I suppose it all starts with my name, Elzemieke (say: elzah-meekah), which makes for a complicated introduction anywhere outside of the Netherlands. And, in fact, I'm almost always outside of the Netherlands. My current hideaway is in the South of Germany, where I live in the traditional (and sometimes rather smug) city of Munich.
You - I guess - are someone who likes art and beauty. You're probably a visual person with an intuitive understanding of color. You love creating a space, you'll happily spend days arranging and rearranging until it's ... just ... so. If, on top of all that, you also have a somewhat intense relationship with dark chocolate, well, we're pretty much soulbound.
You'll notice that I use the word "art" a lot on this website. Makes sense, doesn't it? But, even though I call myself an artist, I'm not a big fan of labeling things as such. To be frank, it's quite a loaded term. Using it provokes all kinds of connotations - expectations even. Simply put: I create things. If all goes well, people appreciate those things. Something shifts, a connection is made. The "thing" gets a special meaning.
I'm not working towards being bought by some big-name artdealer - only for my work to be warehoused and sold again once (or if) its value increases. I want my work be experienced, not traded. That doesn't mean I'll hang up when a gallerist calls, of course not. Ambition is an important thing. It probably just means I'm particular and censorious. I hide it well though.
No, really. What I'm trying to say is that art doesn't need to be complicated. When I'm in a creative space my only aim is to feel what I see. I want to be moved on a level that goes beyond the ordinary. I don't want a prospectus or a biography. I want to be haunted: in my dreams, in my mind, in my soul. I want it to matter.
This crazy beast isn't just for artists. Or museums. Or schools. Or, God forbid, basements. The experience of art is entirely personal and available to everyone. In fact, how you live your life is a creative act in itself.
The things you like, the food you eat, the secrets you keep, the relationships you have... The person you are inside and the person you show to others. All of these "things" are, in the end, decisions you make. Creative decisions.
"Now, wait a minute", I hear you think, "Who exactly is this cat? Who is she to tell me -". Alright, alright. I hear ya. I'll stop rambling and tell you a little bit about myself. This is, after all, the about page.
I hail from the flat plains of the Netherlands. As a child I invented several hair accessories, typed long & complicated stories on my typewriter and developed a sleeping technique to keep my face paint in tact for days on end. It involves clingfilm.
Of course, I wanted to be something dreamy when I grew up. No nurse. No scientist. Nothing boring like that. I was going to be a lone warrior who lived by her own rules and had adventures which she'd type up afterwards. That sort of thing. It may be worth speculating about whether I actually did "grow up".
When I was 10 years old, a professional artist visited our school and told me I had talent. "Yes", I remember thinking, "I do" (note the youthful confidence). But it was also clear to me that this, indeed, meant trouble. Like it or not, creative talent rarely ends up in a cubicle with 2.3 children and a pension plan. It's always exciting, but never easy.
The first real trouble started in art school, which went against all my expectations. All through adolescence I'd been working towards getting in and yet, when I was finally "in", I realized that I didn't like it at all. If anything, I felt stifled. Forced. Fake. Unhappy. At the end of the year I went to Denmark for a Summer job and, to my own surprise, I never came back.
Adventure it was. I spent two years traveling, which filled a hunger I hadn't been able to satisfy in art school. It was inspirational and unexpected and often quite humbling.
I will admit that, in hindsight, I'm a little embarrassed by my youthful ignorance. The distressing fact that I arrived in Ireland assuming it was part of England for instance. Or, when I tried to cross a Polish border right after 9/11 with a completely illegible passport (at that time passports were still written in ink, which would wash away at the merest suggestion of water).
Eventually, I landed in London and decided to stay put. I studied at the London University of the Arts and became obsessed with cinema. I studied, watched, acted, wrote, assisted and, slowly but surely, I directed.
The independent film scene was incredibly liberating - it allowed me to exploit every creative curiosity I had. The definite milestone of these years is a short film I made, called "Babydoll". If you subscribe to my newsletter you'll receive a special link and password with which you can watch it.
Then, something unexpected happened. The financial world collapsed, savings dried up and living in London became unsustainable. In truth, I'd been feeling restless for a while - that travel bug really is a nasty sort - and decided to take the economic crisis as a good excuse to pack up and go once more.
My feet touched ground again in Munich, where I studied Art Therapy at the Academy of Fine Arts. Here's a tip for when you're interested in exploring the realms of therapy: do it in a language you can actually speak. Don't get me wrong, it was a very interesting time and I would do it all again, albeit in English.
Of course I did learn a thing or two. In fact, I don't know where I'd be without without the experience, but once I graduated I was more than happy to return to where I once started. Aka: creating things and then typing stories about it.
But I digress. In fact, I need to thank you, you starbar, for your attention and your interest.
All this time I've been going on and on and on, whereas I should've been telling you how amazing and original and clever you are. Because you are all those things. Believe me, as an artist I happen to have a knack for spotting beauty.
And, before I forget, please do sign on to the mailing list. We'll be in touch once a month with updates, thoughts on creativity and adventure stories. Small adventures.
Lone warriors unite! Color lovers embrace! Adventure seekers, get your type writer out. Hope to write to you soon.
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