Interview with Artist Anna van den Hoevel

by Manuel Ringlstetter
styled by Deborah Deluca
Hair & MakeUp by Sabrina Aigner

When was your first experience with art:

Anna: Well my aunt was an Artist as well. She worked with acrylic paint and aquarells. But I think as long as can remember i was drawing. Actually since I was able to hold a pencil. The whole thing with the abstract art started when I was going to a Montessori school. I had an open art room which I could always go to and try out all sorts of materials. People say I do art with trash because I use so many materials. The art classes at Montesorri schools are always open. You can always go there when ever you feel like and even skip math classes for it. Laughs… At other schools the pressure, the teachers where just not the right thing for me. I´m really happy that my parents saw that and sent me there. We did lots of school trips, like crossing the alps on bycicles and stuff like that. Really good memories.

After that i went to a tough international business school in England. It was a Quaker school I studied art there for 4 years. It was always open courses and was really quite difficult to get A grade there in art. laughs…

Do you work now as an artist full time?

Anna: Yes i don´t do anything else.

Do you feel any pressure on your creativity with this all being part of your job?

Anna: No, not at all! But I´m young, I´m sure that can come sometime.

There is certainly a lot of pressure on me with all the things on my schedule, but I cannot feel that in my creativity. I feel so blest to be able to do art. Right now I don´t even have so much time to paint and do my art. There are so many other things to be organised around it.

Did you ever feel any pressure to become something „serious“ like studying law or stuff like that?

Well of course I had some pressure and I also put a lot of pressure on myself as well. I studied economics but it just wasn´t the right thing for me. I had to find out that myself. Also my parents had to find out that in a process.. laughs…

I mean i was traveling a lot after my time in England and also did lot´s of art while i was traveling. But it all needed to sink in. I cannot say that my parents didn´t support me. That wouldn´t be fair. They always supported me. But I guess they were not the happiest in the beginning after i came back from England saying that business was probably not the right thing for me. As many kids i started a lot of things. So my parents just needed to see that I was really serious about being an artist. It was a difficult phase. Most of the pressure I have is coming from myself. I know that i don´t want to be anything else than an artist and there is no way back for me. There is just one way forward, nothing else!

Why do you create?

To give something back – and it just pleases me to have something in my hands and work with it. But it is sometimes hard to express myself with words regarding what i feel or what´s going on in my head. I wasn´t always an open person. I think art helps me to show a bit of my inside. On my first solo exhibition I was so scared. Oh my god, it was so difficut to watch people looking at my art and judging it. I mean if somebody stands there and looks at one of my pictures and truly says he or she doesn´t feel anything, or it´s just not his thing. That can be really tough but I´m ok with it. I guess feedback is a really important thing if it´s positive or negative. Actually feedback cannot ever be a negative thing. You can take it and do something with it or not. It´s up to you.

I´m totaly with you. Because i believe that speech or language is actually the biggest limitation of thought and creativity. When you look at what music or art can communicate is way beyond language, right?

Anna: Yes so true! I think there are different layers and with words you cannot reach certain layers. Of course there are great poets out there but it just doesn´t work for me and I think art is meant to come and reach different layers of your perception and feelings.

How is your creative process? Does it start with a big idea in your head or is it from scribbles or impressions of your traveles? How does it start?

Anna: Well guess that structures are a really important thing for me. I have this favour for structures. If i go to the mountains, to a beach or diving in the sea or sometimes just looking at the ground is very exciting for me.

I just love structures! I guess that´s why I use so many different materials. I do take a lot of photos from the birdview to store and capture landscape structures. This combined with my mind is i guess how the creative process starts and that´s where i get my ideas for future projects.

On planes i can spent hours looking at the structures of the earth and the clouds. While other people arealready sleeping i can´t stop staring at all these amazing structures and colors. Laughs..

That brings me to my next question. It comes from avery interesting study in quantum physics, the EPR Paradoxon. Which says once 2 Atoms meet they can become entangled and can communicate instantiously no matter where they are in the universe. Sounds complicated, but it basically means that we can become connected to places, people and other things once we met them.

You name your pictures like places you have visited. Do you think you are some how connected to these places?

Anna: I certainly believe that I have my history at these places and I also believe that we can have a higher bond or connection to places but especially to people.

