Who has had a major influence on your work? Flow asks illustrators about the designs or artworks that continue to inspire them. Illustrator Agnes Loonstra talks about her two favorite sources of inspiration: Henri Matisse and Charlotte Salomon.
“It’s impossible for me to choose just one artist, as there are two visual artists that I often turn to for inspiration: Henri Matisse and Charlotte Salomon. Seemingly, they are very different artists, but they both have a very colorful and expressive technique. My work is very different, but I find their work really inspiring to look at.”
“I’m a huge fan of his use of color and patterns. I also love how his perspective is often inaccurate and yet, within that clumsiness, it comes across at totally normal. A while ago I had a blog, ‘Every day a thing’, where I made a drawing every day and posted it online. On it, I had a section called ‘the old getting new’, where I created covers of old paintings. One painting I explored was a piece by Matisse – you can see the result here below.”
“The story goes that this was initially a blue painting, but that one night Matisse suddenly decided to make it red and painted the entire canvas at once. I also find it inspiring that he worked right up until his death. He wasn’t able to paint any longer, so he switched to making collages, and when he wasn’t able to create or stick his cutouts by himself anymore, his assistants helped him with that process.”
“Charlotte Salomon has a sad life story. She died young in a concentration camp and during her short life, she experienced many dramatic events. I find it so special that she painted her entire family history in the years she was in hiding. In the beginning her work is very detailed and narrative, but as the years pass, it almost seems as if she is in a hurry as her drawings become increasingly wilder and sketchier. Six years ago, I was in Kassel, Germany, during an art festival and I came across a retrospective exhibition of her gouache paintings. The colors in her work are even better when you see them in real life; I spent hours looking at her pieces that afternoon.”
Agnes Loonstra is an illustrator. Her work is regularly featured in Flow (in the Flow Book for Paper Lovers, for example). She is currently working on an assignment for the American publisher, Workman Publishing, as well as on a book called Crazy Cat Lady, which is an ode to ladies and their love for cats.