Interview with Irene Hoff
For self-taught Dutch artist Irene Hoff, the world is out of balance which can be seen in the human & environmental challenges we are currently faced with. She craves a world where compassion, intuition and harmony are key elements for living. Irene’s art is filled with hope and inspiration that encourages viewers to become aware of their feelings and beliefs, making space for their true self.
Living in Asia for more than 20 years, explains some of Irene’s unique insights into our world. She speaks the language of the West whilst simultaneously sensing the subtle unspoken energies of the East. Irene currently creates and lives with her two daughters on the beautiful ‘Island of Gods’, Bali, Indonesia.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
My Name is Irene Hoff, I am Dutch but living in Bali with my 2 daughters. I have been in Asia for over 20 years and have lived in Hong Kong and Vietnam before I moved back to Indonesia.
As a child I was always busy drawing but never thought that becoming an artist was an option. However, a passion does not disappear and so about 12 years ago, after my second daughter was born, I started making art again. I somehow felt inspired to portrait my kids in a painting, using all kinds of elements that where symbolic to their life, being born and raised in Asia, but having Dutch roots.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
People see me as someone who is curious, with an intense perceptiveness, and an infectious positivism and humor. My life is all about collecting stories, experiences and insights and inspiring the world to see what I feel matters most.
Unique to my art is the mixing and matching of different styles, which at first glance may seem controversial. In my paintings, I love to modify the acrylic paint into thicker applications, and to use a wide variety of hand torn paper patterns and old street posters. My art feels light but you might sense a deeper level once you start to connect with it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get daily inspiration from life journey. The experiences I have had, good and bad, have made me who I am today, more authentic and loving towards myself and towards others. I feel we are in this world on an adventure where there are lessons to be learned, which can be very inspiring if used in a positive way. One of my series called Don’t Blow My Cover’ is related to that insight, becoming more of who you really are, and letting go of who you supposed to be, which is often dictated by society.
Another series is called ‘Racing Against Extinction’. Having the privilege to live on beautiful Bali, a home to many inspiring young change-makers, made me realize that the world is in desperate need of change, and that humanity needs to cut back their footprints on this planet before it is too late.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
I hope they feel joy every time they look at my art, and that it gives a boost of inspiration to keep going in life and to find that part inside of you that connects with your deeper soul where everything is possible and dreams come through. Like Picasso said, everything you can imagine is real, so lets (re) active that part we got to master so well being kids, fantasizing without boundaries!
When do you know that an artwork is finished ?
When my art is ‘finished’, I leave it for a while, but keep staring at it every time I pass it in my studio. After 1 day, where needed, I give it the finishing touch. The moment when I get this very satisfying happy belly feeling, I know it is done and the final coating process can start!
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
There are many exciting moments as I feel it is a buildup in your career as an artist. A truly rewarding moment for me is when a customer sees their painting for the first time and they get teary eyes. Then you know it has touched that person’s soul, which is the reasons why I became an artist in the first place.
I am also proud to have had one of my wildlife paintings signed by nature warrior and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, which I consequently donated to a project raising funds to protect Asia’s Wildlife (2016).
And not the least, I am very grateful and honored to be published in ‘100 Artists of the Future’, curated by The Contemporary Art Curator Magazine (2019)!
How long does it take to produce one work?
Normally it takes me around 4-5 days.
What exciting projects are you working on right now?
I am very excited about setting up an online website shop where people will be able to buy limited edition art prints, all hand embellished. Next to that, I am working with a beautiful fashion brand, to explore the possibilities of printing my art on their shoes and bags collection.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
There are many beautiful events and collaborations on the horizon but I cannot reveal anything yet! Follow me on my Instagram art_irenehoff so I can take you with me on my art journey!