Interview with Sille Jensen
q)Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.
a)I am the daughter of a painter, and I have been drawing as far back as I can remember, though my work doesn't look like my fathers at all.
I got my formal education at an art-school in Amsterdam, the Hogechool voor de Kunsten, where I graduuated in 1995.
q)Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes?
a)Yes - and yes: Though I spent a lot time of teen years with a pencil or brush in my hand, I had some years before I went to Art Academy when I felt the need to experiment with other media. So I did radio, I photographed a lot and experimented with computer images. But I never felt really comfortable working with those media - not the same way as when paint or draw.
q)Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a)I like the physical and sensous side of working with classic media like oil paintings, charcoal- , pencil- and inkdrawings.
I think it is because it gives you a sence of touching the subject you work on, whether it's an abstraction or thought or a more tangible object.
q)How would you describe your style?
a)This is a really hard question - I can think of a lot of things that it isn't: It isn't naturalistic or realistic.
And though I can see that it sometimes could feel related to the style of some classic modernistic painters, I don't think that is it, either.
If there was something called post-modern expressionism, maybe that could apply to my work.
It could be very limiting to put your work in a specific category, though, so I try not to.
q)Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?
a)Yes, but it's still not quite clear to me how it works exactly.
But I usually start with some vague, abstract thought that I'd like to explore. Where those ideas come from, I can't explain. They just present themselves, and if they stick, they are usually something I can use and try to examine in my work.
Then I usually, but not always, make sketches from that idea in sketchbooks or on scraps of paper.
I also collect photos and other pictures form newspaper and magazines, that I might use in my work. I like to search for strange connections between images from our every-day life or pop-culture and motifs from the Art History.
Then I have to trick myself to start painting, as a new, blank canvas can feel very intimidating.
So I usually have a stack of little canvases ready, and I start painting on them - just other sketches, or studies of real, but harmless objects, like flowers. In that way I can persuade myself to start painting, and while I'm concentrating on my little canvas, I suddenly switch from the small painting onto the bigger, serious one - and back again, sometimes.
I usually work with series, more paintings on one subject or idea.
q)What are you working on at present?
a)Right now I'm in the phase of making small, vague drawings in my sketchbooks for a new series ...but I don't know what it is called yet.
q)What about recent sources of inspirations?
a)I listen to music in very different genres, but right now I listen a lot to alternative rock with some kind of tradiitional inspiration.
It is music that I can instantly relate to, but it also had depth and you can understand it in different ways or deeper levels also.
I like that.
q)What are some of your obsessions?
a)I am a collector and have too much of everything. I like flemarkets and junk shops, and I can't help buying all sorts of junk just because I'm fascinated with the fact that somone once designed an object this odd.
q)Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?
a)I have shown in Denmark only, and I'd love a show abroad. Also; I'd love to have a show with other artists I'm connected with on MySpace - perhaps a virtual one?
q)If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
a)Become a friend on MySpace, visit my website - or just drop me a line at email@example.com
q)Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?
a)If you are admitted to an art school, you have to strike the right balance between being open to influence from your teachers and friends, and to stick to yourself. It's difficult, but you should never be afraid to experiment and imitate, and at the same time have the guts to explore what's inside.
q)Who are your favorite artists?
a)Right now: Munch and van Gogh. Piero della Francesca. Vermer and Rembrandt. Balthus.
Cézanne and Picasso. Paula Modersohn Becker. Cindy Sherman. Louise Bourgeois.
q)What books are on your nightstand?
a)Short stories by a friend. Crime and punishment by Dostojevskij (my second go at it, and I'm not sure I'll make it), glossy gardening magazines.
q)To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?
a)Going to another fleamarket instead of doing something usefull.
recent piece in New York Arts Magazine: