a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1


Labou rofa r t.com

HELLO ART BY NATURE READERS! Since we last spoke we have a new Art by Nature member: my son Logan Gabriel. Born on April 9th at 5 o'clock in the morning, he's the light of my life!

I am very happy to have received the first book of friend in nature, Michaël Cailloux, as a birth gift. It's amazing to explore his surreal way of thinking. Read all about it in this edition. In edition 7 Stephen King, a lecturer in Media and Communications, at Middlesex University Dubai and his students helped edit the articles. Stephen edited this addition all by himself. I am very grateful for his help! I also thank Katia Plewnia for being my tower of strength in the field of design. In this edition you can read all about the exciting collaboration between Randy Etty and his father Joe in the project ‘Lust for Life - Jeu de Vivre’! I am still busy looking for further collaborations with others, and I have many ideas cooking, but these are still works in progress I will keep you posted and leave it at that!

Logan Gabriël happy: as a clam

You can follow the magazine Thanks! Tessa Valk Founder, Editor-in-chief & Designer

And share with others.

INITIATIVE OF Tessa Valk COVER COLLAGE tessaontwerpt.nl ADVERTISE To advertise in upcoming issues click here

LIKE THE MAGAZINE? Support the magazine artbynaturemag.com CONTACT tessa@artbynaturemag.com

SPECIAL THANKS TO Katia Plewnia of Labour of Art • Richard Wilkinson • Ellen Jewett • Merel Slootheer • Randy Etty • Joe Etty • Htet T San • Nancy Wood • Irena murphy • Michaël Cailloux • Heather Elliott • Genevieve Mariani Every person who is in this magazine has been contacted by email. No content may be used without permision of Art by nature magazine, photos of artist (work) are owned by the artist (all rights reserved). If you find an image that is yours, I couldn't find the owner and you aren't credited; please let me know.



3 6 PH O TO D



LUMN Genev O C i 6

Column 42  Irena murphy Dreaming of Nature

c h w it

Nature wannahave's


hn a tu r


riani Get ti

to u


a eM



26 P

Inspired by nature Htet T San Natural Disasters





r ful Nature


Fl o w e r


aĂŤl Caillou x





16-25 Gallery special 18 R  andy Etty Nurtured by nature 20 A  rt by nature Joe Etty 22 B  ag of art Katia Plewnia


Craft 10  Ellen Jewett Animals & the environment as one 48  Merel Slootheer City biophile


eat her Ellio H t C W

Nature through the eyes of: 6  Richard Wilkinson Nature bugs 38  Nancy Wood Gliding through colour



Richard Wilkinson

Describing himself as a father and an illustrator, Richard is so much more than that. Let’s see how nature and Star Wars collide in a harmonious way. He chose Star Wars as his first subject because Its designs are so ‘iconic’ and recognisable that even a few aspects, when transferred to an insect, are enough to excite.

What was journey to becoming an artist? I studied art at university and then went into working as a sound designer for commercials, all the while producing art and illustrations for myself. I left the sound-design job to spend some time getting my portfolio together (while at the same time working part-time in commercials and music-video production). I was very lucky - very soon after producing a portfolio and sharing it online, I was contacted by ‘The Telegraph Magazine’ and offered a weekly editorial illustration in their ‘Talking Point’ section. The nature of many of these illustrations led to jobs for science magazines and ‘New Scientist’ in particular. I’ve been lucky enough to make my living as an illustrator since then for editorial and commercial clients as well as a few books, including ‘Historium’ for Big Picture Press and currently

the ‘Arthropoda Iconicus’ series, which I’m developing myself alongside a publisher friend of mine. In what way did creativity play a role in your childhood? I have a large family - 3 sisters - so I would often have to find a quiet part of the house as a child, drawing whatever from the books in the school library. I liked natural history books and also anything about ‘The Wild West’! I remember a huge book about Na­tive American culture that I spent hours studying and copying. Who and what inspires you and in what way? I love the great Natural History and Anatomy artists of the past - Audubon, Edward Lear, Gaultier-D’Agoty. Modern artists I love include Walton Ford and Christian Rex Van Minnen who creates amazingly lifelike paintings of grotesque abstracted subjects, with beautifully rendered light and texture.

