Skandl’s 1-on-1 series is where we interview creatives based in the Netherlands. For this episode of the series we talk with aspiring thespian and illustrator Rosa Stil. She is one of the artists who will be part of the Centerpiece project at the upcoming MERGE FEST, find our more details about that event HERE.
Hi Rosa. What’s your background, and how did you develop your art practice?
My main priority in life is theatre and film, as an actress but also as a maker of them. During my struggle to fix my degrees and trying to get into acting school, I found some sort of peace in drawing. This expanded into something bigger, which was never my intention.
Your trademark interest seems to be in ‘interconnected faces’, it’s quite a recurring theme in your work. How did this style develop?
In the beginning I would still try to make them look kinda pretty or human, but that became boring very quickly. Faces always gave me the opportunity to tell a story, and as soon as I noticed that they didn’t have to be picture perfect, they became more abstract and sometimes not even recognisable. This discovery gave me freedom. This is ultimately relatable to every rule you impose on yourself: as soon as you get rid of them, the world is yours.
Does illustrating faces in this way hold any deeper significance for you? Your work seems to highlight a social/caring philosophy.
They’ve always fascinated me, maybe it’s better to say that people fascinate me. But not only people, also their thoughts, my own thoughts. All these thoughts are linked to the many faces, to the different personalities, and the different moods which we all have. They can build us up and drag us down, we’ve all known dark places. When you’re at your lowest, fighting your own thoughts is the hardest thing you have to do.
You also depict nudity and sex, how do you want this work to be perceived, and is there anything in particular you’re trying to communicate with these scenes?
The desire, the tension, the pleasure, the pain, the love, the hate, the hunger, the sweat, the giggles, the sound, the breath, the tenderness, the whisper, the rawness, the nudity and the pureness of sex inspires me.
You’ve worked in different mediums, including designing a tattoo, decorating the wall of a bar, and stitching your work into a canvas. Is playing with different materials something that excites you?
What are your plans for the immediate future, are there pieces you’re working on currently?
I finally got in to acting school, so my main focus is becoming the best I can be in that area. I was asked to expose my work in La Bru in Rotterdam, which is a Jazz Café that invites a new artist every month, so I’ll be doing that in November. I have some requests for tattoo designs, but to be honest, I don’t always feel like drawing with a certain purpose, so I always say ‘If you see something, it can be yours.’ In that case my work stays pure, I feel. But honestly, I just love to paint and draw, so I will continue on doing that.