Ellis de Jong
I started painting the day I was handed a brush, but I have now been active at De Vinken for four years. Although I have always drawn compulsively, there came a point after a long period of severe depression when I lost all my creativity. This was, as it were, like a minor bereavement. I eventually found De Vinken, though I am still working on regaining an important part of myself. In the beginning, I found it very difficult to let go of my academic background and allow myself to choose fairy tale-type subjects. Also, I can choose to draw as many birds as I want. I have no illusions about art with a capital A, my aim is to satisfy a personal need I apparently have. I hurry less and less, experience increasingly less pressure and have less and less to prove. And my work is evidently thriving on this.
The techniques I use now are linocut, dry needle and zinc etching.
I have never exhibited, except for the bi-annual open days at De Vinken.
I am interested in ornithology and popular culture. Although I am not religious myself, I do find the area of tension between history, folklore and magic that I see in people’s devotion interesting.
Nothing was made up in the “Saints” series. They are all real saints, but not necessarily official saints. Some, like Sara e Kali and Guinefort, have nothing to do with the Catholic faith. They are the relics of something older. The relationship between holiness and (mental) health is addressed and there are a few stories that I found humorous. Humour, black or otherwise, has an important place in art for me.
Nature is, of course, an endless source of inspiration: the fragility of it, and the proximity of life and death. I have something about birds, fragile creatures, full of nervous life.
Practising this artistic activity is an important part of the healing process, and a fulfilment that I desperately need. This is literally a matter of life and death.
- De Vinken - Lange Lozanastraat 60-62 2018 Antwerpen