“My work is about making the invisible visible; traveling to the essence of things and translating it. My paintings don´t function as the illustration of an idea, they are the idea in itself.“
When and where were you born?
Where do you currently live and work?
How long have you been practicing your craft?
In the ’80s I studied painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (K.A.S.K.) and received an art teacher degree at the St. Lucas Institute. For many years I taught at the Municipal Academy of Visual Arts in Ghent and I was a decorator for house music theme parties at “La Démence”, a renowned nightclub in Brussels. I opted to develop and grow at my own pace and exhibited my work frequently under complete autonomy. My work has been added to private collections in Germany, Belgium, Iceland, Spain, South-Africa and New York. Currently I live and work in Lanzarote on the Canary Islands in Spain and teach art at the British School.
What inspires you?
On my daily dog walks I encounter driftwood. Living a secluded life on a volcanic rock with hardly any trees one gets excited and inspired by it! I sketch the branches and also find myself eye to eye with many mysterious creatures. It´s very inspiring to give a second life to dead branches. Nature tells us a lot of stories and is an infinite source of inspiration.
How would you describe your style
My work is about making the invisible visible; traveling to the essence of things and translating it. My paintings don´t function as the illustration of an idea, they are the idea in itself. It doesn´t make sense to talk about the art of painting, because then you are using another medium: “language”. In talking about painting you move it away from the essence and change it into something else. For me it is important to give the observer space to fill in their own reality. I don´t like artwork that tells me exactly what and how I have to experience it. Art needs space and freedom and I hope my work provides that to the observer.
What has been a defining moment in your career?
Aging, traveling the seas of life and finding that good, red road that truly is mine. Also being an art teacher I have had the opportunity to constantly interact with young people; that often broadens my perspective and also creates the economical opportunity to develop my personal work independently. In those moments, I feel strong and do not seek anyone´s approval.
What are your future plans?
In addition to participating in local art shows here on Lanzarote, I am planning to finally throw myself in front of the lions! I never felt ready to engage with the art world because I felt it had everything to do with commercializing and nothing to do with the integrity of the artist. Now I feel confident that things have changed in the 21st century and it feels comfortable to show my work to all kinds of audiences and interact with them. I truly like the universal character the internet is offering, so artwork becomes accessible for a broader public. It is quite exciting and adventurous as each day there is a new encounter that offers possibilities.
Can you leave us with some parting words or advice?
Making art is not a choice, it is something you´re born with. Don´t let other people tell you what to do. Just stay authentic to your true core. Don´t rush yourself, good things take time. Allow yourself a lot of failures; focus on the process and not on the end-product. Enjoy the adventure and enrich yourself daily!
Where can people learn more about you and purchase your work?
All images copyright Cindy Batsleer. All rights reserved.