Images of the first book of the series: “Arthropoda Iconicus Volume I: Insects From A Far Away Galaxy”. Magnified : “Equitem tempestus” a wasp inspired by the Stormtrooper.



TO CATEGORISE AND CLASSIFY IS PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF HUMAN TRAITS WHEN IT COMES TO SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS. My son Otto is 6, and his joy of creation and freedom is always inspiring. I’ve found it really fascinating watching his scientific mind analyse the things in his life, try to classify and collect them, as many kids do. He loves video games and so I have pages and pages of his drawing and writings about variations on Mario, or Sonic, or Lego. It’s partly this which has inspired my ‘insect project’. It’s interesting to watch the impulse to categorise and classify in him, and see this as perhaps the most important of human traits when it comes to scientific progress.

Inspiration: Audubon

Inspiration: Christian Rex Van Minnen

Can you take us through your creative process? I usually look at the pop-culture ‘icon’ as a starting point and figure out its iconic features - what makes it unmistakable? Then I sketch a few ideas and go to my entomology books and online collections for ideas of how they might translate into features of an insect. More often than not it's a process of pushing and pulling the design until it looks still unmistakably an insect but also contains visual cues that it's recognisable as the icon. Hopefully it’s interesting for the viewer to see what subtle elements make an icon recognisable as well as not making it too easy to ‘get’ - safeguarding that “Ahah!” moment. v




Otto's vision on Starwars and insects




Spreading the news through social media feeds and newsletter subscribers (total 10.000)

Interested? Feel free to contact Art director Tessa Valk for the possibilities.



Ellen Jewett Creating new ways of experiencing nature, Ellen Jewett uses surreal crafts and techniques. Her sculptures tell their own story, where animal and the natural environment are perceived as one entity. The animals she designs are the environment.

"I LIKE TO LET SHAPES AND COLOURS BE RESPONSIVE TO EACH OTHER" I am fortunate enough to live on the beautiful Vancouver Island that is lush with a temperate rainforest, and a pristine, Pacific coastline. I seek to enjoy the islands, parks, and public land as much as possible both in my time off and in finding ways to work outside as well. While I enjoy taking in this wonderful wilderness, I also see engaging with nature as an active steward is the other half of this experience. My partner and I choose to grow as much of our own food as possible and rescue animals, which makes us active stewards and caregivers. I find these different activities to be hugely influential in how I explore plant and animal subjects through my work. Describe your journey to becoming an artist? Creativity played a role in my childhood in a myriad of ways. Making art served as my go-to entertainment of choice. As a child I could be captivated for hours making animals, monsters, and various landscapes out of plasticine, clay, and any other material I could get my hands on.

Art work: of conscience and loss (2004)

Besides starting sculpting natural forms from an extremely young age, I think that passion becomes a profession not from innate talent but through the years of practice, perseverance, and cultivation of it as a love and as a skill. Who and what inspires you and in what way? I would say learning is maybe the most important driving force for me and I consider myself a lifelong student. I take great interest in so many topics but anthrozoology and ethnobotany are really at the center right now. I love to enroll in courses from different universities and other institutions whenever I have space in my schedule. A daily diet of the most recent podcasts and audiobooks on the subject I’m working on CRAFT | ART BY NATURE


Inspiration: beautiful Vancouver Island

Ellen at work

"I TRY HARD TO DRAW MORE DIRECTLY FROM THE SOURCE." provides lots of inspiration as well. I'm a hardcore nonfiction reader and listener.

Yata, Laurie Hogin, Walton Ford, Tiffany Bozic, Beth Cavener, Josie Morway, Josh Keyes and others.

