion on the Dawn series, and get his advice on how to portray nature in such a surreal yet familiar way.

 

The practise you’ve developed is almost entirely digital, can you take us through your process from initial concept to finalised work?

I usually rush through the sketching and rough color phase, and spend most of the time just polishing my work and painting it to a level of detail that I consider finished. I usually do a quick rough sketch in light grey, quickly throw on some colors and do some explorations, and then start working in the details. Lately I try to spend a little more time on the sketching phase, and build up the colors a little more carefully than I used to, to save time when painting.

 

You also work with animation films, one of which ‘Trichrome Blue’ won the HKU award for innovation in your graduation year and another ‘Tanzanian Love Story’ was showcased at the Bagamoyo Arts Festival, what are the noticeable differences for you in creating animations to your digital artworks? Was it something that was a natural transition into for you?

It's a whole different process, and very complex compared to creating digital art. It takes a lot more planning and time to create an animation. I love animating but it's so extremely time consuming, and clients mostly approach me to create concept art, so I've started to lean more and more towards illustrating and drawing in the last years. At the same time, there are some overlaps - both processes involve a lot of drawing and telling a story. Illustrating just yields faster results which is why I prefer it most of the time!

 

Your also do a lot of commercial work, how do you find the creative limitations when working for someone else and which has been the most enjoyable project you’ve undertaken to date? 

I really enjoy getting some limitations on my client work, because it gives structure and clarity to the work. I love doing my own thing too, but tend to get chaotic and nervous after too many weeks of only working on my own projects. I really need to switch between clilent work and personal work to get the best out of both worlds - by the time the client work starts to feel more limiting, I'm ready to do some digital paintings of my own! 

 

SEE MORE OF LOIS VAN BAARLES WORK AT www.loish.net

INTERVIEW by HANNAH SMITH

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