It’s been over four years already since I made a big change in my life.

I am writing this because I have been making cut-out illustrations this past week and after posting it on Instagram, a friend commented with reminding me that I did something similar for my exhibition early 2013.

You can click on the photos to see a bigger photo.

Expo Marloes De Vries

Early January, 2013, I was working on my very first exhibition that solely consisted of free work (in Dutch: ‘autonoom werk’). The opening was planned somewhere by the end of January and although it was planned for months in advance, I hadn’t made any work by early January.

My heart was somewhere else: figuring out if I should leave art or leave my love. Yes, it was as dramatic as it sounds here 😀
To make a long story short: the one I loved so dearly didn’t approve of the illustration career I was pursuing, and asked me to make a choice.

Early that month, I knew what it was going to be, as I couldn’t imagine my life without creating or drawing.

In just seven days I created all these art pieces and looking at them makes me well up, even after four years. There is so much love and pain in these works, I can’t even explain. To some it may seem as just simple pieces of work, naively made, not even ‘real art’. To me, it’s much more.

Expo Marloes De Vries
Expo Marloes De Vries
Expo Marloes De Vries

During the opening of the show there were some people that didn’t understand what they were seeing here. One man said: “I can’t believe they put this up here”. I didn’t care: this was what I wanted to make and wanted to tell. I couldn’t care less what others thought.

I made a painting on the book ‘Resurrection’ by Tolstoy. It shows a girl climbing out of a cocoon, which was symbolic for how I felt at the time.

I felt I had been hiding who I was for years and now it was time to get out and be who I really was.
Seeing the pieces now, I understand that most works were about coming out of my hiding place and be seen.

Expo Marloes De Vries
Expo Marloes De Vries

I ended up making a few pieces with all very cryptic meanings.
A self-portrait that you could only really see when you looked in the mirror on the wall. And still, you would see it in a different perspective than normal.

Expo Marloes De Vries
Expo Marloes De Vries

Three of the pieces were sold: the cup with the girl in the lower left corner was sold to a dear friend of mine. The book with the girl looking out of the window (middle) was sold to a primary school. The cut-out girl in the glass bell on the right was given to another friend of mine, who was really ill at the time.

One friend asked me if I didn’t mind selling the pieces. I didn’t, but I couldn’t really explain why I didn’t mind.
Now I realise it’s because it were all pieces of my heart and if someone wanted to buy them and take care of them, I was grateful.

Expo Marloes De Vries

The piece you see here on the left, was my absolute favourite. I am still happy I could give it to my friend. She passed away in October last year.

It stands for being shut off from the outside world. At that time I had felt so disconnected from the real world for so many years, I didn’t know what I felt or who I was any more.

I painted a girl on thick paper, with headphones on. I cut a piece of wire of real headphones and connected it to the girl and to the glass bell over the girl.
The piece of wood came from my own backyard.

Expo Marloes De Vries
Expo Marloes De Vries
“Home isn’t where our house is but wherever we are understood.”

After the exhibition, I stayed in my home town for a little longer, until I found a temporary place to live on the other side of the country. I had always wanted to live somewhere else, as I lived in my home town for 28 years.

Still, to this day, this exhibition is my dearest.
It reminds me that I should continue to follow my heart, even if it’s scary as hell.

Thanks for reading, until next time!

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