Recently I've enjoyed the works of Alexandra Horowitz, Michael Pollan, Wade Davis, Jennifer Wright, and Sandor Ellix Katz to name a few. I’m a bit of a stickler for authenticity and like to take as much information direct ‘from the source’ as possible. In this light I see my daily interactions with plants and animals, both those under my stewardship and those wild things far beyond it, as very important to how I portray them in my work.

I wouldn't say I draw a large amount of inspiration from any one individual artist. I try hard to draw more directly from the source. In addition to nature I take a lot of inspiration from traveling, antiques, natural history, illustration, architecture, costume art and anything else I experience in the world that sparks interest.

I enjoy the work of other contemporary artists I see as exploring similar realms such as Kit Mizeres, Hannah 12


Can you take us through your creative process? I actually do very little in the way of sketching or preliminary work. I will occasionally draw a quick thumbnail image to remember an idea or build a tiny

Artwork: strange and gentle X

maquette. Mostly though my process of creation is more intuitive. I first manipulate a metal armature and then start building on it, always by hand. I don’t use any carving or sculpting tools. I use a few different types of air-drying and polymer clays. After many layers of sculpting and drying I will paint the entire sculpture. I like to let shapes and colours be responsive to each other, this allows each piece to capture the fluid feel of the unconscious. Does Dali play a role in your work? As a young teen I had access to a couple of books of Dali's work that

deeply resonated with me. I loved how surrealists took inspiration from psychoanalysis, dreams, and other measures of the human experience. I also really enjoyed Dali's use of personal archetypes and attention to technical detail in his painting. I find the better condition I am in, physically and psychologically, the better my work is. That my sculptures may seem otherworldly is more an artifact of how my awake and conscious mind works as opposed to strategically manipulating it in some way. v

ellenjewettsculpture.com 13


GALLERY SPECIAL LUST FOR LIFE JEU DE VIVRE When the colour explodes from Joe Etty’s bright oil paintings, and the dark layered canvases of his son, Randy Etty, they manifest in the form of leather tote bags that have been sculpted by Katia Plewnia a designer and crafter from ‘Labour of Art - Leather Goods’. ‘Art and the Lust for Life’ brought them together, celebrating colour and expression in a joint exhibition ‘LevensLust’ held at the Galerie Niek Waterbolk in the heart of Utrecht.





Art runs in the Etty family, passed on to Randy by his father Joe, and before him his British grandfather and Yorkshireman, William (1787-1849). As a young man birds of prey and horses fascinated Randy. Animals and female models are his favorites, portraying them is a way to find a connection between humans and animals. Randy’s inspiration for some of his work comes from the plants’ roots and this might have influenced the theme of this classic nudes. With an eye for detail and structure his figures gain expression from poses found in contemporary photography.

Since early childhood, Randy's motto is Play Art.

The influence of nature on his art also comes through in his wildlife paintings. campaigned for endangered species by creating a series of portraits of gorillas and chimpanzees, the incomes of which were donated to the WNF (the Dutch branch of the World Wildlife Fund). Randy Etty was fed art since his early childhood, growing up in a home where art was always present. Over the last nine years he has focused more seriously on developing his talents, exploring painting and sculpting, looking for shapes and proportions, taking lessons and partici­ pating in exhibitions. And throughout these years his father, Joe Etty, was always there with advice.






Born in Indonesia, Joe Etty arrived in the Netherlands in 1956. When he was 20, he attended Artibus, an Art School now known as the HKU, where he studied under Bert Jonkers and Pierre Tatin.


