Nicola Kloosterman’s mesmerizing work is effortlessly expressive with minimal resources
TWS –i Nicola, can you please tell us something you’d like our readers know about you?
NK –Hey! I live and work in the Netherlands so I am essentially Dutch. But I was born in South Africa and emigrated with my parents when I was 10. Moving to a new country at that age has cultivated a feeling of been spit into two halves that will never quite fit back together again.
TWS –Why collage? What led you to this particular medium?
NK –I made my first collage in an illustration class run by the awesome Dutch illustrators Claudi Kessels and Valesca van Waveren here in the Netherlands. I fell in love with the immediacy and ease of collage. I found I could create and almost endless string of images with just a pile of magazines and a pair of scissors. Glue came later. I still have a sticky relationship with glue haha. Sticking is such a commitment! I made so many pieces when I just started, that I decided to do a just one collage a day to try to channel the effort into a single best daily image, commit to it (meaning glue it) and post the result on instagram as a sort of personal diary. I quickly discovered the awesome collage community online. It was a side project at first, but it got serious quite quickly.
TWS –How would you describe your approach to art? How does concept and action balance in your practice?
NK –When I just started out it was action before concept for sure and I would let the images lead. Now my work is more conceptually based but action remains important within the concept. When I find the right kind of source material I can create a whole string of work in one sitting. My approach is much more intentional and I am also more critical of what I make. Actually it’s become a lot harder after those first honeymoon months, but I still love collage, so I work on it, even when it frustrates me.
TWS –If I had to describe your work in a short sentence, I’d say that you work around the “narrative of absence”. Can you tell us something about you using subtraction as a way of creating new meaning?
NK –Wow it’s cool to have my work described back to me. I do have a strong tenancy to remove and reduce. The art of subtraction creates meaning by removing the obvious and revealing pieces of the image may have been overlooked. Removing or changing the focal point of an image also changes the dynamic of that image and gives me an opportunity to create a new balance and a new form. I am able to offer a different perspective by intervening with a single cut or by just re-framing an image. I love that. It’s magic.
TWS –Your work has a minimal approach where the richness is found on its simplicity and expressive calm. What you want to express through your art? What moves you and you want to surface in your work?
NK –Thank you! I believe clarity is really at the core of our being, and I try to recreate that in my work. Clarity is always simple.
TWS –Tell us something about your source images? With which kind of images you like to work and why?
NK –I love to use colour images from the 60’s through to the 80’s. The four colour printing process from this time is so tactile and images are more layered and less crisp. It gives them a timeless quality that I love. But I do also enjoy contemporary images. I have a lot of them waiting to be used so maybe that will come out one day.
TWS –Your presence and following in social media is really impressive. How do you think it has influenced you in your career?
NK –Honestly, it’s never been my intention to create a following, but I am very grateful that so many people connect to my work. I was lucky enough to have my work featured on some great online and offline platforms and that has worked as a catalyst for a following on instagram. It’s absolutely influenced my career by making my work more accessible, but it’s also made it easier for me to meet other artists all over the world and that has been so amazing.
TWS –Lastly, what’s your personal definition of collage?
NK –Collage is the freedom to re-create the world.