I was born in Belgium (St-Truiden, 1961) and became a Dutch citizen (1982) until I made the best decision in my life and obtained Canadian citizenship in 2015.
Having a background in science (PhD biology, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1993) art was not on the radar till 1999, when I started carving stone as a hobby. While mainly self-taught, I attended a few stone sculpting workshops with Thea de Waard in the Netherlands. Once settled in Canada art became a life-saver. I first enrolled in ‘Figure Drawing and Painting’ with Pamela Cockcroft-Lasserre (2007-2009) and later in ‘Ceramic Sculpture’ with Jim Thomson (2009-2011) at the Ottawa School of Art. Intrigued by the wonderful possibilities of the human figure I founded Figureworks.org, a not-for-profit organisation promoting visual art of the human form in all media (April 2010): As the President of this organization (2010-2016) I organized 7 juried award shows in Ottawa, which now attract professional artists from Canada and abroad. Today I am still functioning as the curator of Figureworks.
It was the late Jim Thomson who infected me with the clay bug, for which there is no cure.
As a visual artist I have chosen ceramic sculpture, with an emphasis on ceramic installations, as my main discipline; for me, art is a conversation and my artistic expression changes with the topic of that conversation. Since 2012 I work as a full-time artist in my home studio and became a finalist of the RBC/CAO emerging artist award in the same year. I became an active member of the Ottawa Guild of potters, as its secretary (2016-2018) and designer of two large outdoor art installations: ‘Populace’ (2017) at the Canadian Museum of Nature in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, and ‘Compass’ (2018) for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
My work has been shown in both solo- and (juried) group exhibits, including the New York Art Expo and the Canadian Gallery of Clay and Glass in Waterloo, Ontario. My work is in private collections in Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Canada, as well as in the collection of Global Affairs Canada; ‘The Bark Archive’ is on permanent display at the Canadian Embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
I am a collector, an archivist, a story teller. I use art as a means of communication. My artistic expression changes with the nature of the conversation. I usually express myself through multiples set in ceramic installations that reveal my strong connection with nature and my keen interest in human footprints left behind.
Topics like climate change and deforestation, the global refugee crisis, and lately the fine line between art and craft are on the list of conversations I have with the viewer as well as with myself, with new topics added on a regular basis.
My inspiration is fueled by an esthetic stimulus and/or phrases and discussions that enter my world through books, radio and television. Making art is a form of processing this daily input and speaking my mind. Through beautiful visual stimulation I aim to open up minds of others and increase empathy, which is the key to peaceful solutions and tolerance.
Although my artistic output is just as divers as the topics that I address, my work always has a strong hand-built sculptural component, is often textured, and is further characterized by its attention for detail, its labour intensity, and repetitive mark making.