Interview with Irene Hoff
Irene Hoff | Netherlands
For self-taught Dutch artist Irene Hoff, the world is out of balance which can be seen in the human & environmental challenges we are currently faced with. She craves a world where compassion, intuition and harmony are key elements for living. Irene’s art is filled with hope and inspiration that encourages viewers to become aware of their feelings and beliefs, making space for their true self.
Living in Asia for more than 20 years, explains some of Irene’s unique insights into our world. She speaks the language of the West whilst simultaneously sensing the subtle unspoken energies of the East. Irene currently creates and lives with her two daughters on the beautiful ‘Island of Gods’, Bali, Indonesia.
Unique to Irene’s art is the mixing and matching of different styles, which at first glance may seem controversial. In her paintings, she loves to modify the acrylic paint into thicker applications, and to use a wide variety of hand torn paper patterns and old street posters. The subtle details and harmonious color combinations make her art nothing short of enticing to the viewer.
Amongst her achievements, Irene is proud to have had one of her wildlife paintings signed by nature warrior and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She consequently donated the signed canvas to a project raising funds to protect Asia’s Wildlife (2016). More recently, she was published in ‘100 Artists of the Future’, A Collector’s Edition curated by The Contemporary Art Curator Magazine (2019).
Contemporary Art Station: Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I think I already knew since I was a child that I wanted to become an artist. I always made drawings and for me it was escaping reality and be with myself in my little bubble. However, back in those days, my parents were not supportive of this career choice. BUT a passion does not disappear and so about 12 years ago, after my second daughter was born, I started making art again. I somehow felt inspired to portrait my kids in a painting, using all kinds of elements that where symbolic to their life, being born and raised in Asia, but having Dutch roots. That was my first ‘grown up’ piece.
CAS: What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece?
Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?I more or less develop the idea before starting to paint the actual canvas. Its is only after the finished piece that I get to understand what I am/it is trying to communicate. When I start, I do not really know what it is about, I just feel drawn to a certain object or concept and simply follow that flow.
CAS: What do you love most about your creative process?
What I love best is that the outcome is a surprise to me as well. Often you create the good stuff by making a ‘mistake’, which can open a door to a new techniques or creation that I fully embrace. Of course, sometimes it does not have the result you’re aiming for which is part of the artist journey as well. The creative process is so important because you can’t really control it, it is a flow that takes you instead of the other way around.
CAS: What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?
I think it’s a role that cannot always be identified as a direct result, but it is more a vibe buzzing around humanity, that hopefully wakes people up, have them become more aware, raising their vibration. In the end it is all about transferring energy and I think art plays a major part this.
CAS: Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.
I love Lita Cabellut her work, it is so powerful, especially the women she portraits. Next to that, I am very inspired by the words of Rupi Kaur and Nayyirah Waheed, both women write so beautifully, it touches me deep in my soul.
CAS: What is the best advice you received as an artist?
I do not really recall having received any advice in my artist career that resonated with me. Most people found it a challenging choice, which I turned into a positive thing by keep going.
CAS: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
I think only 2 years back that I really got to understand what it was I was doing and started to find the voice behind it. For me the process is all about becoming comfortable and exiting about your own work and your own journey. You need to feed off that energy, being your own biggest fan, and the rest follows. People resonate with where you are in life and that what you stand for, not an easy job in an artist career!
CAS: What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own?
To embrace your own talent and weirdness that make you who you are. That is the talent that you need to bring to the table, because that makes who you are. Listen to your inner voice that guides you and do not let yourself be fooled by other people’s opinions unless they resonate with you. Allow time to make it happen.
Thank you Irene!