AS A PART OF 3 DAYS OF DESIGN, THE AUDO UNVEILS A NEW EXHIBITION WITH DUTCH ARTIST JULIE HAVERKAMP, TITLED “IN-BETWEEN MOMENTS”. THE COLLABORATIVE COLLECTION DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM THE PASSAGE OF TIME, DREAMING ABOUT THE FAR AWAY AND SEARCHING FOR THE SPACE IN BETWEEN. OUR CONVERSATION WITH JULIE TOUCHES ON HER PROCESS AND PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE COLLECTION.
THE AUDO: COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW YOU DISCOVERED YOUR WAY INTO ART?
Julie Haverkamp: It all started when I was very little - I was always drawing as I was growing up in a creative family, with both grandparents being architects.
When I started my studies at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, I was under a lot of stress and pressure to succeed with my projects, which made drawing a way to become calm again. It became my go-to tool to ensure I survived. In my third year, I started a minor at an Art academy ArtEZ, in Zwolle, where a whole new world opened up for me. I learned some new techniques and started painting full series of portraits. I used more colour and texture, which allowed me to push myself even further. There was just one thing that hindered my creativity - perfection. I was always holding on to the perfection of the photo, to the extent that I missed the freedom of my own creativity.
There was a point when I was looking back at all the work I had made in the past, and I started thinking of ways to challenge myself. I had to find a new way of expressing my emotions, but with less perfection. I began channelling my emotions through deep colours and abstract shapes, playing a never-ending story.
Finally, painting had become the ultimate way of expressing my emotions.
TA: HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY BACKGROUND IN ARCHITECTURE IMPACT OR INSPIRE YOUR ART?
JH: Growing up in a creative family taught me a new perspective on how things are created and how ideas morph into reality. I was always involved in projects my family was working on, so I understood that everything requires hard work. Growing up in a creative family with a background in fashion and architecture showed me that I needed to work hard in order to achieve something I was dreaming about.
It also gave me an eye for detail, which comes in handy when I’m looking for inspiration or working on an art piece. I love to be inspired by architecture, interior design and fashion, therefore I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it strongly influences my art.
TA: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ARTWORKS?
JH: I think my artworks are abstract, but they also carry a lot of emotion. As I use painting to navigate my way out of the craziness, I also think the paintings can bring some sort of serenity to the observer.
TA: WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION?
JH: I love travelling to destinations, where I can discover new shapes, moods and colours. I always take pictures of crazy angles or small accents that catch my eye.
There are also some artists I simply can’t let go of. For example, Mark Rothko, who was a very emotional artist searching for the intimate space between the painting and the observer. I always found his ability to take the observer inside the painting incredibly fascinating. I also tried to translate his way of painting and his skilful use of colours into my art.
Another favourite of mine is Alexander Calder. I admire the way he played with movement and shapes, as a glance from a different perspective allows us to see something new in his works. He translated incredible playfulness into his use of primary colours and abstract shapes, and, not to forget, the overarching balance that can always be found in his work.
TA: COULD YOU LET US IN ON YOUR WORK PROCESS?
JH: I never start with a plan - my process begins by making canvas from untreated cotton. Then I start with the first layer of the background. The colour I choose depends on the particular mood or emotion I’m experiencing at that moment. Then I dilute some colours with a lot of water in order to paint very thin layers over each other. In this phase, I tend to let myself go. There will be layers upon layers of brighter colours to create depth. In the second phase, I will start layering shapes, which I create using a small art knife and tape. In this phase, I work with different kinds of mediums to add some texture to those shapes. In the last phase, I finalize the artwork by adding some accents or connecting the lines to encourage the eye to travel over the painting.
TA: COULD YOU PLEASE DESCRIBE THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE IN-BETWEEN MOMENTS?
JH: The concept behind the collection is closely linked to my thoughts during the COVID pandemic. I was thinking about the extreme lack of intimacy, travel and touch. Making the collection was a sort of a remedy for me, which allowed me to dream and reflect on myself, thinking about all the good and bad things I’ve been through. I remembered my travels to the old family house in the south of France, where we always went for summer. The Audo reminds me of that place, mostly due to the remarkably bright red colour of the facade, and the warm feeling I get when I enter it. At these kinds of places, we all experience different moments - we will always be “in-between moments”.
The collection is called “In-between Moments”, and it is inspired by the passage of time, dreaming of the far away and searching for the space in between.
I created a collection, in which the eye will travel into different layers and textures of the painting. I dare the observer to touch the artwork with their eyes.
TA: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CREATE AN ART PIECE FROM THE INITIAL IDEA TO THE FINISHED ART PIECE?
JH: It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time frame it takes to create an art piece. Sometimes I work longer on the background, and other times I will layer the shapes more. When I was working on my collection for The Audo, I was pretty content with having a work schedule. I could feel the flow of the energy, which made it easier for me to work on it for a longer time.
TA: HOW HAVE YOU APPROACHED YOUR WORK DURING CORONA, AND HOW HAS THIS TIME OF ISOLATION AND REFLECTION IMPACTED YOU?
JH: I think for a lot of people it was important to focus on their creativity. We all had to find a medium through which we could express our emotions and feelings about what was happening in the world.
At the time, I had just finished the art minor I mentioned earlier, so I had time to really challenge myself. The standstill presented me with an opportunity to experiment with different materials, colours, layers and shapes. While my creativity was evolving in a positive direction, there were also difficult moments, when I felt lonely being on my own in the atelier.
I think this crazy period made me think about the things I miss. I missed real human contact, the intimacy with loved ones, the real touch of textures and materials, travelling to inspire myself, and experiencing the unexpected things that happen once in a while.
TA: HOW HAVE YOU APPROACHED YOUR WORK DURING CORONA, AND HOW HAS THIS TIME OF ISOLATION AND REFLECTION IMPACTED YOU? HOW DOES YOUR COLLECTION RELATE TO THE INTERIOR DESIGN CONCEPT OF THE AUDO?
I visited The Audo last October, on a trip with my mom, and it just felt like home. It was so warm and inviting, so this is an aspect that I came back to when creating the collection. I like to be inspired by different lines and shapes found in interior design. The collection was inspired by Menu and the mood of The Audo, and then it came together as a whole.
“In-between Moments” pieces are for sale in-store with a selection are also available online.