He prefers larger surfaces for his work, varying from 90x120 cm to even 450x200 cm, and even painting on the floor. He was inspired by the art of Monet and the rougher strokes of Van Gogh and uses the back of his brush, spatula or even fingers to express key features and emotion. And he paints inspired by music of his time, especially The Everly Brothers, Bill Haley, The Shadows, and of course Elvis Presley. Joe is inspired by nature. Sometimes he actually uses leaves to draw the lines on his paintings. He lovingly tends to his bonsai trees in his backyard, and escapes outdoors to have a walk in the park to be embraced by nature, whenever he gets the chance. He is currently creating a series of paintings with water lilies. He designs these from his his memory, with his heart and imagination guiding his hands. Over the years he has mastered many techniques, besides the traditional brushes, he also regularly includes finger and spatula painting in his work He displays these techniques with always onhand,- hand-built linen canvases, using the highest quality oil paint. He is also sculpting on stone and wood in his garden, with the material directing the end results. In this way he believes that nature is always shaping itself and Joe is merely adding his art to it.

The creative process starts with framing Belgian linen.

joeetty.nl 19



KATIA PLEWNIA Designer, crafter, and owner of the label ‘Labour of Art’ - Leather Goods; Katia Plewnia creates bags that carry dreams, ideas, and tell stories.

She grew up around a shipyard her father ran where she was surrounded by wood, water, and green. It was here she gained a sense of pure. Today this translates into the forms and mate­rials she designs. Raw edges and floating shapes of her bags resemble the hills, a water stream, or the clouds.

These are reminiscent to her place of origin, Lake Constance in the South of Germany. This is also where the vegetable tanned hides are sourced. Each bag is handmade in her workshop in Utrecht, which has been her home for the last 18 years.

Colour and texture play a vital role in creating one-of-a-kind bags.






BY NATURE You could easily drown in the light blues and green Water Lilies – interpretations of Monet, or be soaked up in wild leaves, red shades of flowers, and blossoms which have been finger-painted in oil on the canvas of Joe Etty. If you follow the look on either the female figures, or the animal portraits and you will become immersed into a dream world. With his silent hues, Randy Etty takes you into the world of texture and sensuality. They are calm and complex, as if they invite you to interact and communicate. The leather bags from ‘Labour of Art’, the label of Katia Plewnia, are scattered through the gallery. Luscious soft tones, as if dripped from a Water lily, and sturdy earth tones that can be found between the ‘Lady on the Chair’ and the ‘Fox’,


form the connection between contrasting styles. They add dimension and dynamism to both of the collections. In fact they are works of art themselves. Uniquely handmade from vegetable tanned leather. This collaboration was presented and enjoyed at the Schoutenstraat 10 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. They have parted for now, to allow them to explore their next levels but will be looking forward to seeing their art in another form in September 2018. v Save the date 24th till 30th September 2018 Galerie Niek Waterbolk Schoutenstraat 10, 3512 GB Utrecht follow our progress and collaboration on instagram




More worldly cleverness to give you more nature-based inspiration in your life. < S

len uccu

a t ide


< Getting to the root of it It's amazin g how Mother Na ture lets you se e her growth up close and personal . • gather vari ous seeds; •  place severa l bunched up damp paper towels into a larg e mason jar, then ca refully plac e each seed betwee n the glass and the paper towel; •  carefully ad d water to moisten the paper to wels; •  place the ja r in a sunn y window. For more information check crumbbums. com



do Dye < Avoca re's bring natu n a c u o y w No life colour to h off the green fles e h t h s a  W • stone; skins and ax the heat to co e l t n e g e s U •  ; colour out how ing to see Keep check •  ing and p o l s deve i r u o l o c the flesh the excess strain out ith the d atisfie w s e r ’ u o y when colour; o sit in e fibres t h t w o l l A  • ger to see th for lon the dye ba olour a deeper c t e g u o y f i ; don’t rush water and H of your p e h t k c e Ch o see if •  e alkali t r o m o t t f shi ones. u pinker t o y s e v i g that n check informatio For more nos.com rebeccades



Michaël Cailloux

Since edition 3 I have been obsessed with Michael’s work. He is an amazing all-around artist. And now he has published a book, which I was fortunate to receive on the birthday of my son, Logan. We’ve ‘both’ enjoyed reading it ever since!

