Ellen van Teijlingen, The Hidden Artist That Will Always Look At You!
“A portrait doesn’t have to be a face, it can be every part of the body as long as it is all about you”.
This sentence can be found on the website of Ellen van Teijlingen and intruiged us to get to know more about this artist. Luckily, Ellen invited the accessART team into her house and studio. Ellen is also known as Ellen Art Ist and makes a wide variety of artworks such as collages, paintings, spray paintings ! It was such a great experience to discover how and where this Dutch artist makes her art. Today we are more than happy to share with you that moment.
Forever an artist
Ellen Art Ist is from the Netherlands and comes from a family of artists. Her mother is a photographer and her uncle is a drawer. It’s been in her family forever and it seems that Ellen was born to be an artist. Already at 7 years old she was drawing horses with shades, and she would do it night and day. For everyone it was natural that Ellen joined the art school later on in life.
However, she was very young when she joined art school, only 18 years old. And at that time, she didn’t like being at the art school at all. She tells “it wasn’t for me, I stayed one year and left. It developed me a little bit though”. After that, the Dutch artist went to “Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten” to become an art teacher. Ellen is now a teacher at the International school of Amsterdam.
“I’m teaching people from 4 years old to 56 years old. I also do private teaching. I always challenge my students in a harsh way. When they make a painting, I take a brush and paint over it! It’s always funny. But the goal is for them to go over, it becomes even better!”.
Ellen Art Ist her influences
Ellen van Teijlingen has created her own style over the years. Yet, she was influenced by several artists. She really loves the Dutch hyper realist Carel Willinck and Salvador Dali. Ellen is a dreamer, just like these famous artists, and she wanted to represent those dreams on canvas, but hyperrealism wasn’t what she liked to do.
Just as many artists, Ellen went through many phases before finding her path. She went from pop art, portrait, and collages to what she is now. She explains, “It’s hard to define what I am doing. It’s a collage but not at the same time, I paint on it. There are so many layers”. Ellen sometimes starts with a sketch, with spray paint, or directly with a collage. She always gets inspired by photographs that she takes herself or finds on the internet. “I’m a photographer as well, if I see something really nice, I stop my car and take a photograph”. Every day life scenes can inspire her.
The great thing about collage artists is that they always use tons of different materials! Same goes for Ellen. She uses papers and materials for her collages that she gets from everyone who knows her, even at her school. Her paintings are exposed in the entrance, so people know her. They give her materials such as magazines, newspapers or gold paper. But she also goes out and searches for her materials herself, “I’ve just been to the USA, I grabbed all the airline books I could find”. Ellen also has more special and different papers to use, like antic paper from China or Japan. Apart from using pieces of paper, to finish of her collages she paints on the work with paint or spray paint.
Understanding her work
After understanding more about Ellen’s background, we came to the point where we wanted to take a closer look at her work. She took a piece of art from her wall to give us a close-up look. The artwork on the picture below is one of the latest she made. It shows a collage that consists of a woman made of many pieces. But, if we would turn over the work we would see the artwork differently. From one side the woman was laying and from the other side she was sitting down. On another layer there was Marilyn Monroe. We could notice the numerous layers that we wouldn’t see at first sight!
“That’s the essence of my work”, Ellen tells us with a smile. In her studio, we discovered many more artworks and we could recognise familiar faces. Indeed, Ellen likes to use famous women figures such as Marilyne Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
Next to the different sides of the artwork, the artist also revealed that in her work there is always a part of her (literally!). The piece Ellen was showing us, contains her own eyes! She printed a selfie of her and placed her eyes in the collage. “I am always looking at you!” she exclaimed.
Then, to our delight, Ellen starts to work on one of her artworks in front of us! We we witnesses a special moment: the connection between the audience and the artist. Ellen Art Ist is in a period in which she loves”Ballet”. She loves dancers ballet, “I like women. I always use women shapes”. She uses ballet pictures. However, we notice that on the canvas she puts a picture of a bald man in black and white. When we ask her about this, she said mysteriously: “in a couple of hours you won’t see that man anymore”.
The last question we asked her, was how long an artwork could take her to make. We find out that the longest took her 20 years! Or course, it’s not 20 years everyday we understand. But when Ellen gets tired of working on it, she puts it in a corner and comes back at it a couple of years later. A piece is never finished, only when she sells it. “If it stays here, I would go again and again. I can recycle my work. I’m weird but I like it!” she said.