Being present is Dutch artist Marja Vink’s super power. One of the few constants in her life is maintaining constant motion. She floats through different phases of life, that couldn’t be more opposite to her earlier ones. Listening to Marja’s artistic approaches and her life attitude overall, feels truly natural and enriching. She asks the universe the questions and listens for the answers, with trust instinctively guiding her along the way.
Life before and after art school
Until she was in her 40s Marja lived a settled life in Noordwijk and worked in insurance. As soon as she took part in a local theatre club, she got in contact with the woman leading it. She played a great role in sparking inspiration for Marjas next phase of life. Marja reflects, “There was somebody thinking possibilities.“
At this point Marja’s life continued in a different dynamic. She describes it as a liberating process: the widening of her views and the perceiving of all these options. Being more and more in contact with creatives, her interest for art was growing. Marja speaks about physical reactions, like some sort of a black-out she experienced while being surrounded by artists. She took it as a sign. “I dont know what i am looking for, but i can find it there.“ She decided to trust her instincts and began studying art at the Gerrit Rietfeld Academie in Amsterdam.
The purpose of creating according to Marja
For Marja, the art school chapter was not about merely ‘producing‘. More important to her was connecting with the people she met in new spaces. Since the academy hosted a diverse student body representing 63 different nationalities, for Marja, “Art school was also a way of traveling.“ Above all, she is curious about what is already there: the surroundings, the people in them and their background. However she also focuses on her own development towards an open and conscious attitude. She is about asking questions and getting in touch with others through art. By experiencing all this, she finds her own way.
images by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by artist
In Marja’s case it is about engaging with and enjoying the process of working towards a piece of art. Talking to her I learn once again, that being an artist is not always about focusing on a final product. She recalls her teachers at the time, which were always asking her to do more. At the same time many of the artworks would end up in the rubbish after the exhibtions. Marja didn’t want to contribute to this kind of approach, “That is not my way, I was thinking less is more.“
In Brug0421 Marja cleaned the bridge near her art school, which had often been used for a variety of purposes. Day after day, she showed up at the same spot, without any particular goal in mind, but to do something, just for the sake of it. “I was simply there and if something happens, something happens,“ she recalls. Soon she got to know a variety of people and discovered interesting situations and conversations in the everyday life around her. She was often confronted with confusion, which was part of her intention.
“The not-so-obvious awareness of what is happening, I like that.“
Brug0421 shows how Marja‘s approach to art is to commit to an idea and show perseverance. Simultaneously she seems to be in a fluid process, staying open to any possible outcome.
Marja’s inner compass
After graduating, Marja explored different settings outside of the art landscape. Among other things she had planned to bike through Japan solo. Following her inner compass she ended up in Gent doing something completely different, namely working and living with the differently abled at the organisation De Ark. Then she left it all to live out of her van, which she still does today.
I curiously ask her about the Japan plan.
She didn’t do it after all, she tells me. But there was no need to pursue the idea. It was more about getting in motion. Some will say, dropping the idea of going to Japan means failure. With Marja it seems totally easy to follow a dream, but not to hold on to it stubbornly when the decides on something else instead. That’s part of the gift of being able to listen to and be in the now.
We look forward to sharing her distinctively warm energy in the 54th round of PILOTENKUECHE.
written by Marlene Neumaier
Keep up with the latest from Marja through her website or catch up with her at one of our upcoming shows.
Vernissage 18 Feb 7-10 PM
Open Sun 19, Sat 25, Sun 26 Feb 4-8 PM
Vernissage 18 March 7-10 PM
Open Sun 19 – Wed 22 Mar 4-8 PM