Full disclosure: I am a collector of Hanneke de Neve’s work. I am a fan of her work and her work ethic. She is a non-stop bundle of artistic energy. She can make work in any medium, yet with a signature style all her own.
Hanneke de Neve is represented by The Artful Deposit Gallery in Bordentown and 1st Dibs Gallery in NYC. A Hamilton resident, she will be showing her work at the Fine Art & Crafts Show at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield Oct. 19 and 20.
You are originally from the Netherlands. What brought you to the U.S.?
I came in 1974 with my husband and two small boys. My husband worked for Philips, the Dutch lighting company and was transferred to New Jersey. My third son was born here.
Which different media do you use and why? Do you have a favorite?
I use it all. I paint with oil, acrylic and watercolor. I make fabric tapestries with hand stitching. I also make monotype prints. But everything starts with the drawings. I work with fabrics on the second floor and, if it gets too hot, I will go down to my basement painting studio and vice versa!
Is your work is based on specific people or memories or both?
The people in my paintings are imaginary, but I will sketch in public and base many pieces from these studies. I also use my cat Sam who is a very good model. I also buy drawings from my 12 grandchildren to use as beginnings for some pieces. I pay them $1 per drawing and add the proceeds from these sales to their college funds.
What is your process?
I sometimes do a prep drawing, and sometimes not. For figurative work I start with the figure and then paint the background. The secret to my painting, of course, is knowing when to stop.
Who were your influences?
I went to art school in the Netherlands. So, of course, I love Rembrandt for his drawings and Van Gogh for his color, movement and intense emotion. Another favorite is Picasso, who also worked in many media.
What fight/struggle do you have regarding your art?
My fight is that I always like to try new things. I like to experiment. This sometimes is not understood by my collectors who are used to seeing what they know and are comfortable with. Another fight I have is that I still cannot draw hands!
How long do you feel it took you to find your own signature style?
I feel that I really found my style and own voice as an artist, when I was in my 40s.
You are a full time artist. Do you work on your art every day?
I work almost every day. I will paint during the day and work on my fabric pieces at night.
You have many, many collectors. What do they most say about the work?
A great compliment for me is when a collector will say, “I still enjoy the painting.” I show my work at some outdoor art fairs. I really do enjoy interacting with the public.
Are you a mentor/teacher?
I have two fabric workshops coming up at the Princeton Arts Council. On Oct. 19, Painting with Fabric, and on Nov. 16, Appliques on Fabric. Please see the Arts Council site for info.
Locally, where do you like to eat and/or visit?
My friends are wonderful. They cook with Indian, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese influences. I do enjoy a dinner at Malaga.