The first memories of Amsterdam-based artist Anne Mei Poppe are filled with pencils and paper, drawings and paintings. Today, she exhibits part of her collection called ‘Entangled’ in The Jack room at B. Amsterdam. The series of single-line drawings is a celebration of life’s most wonderful gift: the many ways we enjoy our relationship with loved ones.
Anne Mei Poppe was inspired by the people that color her own life, such as her daughter who recently celebrated her first birthday. Her style is symbolical, visualizing stories in a single, flowing line. She accentuates heads, hands and feet, concrete parts of our body which, in the works of Anne Mei, express the many intricate ways in which our beloved ones are woven into our life.
When did you start painting?
To be honest, my earliest memories are about drawing and modeling figures. As a young girl, I visited the Artis ateliers – at the Zoo in Amsterdam – and learned about the beauty and inspiration of the animal world. My mother is a fervent art lover. On our countless visits to museums, I started to draw copies of the works of masters such as Picasso and Matisse. Partly out of interest, partly because I was bored. That is how my very own love for art came about.
Who is your favorite artist and why?
That would be the French artist Henri Matisse. The way he uses colors as well his very fine draughtsmanship already fascinated me on those tours with my mother. Matisse is brilliant in simplifying an image back to certain basic forms. Later on, I discovered they dubbed these Matisse paintings ‘cut-outs’ or as he himself called it: “drawing with scissors.” He made his cut-out art from the simplest materials: shapes cut from colorful sheets of paper.
Another durable inspiration was Picasso’s works of art, especially his drawings. Picasso’s art is often described as abstract, yet they reveal some very concrete aspects of life. The distinction sometimes only depends on a single line. As if he wanted to raise the question, where to draw the line between the real and surreal…
How do you start a work of art? Is there an idea or concept first or is it solely based on a feeling?
I don’t believe in a sharp distinction between thoughts and feelings. Rather, the one leads to the other. I often draw and paint purely to express a feeling. The works in my current collection are all based on a single line, which I try to make in one fluid movement. The flowing lines express an emotion, yet whilst sketching I also work out new ideas and concepts.
Is there a work of art you’re particularly proud of?
I am most proud of the piece I made for my parents, my father in particular. It is a free interpretation of an old picture of both of us dancing. I float in his arms, a bundle of joy of barely one-year-old. My father put the piece on the wall next to the original picture. Whenever I visit my parent’s place, I am happy it tells him how much I cherish our bond and memories together.
From the little girl with pencils and paper, how did you arrive where you are today?
February this year, so only very recently, I launched my personal website and made my work accessible to the general public. I had no idea what to expect. Only one month later, I had the chance to exhibit my collection at The Hoxton in Amsterdam, which was sold out in only a couple of weeks. It all went very fast and I am so thankful to make other people happy with my work. That’s the greatest reward in life.
Are you able to survive as an artist or do you need to work at the side?
I devote all of my spare time to my creative impulses. Currently, I also work as an innovative asset manager in Amsterdam.
According to you, what are the most important traits of an artist?
In one word: creativity. To me, creativity means to be fully yourself, whatever you feel in a particular moment, and to raise this sensitivity to a new level of awareness. Art is one of the most important channels to achieve this and to share your story with others. When something or someone hits you in a certain way and you’re able to express on paper what you or someone else feels – that’s a process that comes close to revelation.
Art always mirrors the emotional life of the artist at a certain moment. So yes, in a way art is a snapshot. To return to my collection, the ‘Entangled’ series is very sensitive, playful, light and happy. That is a way of seeing the drawings. Which mirrors very eloquently my current phase of life.
What tips do you have for other starting artists?
Keep surprising yourself. And most importantly: dare to begin and stop thinking about the beginning!
During the quiet summer months, B. decided to host an art exhibition, in The Jack Room on the ground floor of B.3. Members and non-members alike are cordially invited to visit the exhibition for free.