Do you have any rituals or habits of how you create your art? Do you listen to music or stuff like that?

Anna: Well there is no special habit or ritual. I sometimes do listen to music but most of the time it has to be quiet because there is so much stuff going on in my head anyway. I like it quiet. When I create I´m in this kind of tunnel, this flow where I loose track of time and don´t realize anything else. When I was in school I sometimes couldn´t leave my picture that i was working on. And when I had to and I was out with my friends I couldn´t stop thinking of my picture and had to go back at night and see it. And then I was even dreaming about it and it just never ends.

I guess that just means your subconscious mind is always working on the pictures and tries to find the solutions for it.

Right now I use so many different materials and also chemical reactions in paintings which can take a lot time. So I have to leave my pictures for a few days or weeks but they are alway in my head. And when i come back it turns out it looks totaly different than it hought or the reaction failed and I have to start a new layer or try it again. It can be a frustrating process. Sometimes you just cannot figure out what it is that´s missing to finish the painting. Then I put it asside and let it be. And maybe after 2 years you pick it up and you know what to do.

You have this collaboration with a shoe label called „mime et moi“. How did that come a long?

Anna: They where actually searching for an artist and wanted to do an art project for their product. And they luckily found me. Their products all have different names of places like „L.A“ just like my paintings do. That was a good connection.

Could you picture yourself as a fashion designer?

That´s a funny question! Well my style can vary and change so much from day to day. I always had this favour for really random stuff and outfits. Laughs… I can remember this one jacket.. oh i loved it.. it was a fluffy jacket, really long, to my knees. It was so fluffy and pink! Laughs... but I was wearing it and loved it. I would love to do fashion I guess. I´m not able to draw proper fashions sketches but there is always a way I guess. So if someone wants to do fashion with me. Here I am! Laughs..

Last week we did a shooting together in your atelier! Our stylist (Deborah Deluca) came up with this really cool austrian fashion label called „ananlondre“. I think it was quite an amazing fit for you and your art. How did you like the outfits and could you identify with it?

Oh I loved the outfits from „ananlondre“ I could totaly indentify with it and I really liked the colors of the outfits.

Is fashion important for you to express yourself?

Well sometimes it is and sometimes I don´t give a shit. I actually don´t think a lot about what I wear. I just put really random stuff together in a style. I guess that is me. But it isn´treally important for me. But i still believe a piece of fabric or a jacket can become a part of your identity for a while. That´s why i have things in my closet that i could never give a way. Well i actually can´t give a way anything!

Laughs.. i´m not a messy but i´m a collector. I sometimes think oh well i keep it and maybe use it in a painting. I certainly love the physically about things. That´s why I always want a paper backprint of a book. I just need to smell it and feel it.

We live now in a society where everything seems to be in the cloud and is bought in abonnements. People are not the physical owners any more, what do think about that?

Well I certainly want to own things. laughs…I´m not a renting person.

Are psychedelics an inspiration source for you?

Well I can´t say i haven´t tried psychedelics. laughs.. I´m a very curious person and I have to try things in order to make my own mindset on topics. But I´m absolutely not interrested in working while being on psychedelics. It hink it can open the mind and the senses but it all depends on the person the setting and the whole experience. It can surely make you a different person. But in some circumstances it can go badly wrong. So I would never recommend it to anybody. It´s a personal thing which everybody has to decide themselves. But I certainly believe that you can gain a deeper groundbreaking understanding of life in this universe I definately believe that. But psychedelics are powerful tools and I´m not saying let´s all take psychedelics. laughs…

So what´s going on in the future Anna? What about 2020?

Well i have quite a few exhibition coming in the nex weeks in Munich, Hamburg and Karlsruhe. And next year I´m going to L.A. To do my first solo exhibtion there! Very exciting.

So Anna is going international, fantastic!

Anna:  Yeah it´s coming to that. Laughs… Thanks Anna! It was a pleasure to shoot this project with you and have this nice interview with you.

Thank you! I´m really looking forward seeing more of your great inspiring work.

Photography: Manuel Ringlstetter / / instagram:@manuringo

Styling: Deborah Deluca / / instagram:@deborah_deluca_styling

Hair & Make up: Sabrina Aigner / instagram: @sternhhanna

Model & Artist: Anna van den Hoevel / @arthoevelvanden_