Her art is colorful, bright and has a positive vibe which reflects perfectly the personality of Eefje Van den Brande. We met in her studio, on the top floor of her house. Eefje has a large studio with large windows looking over the green area in the city of Heusden -Zolder.
Since she is a new artist in the Bernice collection, we would like to know her better and asked her for an short interview.
Where did you get your training as an artist?
I got my training in two places. The first one was in Antwerp, where I was 12 years old and went to art school. Afterwards, I moved with my parents to Limburg and continued my art education at the PHL (Province College Limburg) where I started a course in painting.
Did you know for a long time that this was what you wanted to do or did you have other studies in mind when you were young?
It has always been art. But when I started at the college, I had to make a choice between painting and photography. So it became painting, although I did marry a photographer (😊).
Do you come from a family of creative people?
Yes, there are some creative relatives on my father’s side. I have a cousin at the academy and an uncle who will exhibit his sculptures in September. But especially my father, who is a woodworker. I owe my drawing skills to him.
What do you find most difficult about being an artist?
Since 2020, I have been asking myself what it is to be an artist. Am I self-confident enough for this? What do others think of my work? It is a kind of process you have to go through to become more confident in your role as an artist.
At the moment, I am still looking for a way to participate more in group exhibitions. How to get my work under the attention of curators and galleries who put these exhibitions together, that is what I am working on at the moment.
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Where do you find information on these practical matters for the artist?
Kunstwerkt organises the workshop “Parcours”. I also followed a number of workshops via an English community on Facebook. Finally, I have been guided by Geoffrey De Beer, curator, artist and co-owner of Base Alpha gallery in Antwerp. This helped me a lot.
Can you live from selling your works alone or do you have another job?
I can’t live from selling my works alone yet. I also teach both adults and children at the art academy. So teaching is my main income.
Who inspired you?
Some artists from the last century like Vincent van Gogh. He inspires me very much, not only his brushstrokes and use of colour but also the pain he suffered because he was not recognised as an artist, except by his brother. I find Van Gogh’s perseverance admirable.
Frida Kahlo too because she painted her pain. The dynamism in her paintings – something I only recently discovered – in the form of the painted ribbons, is something I also use in my work. Suddenly I saw that link: that schwung, the organic in her work, the use of colour and the tendency I sometimes have to paint self-portraits – something Kahlo did a lot of.
Another artist who fascinates me greatly is Modigliani. His dreamy effects, the mythical and mystical element in his works, the distortion of his figures, I find very interesting.
Do you have any tips for starting artists?
Keep believing in yourself. Follow your feelings. Don’t get distracted too much by what other people say. Just do what you feel best about.
Eefje’s artworks are available for rent, sale and lease. You can check them out here.
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