Nina Vandeweghe (1988) is a contemporary artist from Belgium who graduated from KASK, Ghent, Belgium in 2012 where she studied painting and illustration.
Working in an expressive and illustrative style, Nina Vandeweghe has a preference for naive forms.
She usually constructs her compositions with fictional, cartoon-ish characters that seem to only just fit within the boundaries of the pictorial plane.
Her work gains depth and complexity from the sequences of layer upon layer from which the images emerge.
In doing so, she reuses forms, fragments, and colors from previous works.
This creates a vocabulary that is spontaneous and playful but also acts as a memory of the creative process.
I've always known that I wanted to be an artist. From time to time my mother quotes me, 'I want to do something with my hands', I was 12.
My cheeks always turn red after hearing this sentence.
At that age it was time to choose a new school and study.
So my parents sent me to art school.
As a 12 year old kid, every day I took the bus and I went to the big city of Brussels to begin my then not yet existing life as an artist.
Actually I was destined, or you can say doomed, to become an artist.
My grandfather was one of the pioneers in ceramics in Belgium. And my dad is an artist too.
So I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
I started out as an illustrator and developed a bold and figurative style that still permeates my more conceptual production today.
Progressively I distanced myself from commercial and commissioned work in order to evolve a practice as a painter.
Social media, especially Instagram contributed a lot to my practice.
At first it got me assignments as an illustrator. It was a direct way to get work.
Later as a painter social media can be a replacement for the white cube.
It is a nice approach to show your work to a wide audience. Also it spreads you work way faster.
During the pandemic I'm taking the time to take a break.
It is a forced break.
I needed to slow down my life in every way.
I was doing too much and I was having stress without even knowing it.
Result, I've got insomnia and out of this an anxiety disorder developed.
I'm having the hardest time of my life actually.
My body has completely given up.
I can't even begin to explain how horrible it is to accept that there is a new me with all these symptoms that don't belong to me.
So now I'm just looking for solutions to get back on track.
Slowly I will start painting again. I look forward to it. I miss it a lot.
My studio in Brussels is my safe space, there I can work in isolation, which is needed to focus.
While I'm painting I get so concentrated, the whole outside world doesn't exist anymore.
It is just me and paintings.
My pictorial work often takes language as a starting point.
Excerpts of text, a word, a sentence, or a quote, are the trigger for a new work.
Word play and snippets of text lay the foundations for a playful visual vocabulary.
From the interaction between image and text (whether inscribed within the image itself or in the title) a comical meaning emerges.
A recent series bears witness to such logic, as the titles follow a rule of alliteration: Greedy Grabber (2020), Bad Boy Belongings (2020), Heavy Head (2020).
While the title and the image initially seem to contradict each other, they hold the potential to reveal hidden associations or meaning in an often humorous way.
You ask if I strive for success. Doesn't everyone want to be successful? Being successful for me doesn't mean I have to be a major famous artist.
I just would like to keep growing as an artist and to have an audience, big or small.
But the feeling of being able to grow, evolve towards new goals is important to me.
Now i'm preparing for a new project.
It starts with a book, Le Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues.
In the series “Dictionary of Ready-made Ideas”, I use a methodology that consists of beginning the creative process with a text.
Made in collaboration with the Belgo-Dutch author and filmmaker Nina de Vroome, the series is a reinterpretation, or perhaps rather a “21st century update” of Gustave Flaubert’s posthumously published “Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues” (1911-13).
The resulting series will be comprise large-format paintings, informed by Nina de Vroome’s textual practise.
Now I'm showing some collages in a group show at Galerie Slika in Lyon, France till 4th of April 2021
A lot of things are coming up, but first, I'm waiting for my sleep to come back. :)
www.ninavandeweghe.be (There will be a new, updated website soon)
A very big thank you to the wonderful Nina Vandeweghe for sharing her work and her story with us.