How did the idea of ​​the book come about? Thierry Magnier, the owner of the publishing house discovered my work at an exhibition in Paris. He liked it a lot and he asked me if I wanted to publish a book with him and I agreed. It was very exciting because it was the first time that I had made the decision to make a children’s book.

Why a children's book? Thierry Magnier’s publishing house specialises in children's books, but with the special characteristic of always being surprisingly artistic. "Wonderful Nature" is not only for children but it also has potential to interest adults and this was how I was convinced to work on this project. I wanted the book to be a game for kids and at the same time appealing more broadly adults to display on their coffeetables.



Inspiration: Keith Haring; Bill T. Jones Inspiration: Art of Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Courtesy of Gallery Beniya Inspiration: Matchbox label



" I DID NOT INCLUDE RARE CREATURES, SO THAT CHILDREN COULD EASILY RECOGNIZE THE ANIMAL OR THE PLANT." What inspired you to make this book? From the first meeting with the publishing house, we agreed to develop a book about the wonderful wealth of nature. My work is very much inspired by nature in general, and the idea of ​​hiding things inside for the children to find appealed to me a lot. And how did you get inspired? I enjoyed myself drawing animals, plants, fruits, vegetables, flowers from all over the world ... I did not include rare creatures, so that children could easily recognize the animal or the plant. I featured the zebra, the swan, the rose for example… but still I added more difficult things like the snowdrop, to make it educational as well as fun. I love the text, could you tell something about that? My gallery owner and curator of my work, Nathalie Béreau, wrote the texts. We get along very well and have become friends. She has a great sense of humor and is also keen on nature, living half of the year in the countryside. She was the ideal person to put words to my drawings.

• JANVIER • Janvier neigeux, lapins frileux

"I DREW ALMOST EVERY DAY FOR SIX MONTHS. " Could you talk about the process. How long did you work on it? I drew almost every day for six months. I had to make drawings that represented each month 12 boards in total. I thought about the big events in each month such as the snow in January, Easter in April, or the sun in July. And after, I let my imagination go. I drew according to my inspiration. I was free and the publishing house never interceded during those six months of work, so the result is as I felt it. Is the book a success? Yes the book has been successful in pleasing both children and adults, and has been reissued. I received many congratulatory messages and reviews, and I am very happy. Will there come a follow up, or another book? Yes now my publisher wants to make a collection around "Wonderful Nature". Over the last 6 months I have drawn for a book inspired by colour. It will be another "search and find" for children, and I hope adults will also enjoy it. v


Copyrights photos:Rodolphe Barras, Charlie Chouan,Lulu.

â&#x20AC;˘ MARS â&#x20AC;˘ Mars en amour, revient toujours PUBLICATION | ART BY NATURE



Htet T San

Born in Dawei, a small town in the southern part of Burma, Htet grew up in the old capital city of Myanmar, Yangon.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;My personal works are influenced by my background. I experienced a lot of political turmoil growing up in Myanmar, where a dictatorship has governed since the 1960s. We didn't have freedom of expression or of the Press in those days. I try to reflect my search for freedom through my personal work: freedom from society; life experiences and existential pressures. The journey of my life and the choices I made, helped me develop into the artist I am today. In photography (in combination with other forms of visual arts) I found the freedom to express my thoughts, emotions, and ideas. I moved to New York City at the beginning of 2011 and currently I'm studying whilst working as a conceptual artist/photographer and retoucher. I get inspired by photographers like Duane Michals and Storm

Thorgerson. They are philosophical and contemplative offering their viewers food for thought. I love conceptual art and found a new passion in alternative photographic processes. I am currently working on a new project with techniques including chemigrams and Cyanotypes. I always carry a sketchbook where I write down every new idea that comes to me, whether it's good or not. I see emotions in a visual way, like when I read a poem, the poetry flows in my mind in visual scenes. I portray emotions from my unconscious mind with photography. My photographs look surreal, but the emotion behind them is real. With my last project 'Natural Disaster' I focused on the environmental issues and consequences of man-made disasters."







