World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 40 – Mirjan van de Hel
Blots is where it’s all about in Mirjan van de Hel’s drawings. She is an illustrator and graphic designer. First she makes an ink blot and than she encircles it with a dip pen and Indian ink. In this way surprising images and figures are created. She calls her works ‘Vlekkendingen’ (‘Blot Affairs’)
‘The blots I make with watercolors or gouache on watercolour paper. I cover it with a transparent sheet and then I start to draw. Intuitively. I focus on the blot, an idea comes up and I start drawing.’
How did it start?
Mirjan: ‘I was working with computergraphics at the Art Academy in Kampen. My teachter told me: ‘You don’t have a ”signature” yet. Try blots.’ In retrospect, that was a very good advice. At the Art Event ArtiBosch in 2011 I stood in a market stall with my own work, mostly prints of my illustrations, but also some Blot Affairs. I saw the reactions of the public and then I realized that I should do more with the Blot Affairs. They are unique and affordable.’
She set up a website with an overview of her work in various sizes and in various colors. There appeared to be a growing interest which stimulated her to go on. She showed it online and next to that she went to all kind of markets, specially art markets, presenting it in a market stall.
Since last year, there are poems. Mirjan: ‘Through a Facebook event someone visited my site and emailed me: ‘The blots will be stronger with a text.’ I reacted to the person who made the remark, ‘Try it’. Emiel Bootsma, that’s the person, made a series of poems. ‘It made me quite happy.’ Mirjan and Emiel started working together on the blots. They made a booklet. ‘In markets and other venues Emiel reads out of the book and that is contagious. The sale of the Blot Affairs went quite up.’
‘Sometimes people react, walking along the market stall ‘What fun, cards!’ Then I must explain it ain’t postcards, but artworks with art prices. But why not make postcards as well? I thought. Fans of the Blot Affairs asked me last year to make a birth card with a blot. Thats was an honor and great fun. The came an invition card, a thank you card, a Christmas card and recently there are four birthday cards, each wit hits own poem. There might be more even.’
‘I also sometimes get a special request. Do you have a blue elephant? Sure, I make you an elephant, I say, although it is slightly less spontaneously. Because ideally such an elephant is the unexpected outcome of playing with a blot out of which an elephant may arise.’
There are now as many as 795 Blot Affairs. The works are now also on exhibitions, last year for example in Tiel. ‘Many works were shown there, framed and unframed. Sales were a little bit disappointing however. For two years the works were exhibited in summer season every Wednesday in the Grand Church in Church Street (Kerkstraat) in Den Bosch, where Mirjan stood with a market stall. ‘That’s a lot of fun. I hope it continues, but that’s not sure yet.’The people who invited her, retired. As a gift to them, she made a Blot Affair of the Grand Church. ‘Drawing a building in the form of a Blot Affair produces particular results. I did already St. John’s Cathedral in Den Bosch and the Dome Church in Utrecht.’
And next to that she will go this year again to many art markets, with Emiel. ‘Not as far as Groningen, it should be feasible. Such a market gives energy, but sometimes also requires energy. Every market is different.’