Reflective essay on your work


Art is my passion and at first I wanted to become ‘a great artist.’ That was my wish when I was 10 years old, when I saw a beautiful painting of a ballerina. Our assignment for today was to draw something about Christmas break. Each student got a different word, using the definition of the word to combine it with your work. The point was to try something different than we have done before. “Oeuvre”, is the body of work of the artist or an author, or simply a work of art. I was very happy to get this term because it is the kind of word to which anyone can relate too. I decided to use a big black sharpie to make the edges of the line appear rougher, since I usually love to draw with thin and fine lines.

What I did during My Christmas break is that I created my own working space in my old brothers room that is no longer being used . My brother is still living in Holland so it wasn’t a problem. My drawing was about the fact that I spent my entire Christmas break drawing and sketching everything that I found inspiring when I was a teenager, now that I finally have time to do it. My drawing is actually quite simple, but I loved it and I’m pretty sure that from it I can create another amazing drawing. On the drawing I drew myself sitting in the center in a yoga or mediating like pose. My face is relaxed and content, and you see several drawings floating around, connected by wires to me. With various drawings floating around me, in the background I added a door which represents ‘the exit.’ The door also depicts where I’ve come from; the university and eventually at IBB, whenever I’m being creative I forget about my surroundings and I focus on my work until I’m finished. I decided to rip off the sharp edges of my drawings because it made my work look too edgy and perfect, so I wanted to remove that look.

I sketched new things, redrew old drawings using my improved skills, and used references on the side to help me when I need it. Its fun to explore when you have your own work space. I used to have my working supplies in a box and stowed away in my closet, and they will be unused until I needed them. Putting my art supplies away in a box makes my inspiration harder to find. Sometimes I ended up buying things I already have. I felt empty when I saw my old abandoned works, which I had put aside to make time for my studies . I always loved and admired other artist for having their supplies neatly organized, racks on racks right next to their desk. These are usually professional artist working in their office, often crammed with plenty of coloring pencils, brushes, pencils, markers and paint tubes. I didn’t have enough space in my room, but what I didn’t notice is that these artist working space isn’t necessarily their bedroom. It wasn’t until I was at IBB I realized I could simply move into a new room and use that as an Atelier.

Stressed and tired of hours studying, I used to see art as a cash cow and quickly make money during my teen years. This idea has gotten worse after my car accident in 2007. I was a student at VSBO Marnix college. Ever since this accident, I slowed down with painting. After hours of working on a painting my shoulder starts hurting a lot, and to make it worse, I had to study on so I wouldn’t fall behind with school work. Because of this, I eventually started cartooning, working for the Amigoe news paper. Without thinking I jumped into a career I knew very little about, eager for having a job in art. Again I had to struggle combining school and my art lifestyle. I was interviewed three times during my stint as a cartoonist. My first interview was online by Carolina Gomez –Caresses of 1000awesomethingsofCuracao, my second was at Go Weekly, my third at Hoben Posetivo. Usually I dislike talking about this type of things because I’m afraid life would jinx it, I dislike showing off. But hiding and keeping things to myself also limited myself greatly. I was interviewed once again after winning third place for a coffee shop challenge. However, In the end, I had to stop working for the newspaper.

The reason why it is important for me is that my only focus now is to express myself and rebuild my world that I have left behind. Now I no longer worry about being good or being paid for what I make, but simply create as much as I can. My experiences opened my eyes and I no longer focus on what I get in return, but simply my development. IBB saved my life, and of course anything I have studied before paid off as well. All this time, I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost. I notice some first year students already became second year students, I now my goal is to work even harder so I can develop my art and working process.

Ethany Martina

It Is What It Is

An impression of the work experience during project Nick and Simon- ‘OPEN’


Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle. (Foto:

Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle. (Foto:

The project started with the selected eight visual artists who have let themselves get inspired by the songs of Nick and Simon’s new album titled ‘OPEN’. Each artist began to work based on one or more songs by the duo. The goal of this exhibition was to make a connection between music and fine art. After research and meetings with the director of museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, artists David Bade and Tirzo Martha decided that it would be a great opportunity to participate in this project. The arrangements of the project were clear and the goal was to collaborate with students from Cibap Zwolle and IBB alumni to create four stages, or better said, four installations.