Brokis Night Birds Pendant Lamp The Brokis Night Birds Pendant Lamp is a design by Boris Klimek. The Czech designer was inspired for this design by the nonchalance and freedom of a flying bird. misterdesign.nl

Black Moon Keeping You Safe TROVE is a wearable device providing a way to store and manage digital currency for daily spending and trading. layerdesign.com

A Bird In Your Hand Worth More Than You Think Birds of a feather craft together! These ornate scissors have fine engraved detail on the handle and sharp blades for precision cutting. shopangelaliguori.com



Recycled Avocado Pits While most people put their avocado pits in the trash, Ireland-based artist Jan Campbell has someplace else in mind for the stones: an art gallery. avocadostonefaces.bigcartel.com

Luxury Line Etro Designed Guitar Case If your musical instrument case says something about you, then Etroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signature line of guitar cases will say something incredibly posh. The luxury label is most known for its iconic paisley designs that fetch quite a pretty penny in the fashion market.



Heather Elliott

As a young girl, Heather Elliot found her love for making things beautiful. Now she has combined this with a new inspiration, nature. Being a creator and a nature lover from a young age has inspired me in so many ways. First, as a makeup and hair artist I always wanted to create a story with my clients. Then, when I received the photos back, I always felt that my vision was never portrayed in the way I had envisioned. I then decided to pick up a camera and photograph my own story. So I styled the models hair and did their makeup, picked out the themes, and photographed my own work. I was then able to tell my story and share it with others. I became the artist I am now by just learning, growing and accepting myself. There was no need to be afraid of whether others did not like my work, and I had to learn that. Freeing myself from that burden has helped to create art that makes me happy. And for that I am grateful. Irene Rudnyk inspires me because of her way of combining nature and beauty

Heather Elliott in her natural habitat

Could you enlighten us with the story behind this documentary? Texas wildflowers are my favorite, and we are lucky enough to have beautiful wildflowers throughout the year. That is what has inspired me! If you ever drive through the Texas Hill Country, you will be amazed at the amount of flowers that cascade the meadows, ditches, within rock crevices and just about everywhere as far as you can see! v





By Nancy Wood Having originally worked in watercolour, Nancy Wood has been inspired by the works of Paul Jenkins, and more recently Holten Rower, to try something new and explore fluid acrylics as a vehicle to create pigment effects.

What was your route on becoming an artist I was born an artist and as a child preferred to draw pictures of my surroundings and people around me than any other pastime. I finally turned professional when I was 35. In what way did creativity play a role in your childhood? My whole childhood revolved around creativity and I had a natural urge to record everything on paper. Painting came later along with a fascination for the way that pigments behaved together in watercolours. Who and what inspires you and in what way? My work has been great­ly inspired by Paul Jenkins and Helen Frankenthaler. I have been fascinated by their experiments with fluid acrylics when acrylic paints were first invented. My main inspiration is now taken from pigment interactions as they form in fluid paint 38


and then I allow my compositions to be guided by the paint effects that occur naturally. Holten Rowersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; mesmeic pours was one of the influential artists who prompted me to begin acrylic

Nancy infront of her work 'Neap Tide'

pouring five years ago. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the ever spreading circles of paint, but the pigment interactions that can be seen occurring near the edges of his work that made me want to exploit the possibilities of pigments as they partially combine.

