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Artist of the Week / An interview with HSoA Tutor Anniek Verholt

Anniek Verholt

"It is a pleasure to work with the artist Anniek Verholt, she brings an informed and highly accessible approach through encouraging self expression through abstraction. Anniek sees the world 'Through The Eyes Of The Heart', this makes her teaching methods both supportive and emotionally ambitious. Her class ‘Abstract and Open Painting’ classes on Monday evenings and summer workshops are extremely popular where students can follow projects or bring their own. This year she will be exhibiting her work in the HSoA Gallery alongside Patron Alan Gouk who values his collaboration with Anniek." Isabel H Langtry, HSoA Principal

Anniek talks to us about her passion for contemporary abstract painting, sculpture and installation, her work as an art therapist and the personal journey she creates for her students.

Anniek, please tell us a little about yourself.

"I’m a contemporary artist and artistic therapist with a great passion for contemporary abstract painting and therapeutic arts. I have a BA in Art Therapy from the University of Applied Sciences in Leiden, Netherlands (’00). After some years of working in mainland Greece I moved to the UK with a scholarship to start a MA Fine Arts at the University of Sunderland (’04). After a visit to their glass department I chose to transfer to the MA Glass course (Art & Design) which was housed in the National Glass Centre. This course brought together my interest in abstract art, sculpture and installation. I specialised in glass casting (sculpture) whilst my abstract paintings continued to develop in more sculptural ways, in the form of texture.

I have been teaching at the Hampstead School of Arts since 2009 (and have missed being there during lockdown!)

My typical week (pre-Covid) includes therapeutic arts sessions and creative coaching in my practice in Baker street, facilitating workshops for inmates in a London prison, teach at the HsoA as well as spending time in my studio in Brighton where I moved to just over 4 years ago. I tend to spend three days creating and conducting researching in my studio. I exhibit my work internationally and am currently working on a book which will hopefully be published before the end of the year."

What inspires you and your work?

"Life, nature, and people inspire my work. The creative process in itself is hugely inspiring to me; the way the paint behaves on the canvas, the seeking of harmony or finding the right amount of tension in a composition as well as the relationship between colours. I work in the field of psychology and this has undoubtedly been a great influence on my art practice. I’m very much driven by my curiosity for the relationship between the artwork and beholder. It’s that conversation between the beholder and the artwork that makes it come to life!"

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What does teaching mean to you?

"Teaching adults about abstract art and abstract painting, in particular, is rather special. To create powerful abstract works, you require a space in which you feel safe to express yourself. Abstract painting is never straight forward and highly personal - which makes it so exciting. And as a teacher, I feel honoured to be part of that personal journey of my students.

My intention has always been to create an inclusive and open class environment in which each student can find their voice and develop their own personal style without the pressure of having to create masterpieces from day one. In fact, great emphasis is placed on appreciating and valuing the creative journey leading up to an interesting painting."

And finally, could you tell us about your Summer Abstract and Open Painting Workshop in August?

"In this summer workshop I introduce several methods to creating beautiful abstract paintings. We’ll look at how we can move from the representational to an abstract composition and we’ll explore what it’s like to work more intuitively by using music or a personal experience as a starting point. This weekend workshop is open to complete beginners as well as the more experienced painter."

Join Anniek’s Abstract & Open Painting Workshop on Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 August.


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