Hi, I'm Yontz, a Dutch artist. The name Yontz was a misspelling of my given name (Jans) by my American sister-in-law and I liked it so much, I decided to use it as my artist name.
I have always loved making art. As a child I loved creating, whether it was a drawing, a sculpture or a garment for one of my dolls, it simply made me happy. When I was 6 or 7, my parents befriended a local artist and started painting in their leisure time. That was of great influence in my life. I have great memories of our holidays in France. Me and my mum drawing the scenery, while my dad and my brother were fishing. And we would visit art museums and galleries. One of the museums I still remember well, was the Toulouse Lautrec Museum in Albi. I think I was about 13 or 14 years old. 'Yvette Guilbert salut a public' is still one of my favourites, so much character in just a few brush strokes!
In 1993 I went to art school (Academie Minerva, Groningen, NL), where I studied to become an artist and Art Teacher. Landscape was my main subject, progressing into abstract paintings and prints. My graduation pieces consisted of abstract paintings with geometrical shapes, based on experiences in nature. My main influences were colorfield painters Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko and also Frisian landscape painter Willem van Althuis. With my large 'mists' I wanted the viewer to 'step inside' of the paintings and experience space and mystery.
After art school I soon found it difficult to combine teaching and artmaking on a professional level. Art became a hobby, not a profession. At times I found this very frustrating, because I wanted to do both, and do both well. Teaching is a very demanding job, but it did give me a steady income and also a lot of joy. So, I chose to see my art making as a hobby and taught my skills to others and I was passionate about that! But there was always something nagging, itching inside of me.
Fast forward to 2021. Illness has left me housebound. I have lost not only my health, but also my job. I have little energy, but I need to do something to keep me sane. So I started to make small drawings and collages. Nothing fancy, no art with a capital ‘A’, just having some fun. And I realized: this is my thing. The most important thing. I need to create.
So, as I am recovering from my illness, the artistic part of me is also in recovery. And I can't just start where I left off, I'll have to figure out who I am as an artist and what I want to express with my art. And the only way to do it, is to start fooling around with materials and different ideas. And most importantly: not to overthink it. "Forward is the doing" (This Is The Kit)
If you would like to follow my process, please check out my blog.