Social networks are also a constant source of inspiration and I particularly like Behance because artists show the entire project and the various stages of preparation. I find it helpful to look at many styles including photography, graphic design as well 39

Paul Jenkins September 15, 2005 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lille. / (Philippe Huguen / AFP)


One of the artist that inspires Nancy: Paul Jenkins. Nancy at work From the series 'Calm': ‘Angel’



as fine art and even fashion design. That is because composition is the fundamental strength behind my work and I believe that is the case in all successful art and design. Do you use your experiences in your work? Other than painting I also spend time sailing in the summer months with my husband. The sea and coastal areas are brimming with inspiration. My eyes are constantly drawn to life a few inches underwater where abstract patterns seem to appear and then disappear in an instant. Some of the seaweeds that grow on the Brittany coast form extraordinary compositions just below the surface and are a constant inspiration. Can you take us through your creative process? My creative process starts with in depth studies into specific pigments and how they behave when poured to­ gether. I mix 5 or 6 colours in separate cups, pour them over each other or next to each other to create puddles of paint, and then manipulate the naturally occurring paint effects with a palette knife to create compositions. I never make sketches for my work because it is the organic patterns that naturally form in the poured paint that guide a final composition but the colours I select are often on deep sea or outer space images in my head. All of my work is essentially a series of happy accidents! v


Photggrapher: Gordon Parks

'Liquid Assets': Huge artwork ready for Daisy Green restaurant, Victoria, London One of the artist that inspires Nancy: Helen Frankenthaler





DREA MING OF NATURE Photo: Amber Goetz


I was in a room with brightly lit beams of light making trails across the ceiling like animated neon signs. I noticed three of the four walls were missing and it opened into a garden of brightly coloured flowers. The garden grew into the room and surrounded me, my feet dangling off the pale blue victorian chair I was sitting in. A quiet fire was burning in the fireplace and the smoke puffed up out the chimney into a night sky where a billion stars were shining and where gray and green planets suspended in space were sprinkled around. I woke up. Where do dreams come from? These surreal landscapes and images are buried somewhere in our mind, hiding. Waiting for us to meet them in an in-between place. A while ago I made it a point to travel more. To new locations around the world but also just around my state to where I’ve never been. There is a feeling of accomplishment. Being somewhere new not only inspires and pushes our imagination it actually grows our brain. Studies have shown that traveling promotes 44


neurogenesis by exposing your brain to new, novel, and complex environments. A study entitled ' How Art Changes Your Brain' showed that creating artwork gives enhanced connectivity in the brain. Engaging in art actually strengthens the neural pathways that control attention and focus. Experiencing the journey on a new walk to a heart-shaped rock on a perfect summer day. Seeing the sun shine through amber coloured trees and running our fingers along trees trunks covered in soft green moss and the carvings of people that’ve come before us. Breathing in the feeling of a brand new experience. It may not be the smart thing to do. It’s the thing we have to. I may not know the entire meaning of life here. But I can bet it’s not to simply make money. It’s to experience living. v




Art is subjective. Art is emotional and personal. I often hear disparaging words from my students, comparing their work to mine and that of their peers. The quality is irrelevant - I’ve heard it from people with all abilities, all ages - all types of people. Sure, maybe a little bit comes down to raw talent - but I do believe that everyone can learn to paint and/or draw - and that they don’t have to create a masterpiece for it to be successful. In fact, I don’t believe that art necessarily needs to be good to serve a purpose. Art has a purpose beyond public impression, hanging on our walls, and marketing. I believe that art can do the same thing for us that meditation, real self-care, and even therapy can. Thus, I started hosting the Wilderness Painting Class. The class is held at various locations in Angeles National Forest, with breathtaking mountain views and near complete silence. We begin the class with a little hike, followed by a guided meditation.

I'm an Illustrator, motorcyclist and

It is not a class meant to teach you traditional painting skills (though I do involve them), it’s meant to show you a new side to painting and to art in general. Art can release you from your anxiety. If you can release yourself from the expectations that it should look a certain way - it is my belief that you can let go of unhealthy expectations and judgement of yourself that you may be holding onto elsewhere in your life. v

paint, draw, and explore the woods.


animal welfare advocate. I hail from Minnesota and grew up lonely and wild, relating to animals more than humans. At an early age I started to Read all about how my adventures inspire my creativity in my column.

