Netherlands-based Jantina Peperkamp is a self-taught artist. Her piece on this week’s May 17, 2019 Dan’s Papers cover “Little Butterfly” showcases her dedication to realism and craftsmanship in the lovely detail on display.
What was the inspiration for this particular work?
In the Netherlands, I live in a rural area, alongside a dike of one of the great rivers of our country, close to nature. In and around my home, I have always had many animals—dogs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens and even some nandos, a smaller brother of the ostrich. Everything in nature makes me happy and inspires me. In my garden, I have several butterfly bushes. This butterfly species you see a lot in the Netherlands, she announces the arrival of summer!
How would you describe your art style?
In an interview, a Dutch journalist once wrote the following about my art style: “Although her style can undoubtedly be classified as realism, Peperkamp’s work goes deeper within, and beyond that categorization. What she shows is a parallel reality, a glimpse into personal perception. ‘Sometimes I suspect that I look at the world differently than others,’ says Peperkamp. ‘My paintings are interpreted differently by different viewers. I find that very special and don’t feel the need to put myself into the experience.’”
You started as a goldsmith. What made you switch to fine art?
In my youth, I wanted to go to art school, but my parents didn’t think this was a good idea. They wanted me to learn a “real profession.” Because I wanted to work with my hands, I chose to train as a goldsmith. This taught me how to work accurately and precisely, which is of great use to me when I’m painting. The fact that I did not attend art school now feels like a blessing to me. I haven’t been influenced by teachers or movements and I have had the opportunity to develop my own style and working method. I think this has contributed to the unique and recognizable character of my paintings.
How does living in the Netherlands inspire you?
It is especially the place where I live in the Netherlands that inspires me. The nature, the peace and quiet and the space give me the opportunity to work in peace and comfort with the slightly bluish light that shines through the windows of my studio. These blue tones are reflected in the skin of my models. There is also a long tradition of realistic painting in the Netherlands. Craftsmanship has always been highly appreciated in galleries and by art collectors.
Which other artists, living or dead, would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
If only we could meet artists who are already dead and talk to them about our profession. That would be great and would present me with a difficult choice. However, I would choose Rembrandt. He lived at a time when art was seen in a completely different way than it is today, more as craftsmanship, and that appeals to me. The training through guilds, where you could grow from a footman to a master…the many years of study in which the skills were shown and learned by masters of the trade sounds thorough and painstaking. It gives me an almost romantic feeling. I would ask Rembrandt to assess my work so that he can give instructions for me to develop myself further in my profession.