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Telling a story

© Angeline Maas

Angeline Maas is an artist based in the North Brabant village Budel Dorplein. She graduated in painting at the Kunstacademie Neerpelt, Belgium, but soon she realized that she needed to expand her art to other languages in order not to be worried about artistic boundaries in her way to develop her artistic expression. Her work features painting, sculpture, illustration, photography, graphic design, writing, 3D and animation. She explores people's own world and works to convert what she calls the wonder of their daily life into art. But the main role in her art is her especial view fo the world, a deeply curious spirit that needs freedom as the central axis of existence. That purpose can be also found in her work as an art teacher as well as in the community art projects in which she is involved. Just looking at some of her paintings like Moenza and the boys one instantly notices her special sensitivity to capture the pass of time and the exact atmosphere of a concrete moment. Eduardo Chillida once said that a point and a moment have no dimension, so a moment is a concrete instant and eternity at the same time. Angeline Maas works capture this concept perfectly well.

What's art for you? 

Anything that shows the world in a different way and touches me emotionally. Art is everything, art is my work and my life, there is no separation between work and private life. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes a struggle.

Is creativity then the meaning of your life? 

Maybe that is a little radical, but art is always in my head. It's part of my nature and it's who I am. I think creativity and art are not the same. Creativity is a process which is needed when creating art. But the process of making art is not always creative. As a painter, it is also about training my skills. Creativity is the phase just before I start painting or sculpting.

Why and when did you decide to become an artist? 

When I was six I wanted to become a fashion designer. Later, when I was fourteen I fell in love with the sunflower painting of Vincent van Gogh. My father brought me a calender in which the painting was. Then I decided I wanted to become a painter. parents decided otherwise. I had to let it go and study for a real job... economics. So I did, but right after I got my grade, I started art school. HA! 

How do you remember that first time you saw the sunflowers of van Gogh?

I remember the vibrant shades of blue en yellow and the energy of the painting. I started to reproduce it. I still have it actually..hahaha energy...

That reminds me that I saw one of your stop motion films about Frida Kahlo  Her art is also powerful, full of passion and energy with so intensive colours...

Yes, I'm a big Frida fan! 

What does she represents to you? 

Persitence in painting, whatever happens keep on painting! And also her style and her personality.

Energy and persistence are some of your qualities? 

Energy yes, definitely. Persistence only in my artistship. When creating, I'm never satisfied. It's the only part of me that I follow through. But only in arts, in sports or other things I'm not that persistent. 

In fact, you work several artistic disciplines as well as teaching. 

Yes, I do.

Is it a consequence of your lack of persistence or because of your curiosity?

No, teaching is a way of life to earn money. And I love to educate young adults about art. I try to open their minds.. And for the diversity of disciplines I use in my art, that is because I love to tell a story and I try to choose the best medium for the story. Also I love to switch from 2D to 3D to digital... My husband is an artist as well, and he is a technical video artist. He introduced me to the art of video and animation. 

You have said you try to open the mind of people, how important is art in society ? Do you think we all value artistic creation as it deserves?  

I think one of the purposes of art is to see things from a different angle. I'm involved in community art projects. That's also a very interesting form of art where art is used/abused to solve a social problem. In the Netherlands community art is really hot right now. I think it's ok to make use of art in society to solve problems. But beside that, art also has to stand alone. Art has to fascinate, schock, turn the world around or just show beauty... 

And those community projects have any influence on your art? 

No, not at all. In community art projects we create together. Artist and society. In my personal art I create alone. It's my word, my facination.. 

But people are a main subject in your art, especially children. 

I've noticed that I have two phases: phases when I want to work with nature as subject, and phases when I want to work with people. Every few years I want to change. And I decided it's ok to change these subjects. At this moment I'm working on new paintings called "pigmentscapes". I make my own paint with things that I find during long walks. But I'm also fascinated about a new model I've met and definitely going to paint. 

Fascinated why? 

It's an a-typical girl in pre-puberty. She has a very special face and sees the world in a different way 

That's what you look for in people, different ways to see the world? 

Yes, I definitely do. And I try to capture moments in which people turn into themselves, when they are in their "own world" .

And what about children?

Children are inspiring  to me because we cannot always read them. They can be in a complete different planet in their thoughts. 

Do you miss being a child? 

Sometimes yes. I miss being without care. 

Are you too careful?

No, absolutely not, but when grown up, there is always something you have to take care of and responsibilities, etc. But in my mind I'm still a child.

So you are not too careful in your art.

I'm not? 

Don't you feel enough free to create? 

There is a part of me that wants to make more radical things but sometimes I feel insecure. I think it's developping but Im careful about what I am sending to the world.

Moenza and the boys
© Angeline Maas

One of your paintings is very special for me. The title is "Moenza and the boys". I have mixed feelings when I look at it: joy and sadness at the same time, maybe because of the dark tones of blue that make me thing of the sunset, the end of the day, so the pass of time. What's behind this painting? 

It's the first day of the year when we can swim outside in the lake nearby our house. It's happy, but also sad that youth is passing by. I love the swedish youth series, where youth is passing by in grey tones. The girl is observing the boys... what is she thinking...

That's what I wonder... 

Me too hahaha!

What's the most important for you in life?

My family and my kids.

© Angeline Maas

One of your paintings is called "Puppeteer", what could you explain me about it?

It's about the feeling of being a puppet on a string. People play with nature. Spoil it, litter it, then water it, then spoil it again... It connects with the idea of freedom...

Have you ever felt yourself like a puppet?

I do, at this moment actually.

Because of the interview?

Hahaha No, no, no worries. But there are a little too many assignments I'm working on... and the only thing I want to do is to paint.

You make also collages.

Yes ! I love to make collages. I'ts an easy way to create a surrealistic world. It's an easy start of the creative process. 

Your paintings are more realistic in contrast with your collages or your animation films.

Yes, they are. They are all different parts of me. Maybe things that grow together...or maybe not, I don't know. I'm a big fan of Neo Rauch. The way he paints looks like a sort of collage to me. But when I paint I'm really searching for emotions. So it always becomes more realistic.

He had some influence from the Mexican muralists, like Rivera...somehow we return to Frida.

Yes, that's nice. These questions make me think about myself .

What are your next projects?

First one is the "pigmentscapes". I'm working on three new paintings at this moment with my selfmade paint. Second one is a childrens book about the Fibonacci series illustrated with collages. It's a project with a team of three people: a philosopher, my husband writes it and I do the illustration/collages.

I've read you are a writer too.

I wrote a book about the town that I live in, 
Budel-Dorplein. I was curious because it's a strange town...

Why is it so strange?

It's an old factory town with a lot of people from all kind of places, and a lot of industry in it. People from Spain, Indonesia, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Africa... everywhere! And it has a very strange architecture. It's a little piece of France in the Netherlands. Two French-speaking Belgians designed the town in 1892. It's quite unusual in Holland.

I see you like unusual things. How would you describe yourself as an artist? 

When I think about myself as an artist I think about the story I want to tell. I'm a storyteller who uses different kinds of disciplines and media to express myself. I think I want to tell stories but not litterally. And I think that I want to persuade people to make up their own stories

Could you explain me a dream you've had while sleeping or a memory from your childness? 

My dreams are always about tsunamis hahaha! Very scary!!!! I painted it. It's about controlling the tsunami. I'm a pleasing kind of person and I think the dream is about all the people that I want to keep satisfied

Do you need to keep everything under control?

It's getting better...

A selection of works by Angeline Maas available here

An interview by Juan Carlos Romero
Photograph and paintings by Angeline Maas
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