CS Coates & Scarry

The works of Femke Hiemstra


Q: Where in the world are you from?
Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Q: What is the inspiration for your work?
That can be anything, really. From something that I experienced personally -speaking to friend with a weird nickname or finding a wounded bird on the street- to a music lyric or a line in a movie. But mostly I get inspired by visual art and design. There are the usual suspects like the art of Hieronymus Bosch and Max Ernst, but I also find the more anonymous work a rich source. Like the nameless designers of match book cover art from last century or the black and white scraper drawings from the Victorian era. This all nests in my mind and at one point they ask each other to dance and so a new work is born.


Q: Did you go to Art school?
I graduated at the School of Arts in Utrecht, The Netherlandslineoffate.jpg


Q: How long does it take, on average, to complete a piece of work?
It depends on the size and the complexity but about a week to three weeks.


Q: Your work surfaces are varied, how do you decide what will make a good background for a piece of work?
I pick a background by feel. I often work on old surfaces like book covers and antique wooden panels. I have to do some tests beforehand to see if the water based paint will behave.


Q: What are your favorite mediums to work with and why?
Acrylics, colour pencils and graphite pencils. I've been using Acrylics since art school. I can bend it any way I want from thin, water colour like to fat, pasty oil style like paint. The pencils are great for structures and drawing the finer lines. Black & white graphite work is also fun because it can be almost meditative to do. No colour decisions to be made, just drawing smooth gradients.inkedbanana.jpg


Q: Your work is based on a variety of ‘anthropomorphized animals (or inanimates)’, what animals do you paint prefer to paint and why?
That's a tough question because I find all animals very fascinating. But if it comes down to a top three I would have to go for cats and dogs and horses. Those are the animals I can 'read' the best.


Q: What are you working on at the moment?
I’m painting a panel. It's a smaller work; it's about a dog at sea. The composition is quite empty. And that's kind of new for me being horror vacui-ish. But I like where it's going.


Q: You are giving a lecture at the upcoming Pictoplasma Conference, What is the conference about and can you tell us a bit more on what you will be talking about?
Pictoplasma is a conference on character design and art and it will be held in Berlin, upcoming April. When I was still a freelance illustrator I went to see the first conference. It was a three day full program of lectures and presentations and workshops on characters, made for mostly commercial assignments. When I was asked to give a talk myself I had a few doubts; is this the right place for me to be with the kind of work I make now? But when I have to describe what my paintings are about I can't do that without terms like 'characters' and 'inanimates'. So even though I walk around in a different scene nowadays, I do think I’m a right fit for that conference. I will be talking about my work, inspiration, technique and tell a few stories and show a bunch of work. I'm looking forward to it. 

Q: If not a career in art, then what else would you likely have done?
I would have been a helicopter pilot, or singer/guitarist/drummer in a bad ass band.



Q: What do you like most about your work?
Freedom is the first thing that comes to mind. And the playfulness of it all, creating, painting and drawing. When the fun is gone I'm going for that helicopter license after all!

Bopeep Drawing 

Q: Where is your favorite place to shop?
The US, London, the internet



Q: What would be your perfect gift?
A vintage little character doll/critter, like a ‘Dakko-chan’ for example. But anything else, slightly awkward or obscure, would be appreciated.


Q: What do you do to relax?
Er... paint?

And in the time left I go to the movies or concerts, cook for friends, do sports, go to my favorite DJ and dance, and take my bike for a spin.


To see more of Femke's work click here

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