ARTIST OF THE MONTH NOVEMBER IS AMSTERDAM-BASED SELLA MOLENAAR,
A COLOURFUL CREATIVE WITH A POSITIVE MESSAGE.
THROUGH HER ART, SELLA EMPHASIZES THE FEMALE ESSENCE AND AESTHETIC, AS WELL AS INCLUSIVITY AND BODY POSITIVITY.
SHE REGULARLY HOLDS WORKSHOPS AROUND TOWN AND IS INVOLVED WITH NUMEROUS FORWARD-THINKING PROJECTS AND BRANDS - NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO HOST HER EXHIBITION AT OUR STUDIO.
At what point did you know you wanted to become an artist and how did that evolve into the career you have now?
Even though I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, I didn't grow up thinking I wanted to become a professional illustrator. I actually enrolled at a fashion school first - it wasn't until I moved to Amsterdam that I came up with the idea of doing live-illustrations at festivals and markets to earn a little extra money. I ended up being invited by H&M Nederland to draw at the Vogue Fashion's Night Out–that was when I realized I could do this for a living.
I went on to register as a business and have spent the last 7 years creating my network - moving away from live-illustrating and towards more long-term collaborations and commission-based projects.
The majority of your art seems to be revolving around the concept of femininity and the female body. Has this always been a central theme in your work or has your style developed through phases?
Back when I was in fashion school, my work was definitely more fashion-oriented – although even then, I was never really interested in the clothing items or accessories: I was more intrigued by the impact a particular fashion item would have on a model’s body, look or attitude. I would often find myself looking at the model’s posture and silhouette.
As my personality developed over the years, so did my drawings.
I evolved as a woman, learning and caring more about themes like sustainability and feminism. That personal shift of focus is clearly noticeable in my drawings.
In your bio you call yourself a 'proud feminist'.
What role does this play in your art and in your creative process?
I believe everyone deserves equal opportunities in life, regardless of their gender. But because I think we live in a world that favors men, I think it's important to give women a voice or stage. That's why I enjoy celebrating female qualities, such as softness and fluidity - which play an important part in my creative process.
What materials and techniques do you like to use?
I'm autodidactic, so my preferences for materials and technique are very flexible: I use almost everything. I've gone through different phases, but some of the things I've kept coming back to are markers, ink and - more recently - acrylic paint. All of my art at the FORM exhibition will also be acrylic paint.
Ever since Covid-19, I've started doing a lot of minimalistic work. I think it might be because I'm drawn to its structure and clarity during these uncertain times.
What are some of the artists that inspire you?
Among others: Joanna Layla, Sina Pearson, Cathelijne Biskop, Gill Button, Petra Lunenburg (one of my earlier inspirations) and Richard Haines.
A potentially interesting anecdote: Richard Haines used to run a blog called 'What I Saw Today', which, at the time, had a huge impact on me. In fact, it was probably his blog that inspired me to become a live-illustrator!
Where can people see and/or purchase your artwork?
You'll find a selection of originals and prints in my webshop, but people are always free to plan a studio visit if they wish to see more. Some of my prints are also for sale at the The Maker Store inside De Hallen in Amsterdam.
Do you have any cool projects coming up that we should know about?
I've been organizing workshops for a while (both at my own studio and at other locations, like The White Door Studio), and I'm thinking about adding in more in-depth courses that span over multiple classes. I'm also considering expanding to digital workshops – mainly due to Covid-19, of course.
I'm also in the process of founding a collective for female creative professionals, where like-minded people can connect, share experiences and gain knowledge – through which we aim to lift up and empower creative, female entrepreneurs