Monday, 7 September 2009

Dutch Doll.

One sunny lady whose work never fails to cheer me up is Angelique Houtkamp. Dutch born and currently Amsterdam based, Angelique's work has an immediate appeal and for me the mood in her pieces often reflect that laid back outlook and joie de vivre attitude commonly found amongst the Dutch.

Angelique's skillful and precise work belies the fact that she only started painting when she was 30. She then moved into tattooing, honing her distinctive old school, with a slightly bizarre twist, style. Although she still tattoos in Amsterdam, her artwork has become globally popular and demand for her as an artist has meant that that is now her priority.

Angelique frequently portrays doe eyed beauties, with a vintage Hollywood feel to their appearance.

(Magda - Angelique Houtkamp.)

(Love/Hate - Angelique Houtkamp.)

She sometimes likes to toy with a surreal morphing of her characters, perhaps a nod to the tall tales that sailors from the ancient age of seagoing would tell on their return to port, to captive audiences, of the strange creatures they had encountered on their perilous voyages.

(Fabienne - Angelique Houtkamp)

(Annie and Fran - Angelique Houtkamp.)

(Isabella - Angelique Houtkamp.)

Angelique's work also connects to the popular burlesque movements of the present era.

(Snakecharmer - Angelique Houtkamp.)

Exotic oriental ladies conjure up Eastern delights.

(Wong - Angelique Houtkamp.)

Sometimes her work sticks more to the lines of conventional sailor tattoo art, maybe in deference to her training done in traditional tattoo parlours in the great historical port that is Amsterdam.

(Homeward Bound - Angelique Houtkamp.)

Angelique has successfully marketed her work, using her images on fashion accessories and stationary. If you're very lucky you may even be able to commission a tattoo by her at Admiraal Tattoo in Amsterdam.

Angelique has a very close and fruitful relationship with Outre Gallery in Australia. They published the first collection of her paintings in a book called Tattoo Darling in 2007, which quickly sold out of its initial print run and continues to sell, a testament to the popularity of Anglique's work.

A follow up volume Tattoo Mystique is due to be launched by Outre in October of this year. Details are on their site. The book launch is accompanied by an art show and is likely to skyrocket Angelique's profile even higher.

Above all, there is a warmth about Angelique's work that always permeates her images. It reminds me of the Dutch word "gezellig" which is not properly translated as a meaning but more as a feeling. According to Wikipedia, “A perfect example of untranslatability is seen in the Dutch language through the word gezellig, which does not have an English equivalent. Literally, it means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness.”

Something of that golden otherworldliness radiates from Angelique's pictures and although I have never met the lady herself I can't help but think she must be the epitome of this happy state of being.

No comments:

Post a Comment