• Sieglinde Van Damme

Artist Statement: "re-imagine what else is possible"

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

The overarching theme in my work is to re-imagine what else is possible: when I learn a new technique I follow the rules first, then I wonder what else I can do with it. When I choose a subject I will take it out of context so its original identity is blurred and can be redefined.

When I am presented with a boundary, I observe its meaning and then look for the alternative meaning on the other side. When I am presented with living life in a box, I find the instructions on the outside of the box - and I'm likely not coming back in.

When I am presented with a given reality, I set out to create a new reality. A better one, a more open one, a more fulfilling one .... (oops, artist statement blurs the line with life statement 😉)

In my work I explore various media to create my new reality / new identity message. In a painterly way I stack layer upon layer of line, texture, a hint of text; while allowing subtle colors to show through as if another story is hidden underneath, waiting to be revealed.

When photographing, I pass on the razor-sharp image with the latest high-tech camera because to me that closes all doors to imagine other possibilities. Instead, I explore the combination of various digital and analog media, low-fidelity cameras, double exposures on film, alternative photo processes, mixed media, and more.

In short, I create soft-focused, veiled, abstracted, and layered images to make room for a new idea of what could 'also' be real: what else is possible?  It is an open invitation for you to define and re-define what is in front of you. Not just what you see, but what you experience or feel as well. There are no right or wrong answers. There is no better interpretation than the one you make today.

In the end, it is all about defining new realities and new identities. Not in the sense of "who are you," but rather "who or what can you be?"

My story might inspire you to think more about your own

Truth is I never gave the idea of “identity” - let alone my own identity – much thought until I migrated from Europe to the US and my most official source of identification became an alien registration number.  Quite sobering, though easy enough to laugh away when put into its due bureaucratic perspective. 

Much more poignant was the fact that I arrived here with a firmly rooted background, including a good sense of who I was and what I stood for, or so I thought. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was not able to fully transplant Sieglinde in Europe, to Sieglinde in the US.

I was the one taken out of context and now I had to adapt to a new society and re-imagine who I was along the way ... including who I wanted—or could be—on this side of the ocean. 

It became an interesting journey in debating which new values to adopt, which old beliefs to shed and which “idea of me” was most authentic and real. After 22 years, I realize I have become a one-of-a-kind hybrid; a tourist in both places, my home country and my current home base alike.

Geographical relocations aside, I am also the most conscious “state of me” I have ever been which unapologetically paved a highway to personal empowerment, fulfillment and success!

I want my work to tickle your curiosity, serve as a conversation starter, and act as an invitation for you to open your mind and expand your horizons.  I want my work to be an inspiring catalyst to unlock your own imagination to other possibilities, a bigger potential; your own personal, happy, success story within reach. Permission to play, and no need to play it safe!


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