Mineke Reinders [mineke]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I paint, primarily in watercolor and gouache, cityscapes and scenes from urban life, though sometimes other subjects as well. I don't define myself other than as a painter.
What is your message?
I don't have a message.
Your biography in four lines.
Born in the Netherlands, now live in Illinois, USA.
Trained and worked as a librarian before pursuing a career as a painter.
BA in Art from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, 1995
Have also lived in Italy, Germany, and Turkey.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
I draw ideas and inspiration from memories, my collection of digital photographs, music, poetry, and from the work of other artists.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
I use digital photographs for reference, and I use my computer to store and view my images. I also keep digital records of my paintings, and I use the internet to show my work to a wider audience than it would otherwise have, and to connect with other artists.
When do you get your best ideas?
When I'm not trying too hard to have good ideas.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
By trying it. I usually know whether an idea is good or not in the early stages of a painting. I think this is something an artist learns to evaluate over time.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
I always loved to draw and paint, but when I was young I didn't think I could really be an artist. I pursued a career in another field and continued to paint in my spare time, off and on. This changed when I was living in Italy for a semester. I was affected by the visual richness surrounding me, as well as the lively atmosphere of markets and squares, and I knew then that I would not be happy unless I made painting these things my primary focus. I began to see myself as an artist then.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
This is not true of most of the artists I know. There are volatile personalities in every profession, though it's true that artists have the reputation, which may give some immature people the idea that creativity means acting out.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
It depends on who is doing the evaluating and for what purpose. A gallery owner might ask: will this sell? Will it appeal to my clientele? A buyer might ask: Do I love this piece? Or: does it match my sofa? As an artist, I don't really ask those questions when evaluating my work. Those things are out of my control and can be irrelevant. I ask myself whether the work has an inner cohesiveness (it hangs together well), wether it is well crafted, has pleasing passages, and whether it conveys an atmosphere convincingly.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
No. An artist must grow and develop, but how can you do that without building on the skills and experience you have already acquired? I think this idea of reinventing oneself everyday is meaningless.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
Artists I admire: Vermeer, Utrillo, Hopper, Homer, Sargent, Constable. Among (near)contemporaries: Trevor Chamberlain, John Yardley, Joseph Zbukvic, Lucy Willis, Ong Kim Seng, Alvaro Castagnet, and many others.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
I'm generally in favor of it. A society that values the arts should also contribute funding to them, in particular for arts education and community projects.
Is art necessary?
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
No. I'm happy that somebody else gets to enjoy it. If a piece has personal meaning to me, I don't offer it for sale.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
It's the work of art, not the artist, though in some cases it may be the artist's name that is bought as well.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
Sometimes, you don't know. You just keep working. Eventually, the next step will become evident. I'm often impatient with this phase, but I've learned over time that you can't rush it. The next step will come when you're ready, so the best thing you can do is to keep working and to be open to new directions.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
They have generally been very helpful to me.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
Do you personally collect any items?
Yes, I have a small collection of paintings by contemporaries.
Which websites do you frequently visit?
I follow a number of artists blogs in a Google reader.
Google, Google translate, Youtube, many others. Artists websites. Too many to list here.
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Keep drawing and painting. Look at art. Learn from teachers and other artists. Read about art. Don't worry about developing your own style, it will emerge. Connect with other artists.
Bloomington, IL USA