Jantina Peperkamp: It’s What You Make It


Originally published on Visionary Artistry Mag with photos here: http://www.visionaryartistrymag.com/2015/06/jantina-peperkamp-its-what-you-make-it/

Sometimes art just grabs you. Though you may be drawn to a particular technique or medium, there’s that occasional piece that jumps out at you. You don’t always know what it is, but you’re hooked. Jantina Peperkamp is an artist that creates those type of pieces.

Peperkamp is a Dutch artist who is becoming known for her photorealism paintings. Her subjects come to life on the canvas. By staring into the eyes of one of these subjects, you might forget that you are looking at a painting in the first place and not staring into the soul of another human being.

Though the final project is striking, the artistry comes out in Peperkamp’s process. She chooses a model, but not just any person. Peperkamp must be able to relate to the model. Her creative process begins by taking a photo of the model, then she creates a sketch of that image. She also chooses acrylics on wooden panels to create the final version.

Her process is very methodical and almost scientific. However, seeing the end result, that absolute final piece of work, is almost like a sacred experience. In a portrait called “Balloon,” the subject is staring at the viewer intently through blue/green eyes. She’s blowing up a robin’s egg blue balloon with inflated cheeks covered in asymmetrical freckles. Her hands are holding the opening of the balloon very tentatively, and the wrinkles and creases on her palms and fingers are worn from the precise movements that caused them.

It’s the small details that make Peperkamp’s work so dynamic. The freckles and wrinkles are so meticulously placed on the subject that it begins to look real. The look in the girl’s eyes comes piercing through the canvas. It’s not just the subject matter that comes across as being so vivid. Even finer details like shading show how Peperkamp’s technique adds to the overall effect of the artwork.

In another piece called “Ropes,” the subject is, again, staring down the viewer. Only this time, there are ropes painted across her face with one hand pulled up, two fingers gently resting against the piece of the rope as if she’s about to pull. She looks very similar to the girl in “Balloon,” but perhaps several years older. This is actually a self portrait of the artist. There’s an intensity and urgency in her slightly wrinkled eyes. Just next to the hand holding the rope, there’s shadowing under her eye and over her cheeks. This adds a little depth and darkness to the image, leaving you to believe that there might be something else going on here.

The “meaning” of her work is something that Peperkamp leaves up to her audience. She realizes that people have their own interpretations of art. She also wants to leave everything as is and let her audience have a go at what they believe is going on behind those captivating eyes. “My paintings are interpreted in many ways. I think this is very special and I do not feel the desire to interfere in this meaning. A painting can mean eternal sorrow to one person, while [another] viewer finds hope in the same painting. Both opinions are legitimate; of course, these are the feelings of the spectator,” the artist explained on her website. Not only is the interaction with the audience a key role, there’s also an importance placed on the relationship between the artist and her model. Whatever potential occurs between Peperkamp and her model, that is what will come across in the final piece.

“The final result is established by the energy that arises between the artist and her model, as the artist functions as observer and as identifier,” Juxtapoz Magazine writes about Peperkamp’s work.

From the energy between Peperkamp and her models, to the dialogue between the art and the audience, this artist has given her viewers an interactive experience. With no right or wrong answer, whatever you are currently feeling can be the meaning behind the artwork. The audience is engaged, and more artists can become inspired because of this dynamic.

-Geneva Toddy

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