We had the good fortune of connecting with Ilse Duijn and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ilse, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks is inevitable if you are committed to yourself -and your growth process- in life. I believe that humans are meant to grow, to move, to strive forwards. Life is dynamic and we should learn how to sail the winds. To me – life is not about containing. It is about breaking the mold you grew up in and about finding a way to discover your given talents and monetizing those.

In a society that models happiness as a static state of being; that concept is hard to grasp. We think we are happy when we feel safe. Until we get to that ‘safe’ place and we discover that we still don’t experience happiness. This is exactly the reason why I have taken big risks throughout my life, so far.

Live it – then judge.
Also- your perception of a risk is important. What is considered a risk to one person is a minor move to another. If you feel like you need to make a move; always move. Make sure you live a life in which you can hear your own inner voice.

Taking risks has enriched my life, my children’s life and our relationships in profound ways. Me and my partner took huge risks; multiple times. From building a house in a foreign country where we didn’t speak the language, to leaving Amsterdam and emigrate to the USA without financial and emotional safety.

Throughout my life I have started multiple businesses; sometimes besides my main job: I have had companies in digital media consultancy, coaching, a vegan food company and an art company. I have learned so much from each and every one of these experiences. I took the risk of making a fool out of myself multiple times; but I have always felt proud of myself for trying; no matter the succes-rate.

At this moment I have a successful art business and I work as a digital media consultant on the side. My art is my joy; I enjoy creating more than anything in the world and I feel very fortunate that I have been able to sell so many of my works here in the Southbay, thanks to my friends from the Southbay artist collective and Indivisible Arts. Starting my art business was the most daring risk I ever took. To display my emotions and life perception publicly through my art, and having people judge it is a very humbling experience. Nevertheless, I will never regret this -the cringing experiences, the highs (artshows, nice reactions)- they are the backbone of my growth as a human being.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an abstract artist. I paint on canvas with acrylics. I always paint stories; mostly about connections between people or their contrasts. I use fine lining, entanglement and contrasting colors to grab your attention. My works are ‘round’ in a way – but also full of contrast. The most wonderful compliment to my work is when I see people who just stop; because the works shock something in them.

Women have always been the center of attention in my works; I believe the world is in need of more women who are connected to their core being. Women who live by their truths.

With my paintings, I am hoping to bring more female energy back into the world. More connection, more love, more openness. I would love to think that my paintings soften something in people whenever they look at it.

If it was an easy road?
I have had a lot of struggles to get to where I am. Some internal struggles, some financial struggles. In the years my children were born my inspiration just went away; at some point I thought I really lost my creativity. It was a process of years to restore myself to where I am today, I feel the luckiest woman alive now that my creativity is so prosperous!

Another struggle was the arrival in New York and LA. It’s quite hard to arrive in a new country and encounter a pandemic as a foreign family. Let alone – try to set ground as an artist. I missed having friends, someone to talk to, laugh with, people to work with; I missed my old identity. We couldn’t return home for two and a half years. Full-time motherhood and homeschooling was swallowing me. Luckily, we live in another time today and we have made a lot of friends along the way.

For me, it was crucial to start selling my work; or I couldn’t buy materials, apply for art shows etcetera. I feel so blessed that my art is finding new homes in the Southbay and Europe and that I get to inspire people with my art.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
California is really the best piece of the world; everything is here. I would take my best friend to Yosemite National Park to experience the wonder of the endless land and raw nature in this country. We would lodge for two nights, make a fire, drink wine. I’d bake pancakes in the morning and after coffee we would hit the road and drive to Santa Barbara to enjoy a lunch on the beach at Arroyo Burro and watch the dolphins play.

After that we would follow the ocean up to Crystal Cove and Laguna. We’d stop for coffee and almond croissants at Zinc, would have lunch and prosecco at Aliso Beach, stroll down the beach and tip our toes in the water. Then we would drive up to 29 palms, go vintage shopping and sip some cocktails. We would get into our air b&b in Joshua Tree and would explore the awesome landscape of the dessert.

If I had to take her back to the airport we would stop in Venice, have lunch and Dudley market, sip juice at The Butchers Daughters, shop at the Abbott Kinney and end with sushi at Wabi on Rose.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I thank my success and courage to the members of the Southbay Artist Collective and Indivisible arts. Because of them I started to feel less lonely and I got to meet others with a spirit like mine. They also made me believe in my art and encouraged me to sell.

Website: www.ilseduijn.com/art

Instagram: @ilse_duijn_atelier

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