TODAY WE ARE TALKING WITH ARTIST CHRISSY BEX-KLOMP.
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What do you define yourself as?
As an artist in its broadest sense. In the beginning I had a hard time saying it because it didn't feel that way to me, it felt as if I was running ahead of myself. But I think that overtime I earned my stripes as an artist.
Why did you decide to make art?
As a little kid I was always drawing and making art, my mom also had an art studio at our house that also stimulated to draw even more. She taught art courses for children and things like that. I started working on my mother's worksheets for these art courses and when I was 15 or 16 I really wanted to go to an art academy. But it was not allowed at home, as I became older I'd have to put the whole idea out of my mind. I forgot to draw and paint in a phase because there was so much going on in my life. 7 years ago I just started making art again, and I started just with some pencils. At that time I was almost done with my history teacher education, and after that I didn't know what to do, should I be doing a master in history or proceed my minor in mathematics? But I realized that both of these options were not what I wanted. I really wanted to pursue my dream and that was going to an art academy. In the Netherlands it was not possible to do an art academy because I already had a history bachelor. I also wanted an education that was 'classical' in the sense of learning all things from step one. That's when I found the art academy in Maasmechelen , and that's were I found my place in the classical drawing department. Also making art helped me when I got sick, it keeps me strong.
What are you currently working on?
I'm a tattoo apprentice at Back to Black ink (https://www.instagram.com/backtoblackink/) so at the moment I am very busy learning how to tattoo I am very busy making flash sheets. Three sheets with different themes, making a flash sheet is a challenge of its own. With a tattoo you have to pay close attention to certain things you have to be able to capture things in their essence, for example shadow and placement of the tattoo, or would people like it enough to keep it on themselves for the rest of their lives. I sometimes get insecure about it, I can find something nice, but with tattooing I really need to take the opinion of the costumer to heart. For my own work I am now making a large acrylic canvas with a large skull and butterfly on it, I'm really challenging myself with making larger pieces.
Which themes are important in your work?
I like to work with symbolic symbols. Like a skull for example, it comes back very much in my work and is very much a symbol of purity, there are no emotions behind it. A skull is very honest and does not lie and people always have a layer over themselves and people lie. And a skull doesn't lie. And I like that about it, it's different every time, I can continue to paint and draw them and never get bored. I also draw butterflies a lot because they are symbolic to me because they are so fragile, but at the same time they are very strong. For example, they can lose wings but still continue they also transform into . I'd say I have a certain connection with butterflies.
Don't people find your work intimidating?
I can imagine that people associate skulls with dark things such as death.
Yes in the beginning I found it difficult. But I realize that what I make is not for everyone it is very personal to me and you either like it or you don't like it. I very much show the beauty of something and, for example, not show the decaying parts of death and that I make a combination of the beauty of death. And to show the beauty and the power. I understand that sometimes it is confronting and not everyone can handle it. Not all art is for everyone.
You are now also a tattoo apprentice, how did your interest in tattooing arise?
It has always been there, but it was just like drawing. I was then told I am not allowed to do this, and during my studies I was told what I had to do. When I fell ill, I came closer to myself and I realized that I always wanted this. It is a dream that I always wanted but never allowed myself to fulfill. And I think that it is very exciting
How do you know what you are going to make?
Depends on what I am going to make, sometimes I make something because I have an idea and I like it. I think about it for a few days, I don't like sketching but I often look for reference points and usually I just start. Usually if one thing is wrong then I have to stop. For more in-depth works, they often deal with my traumas and how I am going to process them and then I try to symbolize it. I then take photos of myself, and make reference photos of myself that I use. Halfway through a work I usually get stuck, how did I come up with this? I doubt my own abilities, but I do challenge myself and afterwards I think, oh dear. For example a painting in which I am going to work large and suddenly with watercolor and hands, and I usually bite into it and just keep going to finish it eventually.
Where do you prefer to work and what are your favorite materials to use?
I have my own art studio where it feels really good to create, it just has the right vibe. I work with everything basically, but I do prefer watercolor, but I have phases in which I work more with one material and then the other. I also experiment with all kinds of materials. I also use a lot of gold leaf, it really has its own will and really shows its beauty. I work very precisely, I work in great detail so much even that I sometimes drive myself crazy, but I also often let materials come into it that then go their own way, such as gold leaf for example. Controlled losing control, I would go crazy if I would only work with details continuously or just have to let everything go its own way.
Where do you find the boundary between what is art and what isn't art?
It is of course super personal, but the difference between an artist and a hobbyist, is a thing that I can very much see at the art academy. People take it way more seriously there. And I really see it when people cannot live without art, and therefore cannot breathe without creating. You see and notice that difference.
What is the future perspective of your own work?
I want to make my 'own' work even more, I want to work bigger.
Note that if I have a psychological dip that also affects my art, but I want to go even further, I have already developed so much and am curious where it will go in the future.