I think that art is like exercise, we aren’t all professional athletes - but we all need some form of it to stay healthy.




City biophile

Art by Nature featured Merel’s work the first time during the 2016 Dutch Design Week. When her newsletter came in the mail and I saw her wonderful designs, I couldn’t wait to share them with you, my readers.

In what way does nature play a role in your life? I consider myself a ‘biophile’. I truly love nature and would want to be surrounded by it all the time. But I’m a city dweller too, so I sometimes have to be creative in finding ways to meet my needs.

Project in progress Insecta pharma

What was your journey to becoming a creative? High school wasn’t the greatest success for me, I was always distracted, and spent more time drawing on my books than paying attention in class. Luckily I found an alternative route through creative education. I quit high school to become a goldsmith at 16. I fell in love with craftsmanship, but after graduating I started longing for more. So I complemented this with my bachelors degree in design at De Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In what way did creativity play a role in your childhood? I literally drew on everything when I was young, including some of the furniture at home. My parents always made sure to let me know that drawing, painting, creative writing, music and acting were as important as all the other school subjects and leading by example in being so, since they both worked as graphic designers at that time.



Project in progress Insecta pharma

Their pantone colour fan guides, kept in a dark drawer, were some of my favourite non-toys to play with. My mother taught me at a very young age how to design a paper or presentation on the computer. I guess the learning never stopped: she still helps me out with graphic design related technical things. My father recently bought me an analogue camera and continues to help me with develop some black and white photography skills. After graduating my first workshop was in my parentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attic and even though they might not always understand exactly what Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m aiming at they support me in everything and help where they can. Inspiration the illustrations of J.J. Grandville

Who and what inspires you and in what way? To me inspiration manifests itself in many forms. I never look at other artists to get inspired, but I can get very excited about the work of others. Especially when it resembles a similar way of thinking, or a similar passion.

Ring moon: gold, pearls, silver and resin


The creative process can get pretty intense and honestly, it feels a bit lonely at times. Basically everything creative can be inspiring, but the things that touch me the most are the personal identity or handwriting, the original way of thinking, open mindedness, in depth research or any other form of perfectionism, and attention to detail. During the past six months the art instal­ lation ’Na’ by Christian Boltanski at De Oude Kerk made my heart skip a beat, also the podcast series ’Revisionist History’ by Malcolm Gladwell; the documentary ’Defiant Ones’ about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre; the commercial movie for Apple’ ’Welcome Home’ by Spike Jonze, with dancer FKA Twigs and music by Anderson Paak; a live performance by the band ’Oh Sees’ at Het Patronaat; the exhibition ’Monsterdieren’ at Het Teylersmuseum; the animated film ’Incredibles 2’ produced by Pixar Animation Studios. Plus the re- discovery of old work: ’Cleaning pieces’ by Yoko Ono; some of the detailing in theme park ’De Efteling’; musical suite ‘Le Carnaval des Animaux’ by Camille Saint-Saëns, especially ’Le cygne’ (The Swan) with the dancing of Anna Pavlova and the illustrations of J.J. Grandville.

Inspiration the illustrations of J.J. Grandville

“THE CREATIVE PROCESS CAN GET PRETTY INTENSE AND HONESTLY TO ME IT FEELS A BIT LONELY AT TIMES." Can you take us through your creative process? I approach the creative process as I would extensive research. Before I can start the actual making, I spend hours reading and contemplating. Experimenting with material is also an important part of my design process. I translate my findings into all sorts of creations like handmade products, jewelry, artefacts, illustrations, and writings. v


Pendant monstera: silver and brass



next time

Craft Behind the scenes

Nature's column Genevieve Mariani


Photo doc

Gallery Special Nature's Wannahaves Dubai Edition

Through the eyes of

Profile for ArtByNatureMag

Number 8 Art by Nature Magazine