I was born in the rural village of Hansbeke, where I fluttered through my childhood while drawing, but I lost my heart to Ghent, when I went to study fine art at LUCA School of Arts. I currently live more in Ireland than in Belgium, but I remain present in both countries. I could just choose, but I prefer not to. Commuting between Belgium and Ireland, art and travel, philosophising and creating, arriving and departing again, dreams and harsh reality, a head filled with ideas and a body full of energy, all of this and much more in my life is dedicated to the love of art. Why should it be ‘or’ ‘or’ when it could also be ‘and’ ‘and’? I live and breathe art, anytime, always and everywhere.
So LUCA School of Arts, where I obtained my MA in Fine Art after four intense years. My passion for drawing grew bigger by the day, and I discovered that painting is also my thing. The multitude of possibilities in college was overwhelming, the perspective on what art can be was too limited. With too many conflicting ideas and not knowing how to commence a life as an artist, I decided to continue studying. I enrolled in a post MA in Cultural Policy & Art Management at the University Antwerp Management School. Upon completion, I still didn’t see the light. To make art? How? What? To work in the art sector? But when to make art then? The willpower was there, but I lacked the how to. After a brief detour in the HR sector, I knew. I could only dedicate my life to art. I handed in my resignation, packed my life into cardboard boxes and moved to Ireland without ever saying goodbye to Ghent entirely. So I have been flying between both for almost eight years now, while taking regular detours: backpacking in Mexico, a road trip in the USA, city trips to London, Vienna, New York and travels to all corners of Europe. I do not have a ‘seated bum’, as people in Ghent might put it at times. I was brought up with the travel bug and can’t seem to shake it. I am quite happy with that, though my parents underestimated the impact.
My many wanderings, travels and adventures are a constant inspiration for my art. Artist residencies have also proved to be a real boost for my creative brain. I always have my camera with me and my ever growing massive database of images plays an important role in making work. I start from the concept of the world in transition with its many in-between spaces and changing identities: the world in flux, the fluidity and transience of life and the ever-changing world view that goes hand in hand with this process. My work always starts from a personal experience, combined with my fascination for the absurdity of the human race. This results in series of drawings, paintings and prints which are regularly exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, both in Belgium and in Ireland. My story is only a starting point, which I do not seek to illustrate. My work rather and above all wants to reflect on the world we live in, to question the little and the big things in life.
Despite the busyness, I set up NeXus Arts, together with my partner who is also an artist. Nexus Arts is an independent curatorial duo, respectively Declan Kelly and myself, that initiates and develops contemporary art projects since 2009, either independently or in association with cultural institutions in both a national and international context. On site, off site or build your own site, everything is possible. Our starting point is always a creative idea that develops into a project. Our own creative input is thus of equal importance to that of the artists we work with. So we build the projects together with the artists. Within this concept a giant mural came about, we organised a twelve-hour sleep concert, several artists created bespoke work for an old church and we used empty premises as pop-up exhibition spaces. And so, from various angles we were pigeonholed as an artist/curator. Or is it a curator/ artist? Fascinating to find out what this rather new term can and will mean and whether this type of pigeonholed thinking is a good idea?
That I love traveling, is pretty clear. During my wanderings I seek out both nature and culture. Nature’s infinity deflates my head of dark thoughts and fills it with visual inspiration. The bustling culture of the city makes my heart sing, my head explode with ideas and gives the optimist in me a boost. I’m a social animal. I love people, I find them supremely fascinating and I am always curious about why they do what they do. You might find me watching the world go by and observing people while I fantasize about who, what and why they are. I also have a passion for interior design (I’m sneakily having an itch for a little project in the near future), from Art Deco to Scandinavian design. I am already wearing my culinary cap since my student worker existence and I was born a bookworm. I am slightly addicted to buying dresses and secretly dream of a walk-in wardrobe. During the weekend, you can spot me in theatre houses, concert halls, cocktail bars and dark pubs, gallery hopping in Dublin or in Ghent, sunbathing in Spain with friends or walking the endless Irish beaches. Very rarely, I simply don’t leave my couch, glued to my Kindle and with a hot chocolate, while ignoring the rain.
Blogging I will do primarily about the nomadic existence as an artist / curator and what kind of things I encounter on the way. I will talk about how this affects my artistic practice and in turn determines our (art) world. Finally, I will also write about the importance of art in everyday life. It lurks around the corner and turns up where you least expect it. Is it art with a capital ‘A’ or a lower case ‘a’? You will learn about all of this in my next blog posts. Stay tuned!