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Artist interview: Marjolein Labeeû

By renting out their work, our customers support the local artists and Bernice pays the artists a fee. For many of them, this little bit of extra money means that the studio’s bills can be paid.

What does the Ghent artist Marjolein Labeeû use this remuneration for?

Marjolein Labeeû graduated from the Hogeschool Sint-Lucas in Ghent in 2010 and has a Master’s degree in Free Arts. Since then, she has been working almost every day in her studio on the Lindenlei in Ghent. She explains to Bernice how she finds herself back in her works of art.

Who is Marjolein and what kind of artist are you?

Since my graduation in 2010 I rent a studio in one of the NUCLEO studios. I try to work in my studio as much as possible, every day if possible. I make both figurative and abstract work. My work is mainly about finding identity, and my past plays a very important role in my work. You need your past to come to your present and future, and with my work I try to evoke a feeling of nostalgia. I am a visual artist and I want to express with my work what I cannot express in words. I want my images to evoke a certain feeling, even if it is a negative one, the viewer should feel something, it is not ‘just’ “a beautiful work”. Maybe you can call me an emotional artist.

Who or what are you inspired by?

I really like the work of the Flemish artist Thierry De Cordier. But I mainly get my inspiration from my own memories and surroundings. I am also very attached to photographs, that nostalgic feeling comes up there as well.

How do you motivate yourself to start with a blank canvas?

When I stand in front of a blank canvas, I already have an image in mind, that image or that emotion is already in my head. I write everything down in a book and let the idea rest for a while. Every now and then, I have a moment with less inspiration; going back to that basic concept gives clarity.

How long does it take you to complete a work of art?

It differs for every piece. It easily takes me two to three weeks for a painting, but sometimes a work is finished in 1 day. I often let my idea rest and start when the time is right. It can also happen that I change something about a work after a long interval.

Do you get by on your art alone or do you have another job on the side?

I cannot yet live purely as an artist, I am still obliged to have another income in addition to my art. Those who can are really lucky.

How did you first come into contact with an art rental?

In 2016 art rental ‘Bernice’ discovered my website through NUCLEO and they found my work interesting. As soon as I knew that my artworks would remain my property during rental, I did not hesitate. I find it practical that some of my older works left the studio, which means that I free up more space. It’s nice that I earn something from it every now and then. And their website allows many people to see my works.

What do you do with the compensation in the event of a rental or sale?

The fee I receive, I invest in my studio and pay for my paint, canvasses and brushes. But the most important thing is the time I buy myself with it. The time that I can paint, think, read, … It’s all part of the creative process in my studio.

What would you like to achieve in the art world?

I would like to make a living from my art, and only to be able to do that.

What do you consider to be the most important qualities for an artist?

An artist should make art because it is his or her passion. Making art is a need for an artist. You have to do it with all your heart.

Do you have any good advise for a young artist?

Keep working and never give up.