Photo artist Astrid Ufkes

Astrid Ufkes, born in 1958 in a town named Apeldoorn which is in the middle of Netherlands. After having lived in Delft for 5 years and got married, I settled in Rijssen in Overijssel for 14 years. I became the mother of two sons and have been living in Apeldoorn since 1998 with great pleasure. Now I’m 60 years old and have been working as a photo artist for six years.

Ever since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with creating new things: new objects made from disposables, sculpting fantasy figurines, designing clothing, painting during my years at the Art Academy and interior design after my study in Interior Design. I found my true passion in 2013 after an intense year where both me and my husband lost their jobs.

What is photography to me

By following a study at the FotoVakSchool in Apeldoorn, I discovered that I was a ble to express my feelings, ideas and creativity through the lens of a camera. I intended to do Business Photography afterwards, but things went differently. In 2013 during a turbulent period for me, I visited the exhibition of photographer Ruud van Empel in Antwerp. After watching his work and video I was speachless and totally flabbergasted. This turned out to be the start of becoming an artphotographer.

The origin of photo art

Looking at the world around you through a lens allowed me to process this difficult time in my life. It also forced me to find out what it meant to be an artist and what drives me as a person. For me, my photographs were landscapes that passed me by, especially in black and white. My first series “Me Myself and My World (2013-2015) shows an emotional journey in all phases. These are the worlds of emotion that controlled my life at that moment. Forms, lines, abstract landscapes with the occasional recognizable shape in which you can always find two silhouettes that represent the wandering and always searching human being. Being a black-and-white series is a reference to this difficult time.

This period seamlessly evolves into a new phase where there is more room for other people. This resulted in the series “You Me and Our World- Eyes” (2015-2017). In this series, the eye is the focal point: her visualization for looking forward to a new period, looking at others, having an eye for… Photographing the eyes of those familiar to me and using them in my artworks allowed me to make use of the world around me. Together with Dutch writer Adam van Donk I published a book with 13 combinations of art photographs and short stories.

With my latest series “You Me and Our World – Magical Landscapes” I tell my life at this moment. I’ve found my way in what I do and who I am. Being a photo artist brings color to my life and artwork, both literally and figuratively. Exploring new countries and cultures, made me realize that my core values of having no judgement and being yourself literally translates into my artwork. Freedom and being who you are can also be symbolically discovered in my work. In stark contrast, you will also find the representation of shelter and protection in my works. Tension between the two extremes are what attracts me and can be found in various expressions in my work. It provides alienation and magic. Magical Realism, the cultural movement of my work, recognizes this dualism. Salvador Dali, Carel Willink and Escher are some of my favorite artists.

My work is not always easy to read: it requires some effort and there is often more than meets the eye. It can take you on a journey of wonder, beauty and perception. If you take a closer look, you can see the two silhouettes still being present, not as the wandering human being but enjoying You Me and Our World. My artwork has been shown in galleries and museums in Italy, Germany and The Netherlands and has found its way into the homes of art lovers and collectors. I’m part of an Artist Collective and co-owner of a gallery in the Netherlands. I am now a member of Stichting Ateliers Apeldoorn and Art Gallery Salon West in Amsterdam and have been included in the organization OverdeKunst.

My first exposition in New York is planned in August 2020, which is a dream coming true!

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