Five years ago, in my junior year studying Game Design at The College of Amsterdam, Netherlands, I had the opportunity to play American football at Reedley College in California. I did not want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and packed my bags. After my first year, I reached the conclusion that football was not the right career for me and I discovered ceramics. My first ceramics course opened my eyes and made me determined to become an artist.
My work is a celebration of love and cross-cultural identity through ornamentation and figuration. My work consists of a range of abstracted or stylized fragments that celebrate identity through sculptural form. Formally, I am interested in abstract organic shapes, but at the same time, I have a love for the tight forms of Dutch classical architecture that I grew up in. I believe that glazed surfaces have something dreamy about them as they create an extra layer that is changeable and feels impermanent.
Material transformation of malleable clay plays a big role in my practice. In my studio, I enjoy quickly moving around and being physically interactive. This originates from my internal athlete. The relationship of my physicality to my work and the active way of working feels familiar to me. Aesthetically, I think about personal expression and style. Created with my personal tools, strands of hair are repetitively layered and distributed over the body-like shapes becoming one volume and surface that creates direction. Seduction, beauty, tension, tactility, and ideas of identity are constant subjects that I explore.
Over the last few months, my work has become portraiture of my personal relationship. The driving qualities in my work are the story of my partner, an African American woman, and myself, a Dutchman. Generalized and stylized, I oscillate between the absolute belonging I feel when we are together and the external challenges we face in the current social-political culture that is both willing and unwilling (whether uncertain or hostile/fearful) to open to all of humankind. This work is the beginning for me and hopefully us.