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Today we talk to Frederique Bruijnen, who is a visual artist from The Netherlands. A few years ago, she decided to follow her heart and made a career switch to become an artist. In this article, we dive deeper into what her journey has been like, who she is and what her workplace is all about!
For as long as I can remember, I have been drawing and painting. As a young student, I was not brave enough to pursue an education in Art, so I chose a different career in corporate business in the field of recruitment.
In 2012 my husband, our two babies and I moved to Buenos Aires, it was a big adventure. I underestimated what it would be to be on the other side of the world, out of my comfort zone, not speaking the language, full-time mother and no family and friends around us. A very very challenging time, and more than often, I felt I wanted to go home. I was used to a full-time career, and so much of my identity hung onto my work.
As a full-time mother to a toddler and young baby, in a strange country, the painting classes I joined became my lifesaver. I met new people, I learnt to speak Spanish, “poco,” and I felt I had an original purpose. This new purpose, next to being a Mom, was essential to me to be able to adapt to this new life. It gave me so much energy, joy and inspiration!
Some years later, when we moved back to The Netherlands, I felt a deep motivation to proceed with painting classes and to give my old dream a new try. In 2017, I applied for the Orientation Year of the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, a renowned Art school, and luckily, I got accepted. This was another life changer for me, compared to corporate life that I was so familiar with, I felt delighted to be in such a creative environment with inspiring people. During this year, I learned a lot about conceptual thinking and about making something of nothing by regarding trash as materials for significant installations and artworks.
At the end of 2018, I reached the point of no return. It was so clear to me that it was time to change my life, to quit my job and become a full-time artist. This had been a long and challenging process, full of insecurities and doubts, and when my father got ill, and I was stressed in my job, it became crystal clear. Life is too short not to live it to the fullest.
I am proud of where I am right now. I have experienced what it feels like to do what you love. There is an extensive stock of energy, inspiration and courage that I am discovering and experiencing along the way. I could have stayed on the safe side with my office job; now, however, I feel I am on ‘my own stage’ living my life and following my heart. Step by step, I am getting more self-confident, and I hope to inspire others, and most especially my daughters, to follow their hearts.
My work can be related to Abstract Expressionism, an expression of emotions. I start without any planning upfront and focus on the process of creating, free of rules and full of spontaneous action. A joyful experiment and I play with materials and techniques, and I just see where it ends up. I want to give the viewer total freedom to feel and think of my work however they see it – no restraints and no direction, so they too can experience a bit of what the process of creation has been like.
I want to continue on the artistic road, allowing me to follow my true passion. Next to making art, I also practice sports (I love tennis, some boot camp to stay fit and some yoga to ease my mind) and I spend a lot of time outside in nature which ‘literally’ gives me fresh air and new inspiration.
Last year, I was able to rent my own studio, which allows me to ‘go to work’ rather than tinkering at home in the attic. I feel an enormous drive to go for it, not to be afraid anymore, and to believe in and trust myself. I think I killed the inner critic for a big part.
Creating is a strong first need I have. As long as I can make and create – I feel happy.
My ultimate dream is to exhibit in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and to be a recognized artist. However, I am already living my dream – doing what I like most, with a serious approach. So, I hope to be able to continue with my journey in the years to come and keep developing myself as an artist, both technically and conceptually.