A large group of students worked together with Tirzo Martha to build the foundation of these installations. After the first week into the project it became clear that the workshops with local students wasn’t planned well enough and thus the rest of the project continued with only IBB alumni and mentors Tirzo Martha, David Bade, and Fiona Henriquez for the duration of October 27th until November 20th 2015. Despite this miscommunication the project proceeded with a great working atmosphere in which the installations grew into an intriguing whole. This was very contrasting with the environment of the museum. The following report will give you a concise impression of the experiences acquired through the project Nick and Simon- ‘OPEN’.

Understanding life a bit better with IBB (a quote on one of the sculptures)

Various IBB alumni came to work daily on the installations which created a rotation effect on the project. Each person had their own input in their own manner which was not only based on the inspiration of the songs by Nick and Simon. The work also formed itself into each individual creation. Next to each stage a specific song continuously played through speakers where viewers could gain a better understanding of the working method by students and mentors. By working in the middle of the museum we also got the chance to talk individually with the viewers to explain what we were doing and would often lead to conversations on personal topics. This method of working was a well fit for IBB in which interventions of art and the social element stand central.



IBB alumni werken aan de verschillende podia

An example of this was when David had a conversation with a man who appeared to be a total fan of his work and the IBB institute. A moment like this is certainly unique because this individual had the opportunity to talk with the artist while he was standing and working on his piece. Or like the moment while I was painting on one of the installations and a man asked what the work was about. In this conversation I discovered that this 85 year old man was endlessly working on his creative process to reach a minimalistic result in his work. We both started to laugh because I had previously mentioned how minimalistic art intrigued me while my previous work was more figurative.


David Bade in gesprek met een bezoeker.

These conversations happened regularly and organically because of the interaction between the workers and the public. The very present coffee bar in the beautiful dome hall created even more attention and triggered a certain ‘passive participation’. This was a fascinating experience for me, especially because people tend to stand still for a second and take in the work and/or try to understand it. The discussions between the viewers were often questioning if the installation could be considered to be art or not. It is of course clear that people attend museums in the hope to admire and analyze “beautiful art”, but what do we really see and define as “beautiful art”?. A subject which contains both little and a lot to debate on because each individual has their own opinion and has the right to express this as well. That is why we hope to have reached the public with this project to let people think not only about art, but about life as well.

David Bade/N&S and the new Perspective/A4/Acrylpaint on paper.     

David Bade/N&S and the new Perspective/A4/Acrylpaint on paper.

It is what is is

The four songs by Nick and Simon were playing endlessly, of which each song was based by its matching stage/sculpture basis. ‘Het is was het is’(‘It is what it is’) was one of the famous songs of which I was able to sing along by the end of this project. For me this song was the most relevant with the process of our work in the museum because it can be explained as simple as ‘It is what it is’. Most of the viewers expected a more elaborate explanation of the work in which the individual does not give himself/herself the space to experience to analyze or understand what they are witnessing.

In my opinion this installation was the ultimate challenge for Museum de Fundatie and her public to let go of the so-called ‘beautiful art’. We hope that they have experienced something totally different, something totally out of the ordinary. When going to the exhibition, visitors had to take the elevator to the third floor. Upon exiting the doors they were immediately confronted with the installations. Often I would hear “wow this is so great how they are working here in the middle of the museum”, or “Is this really art?”, and “well you don’t see this everyday”. No matter how different the opinions were, this project has certainly left various impressions on the public. An example of the connection between fine arts and music can be read in the following lyrical fragment of Nick and Simon’s song “It is what it is”:

“…if everything will be OK

in the near future

it stays a common quest

and I turn into the limbo..”

We each try to understand life a bit better by our individual journeys. Art allows people to interpret life in various ways and for artists to express everything with their talent. The more we see and experience the more knowledge we will gain, not only for art but also to try to understand life. Eventually this report comes to its final conclusion,

It is what it is.

November 2015, Fiona Henriquez