Noortje Stortelder is a visual artist and lives, works in Rotterdam.
"I want to give the viewer a new experience. This experience is based on my own reality and search for life, meaning of existence and purpose on earth. Who am I in relation to time, space and other beings? How do others see themselves and me? I now frequently use photography and film as the basis of my work but I still think sculpturally. Layer over layer over layer, editing as a digital sculptor. Our reality is hugely complex and layer. I do not always know what my reality is and from that confusion my work arises."
I caught up with Noortje on her work process and the latest developments.
Can you tell me about the process of making your work?
Every time the process is a little different. Ideas are everywhere and when one sticks I have to get it out of my head. Sometimes I will set up a photoshoot with a specific idea in mind and other times the structures of an image will lead me completely. Photography is almost always the basis of my work but I still think sculpturally; copying, pasting, layering, and transforming imagery into a new reality.
Sometimes it feels like I work in reverse. Only at the end of the making process when I feel the work is finished I can clearly see the meaning in what I was trying to achieve.
What is your daily routine when working?
I don't have a set daily routine when working and that is something that I like. Each phase of my art practice has its own routine characteristics, however, in all of my practice the studio must be tidy and clean. This keeps my head empty enough to focus on the art.
Meditation helps me to listen to what is really important, and coffee helps me buzz with ideas whilst listening to the Coffee Jazz playlist…
What was the key influence that led to the development of your process and style?
During a study of advertising, communication and design I realised I was drawn towards the photographic elements of the process. This led me down a different path into the fine art world where I eventually
graduated as a sculptor from the art academy.
The choice to switch from the foundation year “Lifestyle & Design” to Fine Art and graduating as a sculptor has been of great value not only for the process but also my style.
What does art mean to you personally? Is there a goal you're trying to accomplish?
Art is my diary. It is an escape and a release. It is a filter to see the world through. I try to understand myself and the world through art.
Do you have a life philosophy? Does your creative practice fit in with this philosophy?
My motto in life since I was little has been "Then die" (in response to the question; What is the worst that can happen?)
This motto has brought me to special places, has led me to special people and has pushed me to do things that I was initially afraid of.
This sounds a little heavier than it actually is because of course I don't want to die…
I also try to live a healthy life by looking after my body, but also my mind. When they are in balance, the creative work can flow more easily.
However, I am aware that black cannot do without white. There are days when everything goes against the grain, when I don't understand the world. These “dark” days can also give me
inspiration. This makes me wonder what happens when everything is in perfect balance. Could I still make art?
Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?
Of course, everyday.
How has covid affected you and your art?
Practically speaking, because of the pandemic my part-time work as a teacher was largely canceled, and therefore, I had all the time in the world with my good old all-time favorite friend; My Art.
It felt like home. I finally had some time to take a step back and see from a distance what I had been doing all these years - only creating, with no real structure or plan. I decided to invest some time in organizing all of that work and create more structure moving forward.
I was also able to create a bit of a platform for my work and communicate with a small but appreciative audience which I feel extremely grateful for, especially during these times.
How do you think the art world will shape in the future?
In the same way it has always done.
I am currently doing research on how I can bring my 2D digital work back into a 3D reality. Next to that, I want to create a solo exhibition with the biggest prints possible.
All works by Noortje Stortelder courtesy of the artist
Text by Iren Russo