Irene Hoff - Transforming Vulnerability Into Strength
Genesis had the pleasure of meeting Irene Hoff, a Dutch national living in the tropical setting of Bali, Indonesia. She is an artist working with mixed media to create layers on a canvas, a symbolic representation of scratching away at a surface and revealing a truth. Irene aims to change "vulnerability into strength" through her work. One series focuses on women and how society labels them, while another series explores the theme of animals by making them look a little larger than life.
More on Irene and her work in the interview below:
Could you tell us about your greatest achievements? Your best exhibition / best commission / a piece you are most proud of?
I worked with Luna2 Studiotel in Seminyak (Bali) and was involved from the start of the construction. That gave me a chance to really get engaged with the owner/designer of the hotel and allowed my art to grow into the house style of this amazing boutique hotel. I loved working in a team and doing this project together with creative minds.
In my series Animal Extinction, I try to be the voice of the animals in place: the orang-utan, the whale, the elephant. I had the honour to use the amazing photos of Paul Hilton, a well-known photojournalist. One of my paintings was signed by nature warrior and activist Leonardo di Caprio, and was part of an auction to raise money to save wild life in Asia. I got a lot of energy out of the cooperation with parallel-minded people like Paul and Leonardo. Currently, I have been asked to do the master pieces of a newly to opened funky hair salon in NY, so looking forward to add this to my achievements and experiences.
Your mixed media artworks are beautiful, what was your inspiration to getting started?
It was a painting with my first born, Noa, as the centre piece. I placed her in a world that I wished for her with all kinds of cheerful elements and illustrations and bright playful colours.
Why do you choose to work in this medium?
I use acrylic and printed coated paper and also thicker layers of paint (which is mixed with glue). I like to create more depth in art.
What themes do you like exploring the most and why?
The choice for a subject is not really calculated but more based on feeling, emotions and intuition. And probably also based on my own real-time life experiences, questions and challenges. But if you overlook my work its women and animals that you will discover as common subjects. I try to give woman a voice based on strength. I try to be the accelerator for transforming vulnerability into strength. By visualizing the means, thoughts and insights that can have this accelerating effect.
In my collection World of Beast, I add on cheerful, fun and sometimes symbolic elements in a way that makes the animals bigger, more visible. They come out of the frame each time you pass by to interact with you. They make you stop and think or laugh or wink or cry or hope. Each time you look at them they’ve got a new message for you - I try to be the voice of the animals in place.
In your series "World of Weast", your art has a recurring theme of female figures and western architecture, why so?
I mix elements from different worlds and countries and turn them into one. If you look at them you think it is kind of one world but if you look closely you can see elements come from different places. I feel the world is one, we are all one and we should act, think and work accordingly.
I like that you include signage in your artwork. I feel like you're trying to say something about being directed in life. What was your thinking here?
It reflects peoples opinions, sending you to the left and sending you right. In the end you have to find the way that fits with who you are, doesn't matter what other people think or feel, that is their own, not yours to handle.
What is your take on contemporary art? Is there someone you truly admire right now?
I do not really focus on other artist but the person who initially inspired me is also a Dutch artist called George Heidweiller. Immediately I felt that I had to take my creativity to the next level.
As an artist, what matters most, the journey or the destination?
I think in general it should be the journey, but he we all wants some nice results that make us feel alive and passionate.
For the budding artists out there, what words of wisdom would you give them?
Follow your own path, let your own creativity develop and dare to dream big. In the end the only real power you have is the challenge to dream big, out of the box and to pull these dreams into your reality.
Want to see more or get in contact with Irene, visit her socials and website here:
Facebook: Art Irene Hoff