Inspired by music, Yayoi Kusama, and searching for diversity

Roxanne Dekker

Roxanne Dekker (33) is an Amsterdam-based artist. Her paintings, drawings and collages are vibrant and colourful. She’s an observer and works intuitively. Her art is a translation of what she sees, feels and hears. You may know her from her biggest passion: 'My Favourites' project, where Roxanne frequently challenges herself to paint music. Not the remembrance, but the abstract depiction of her feelings with watercolours while listening to her own favourites or requested songs. Roxanne happens to be the owner of The Kidspiration club (a History of Art atelier) and a member of the successful group DJ Pony Peaches on the side so… dream job x3!

How much do you travel?
A couple of times a year; one long vacation far away or several mini-breaks to cities in Europe. But wherever I go I always bring my notebook, scissors, pencils and watercolour with me! 

Can you name three places where you’ve travelled that you find most inspiring and why?
Senegal for the music, people, colour, clothes and culture.
Jamaica definitely for its music! But also for the culture, nature and people. 
Japan is in my top three as well. The Japanese culture, art and people, it’s all so special. Oh and the food is amazing too! 

What do you find inspiring in fashion/art/design industry?
Everything! When something moves me, it’s most of the time a form of nostalgia, respect for the unknown, and the certain WOW feeling; the ‘I wish I thought of that’ feeling. Sometimes when I see a really beautiful painting I can start crying very quickly.
Inspiration in Hue (Left), and Dots, by Yayoi Kusama
Who do you find inspiring in the fashion/art/design industry and why? 
In the Art I would say Yayoi Kusama. She does whatever she likes, still at almost 100 years! She basically always has done what she thought was right, I find that inspiring. And I like her obsession with polka dots a lot! When it comes to fashion, my friend Patricia Hofstede. She used to be the owner of the formal fashion brand BRAVOURE, but has her own shop/atelier in the Jordaan now. In her Atelier Paradis she combines everything she is: a creative, designer, artist, interior stylist and a beautiful person. Mae Engelgeer also inspires me a lot. Mae is a textile designer who makes the most beautiful fabrics with a perfect finesse. Everything she makes is just perfect and clean. And my Parisian friend Yue Wu; he is the most inspiring experimental creative I know. Almost every three months he comes with a new expression in his art in which he always challenges himself. He started with illustration and now he makes the most beautiful ceramics. I wonder what’s next!
What do you find lacking/bothering/frustrating about the fashion/art/design industry?
In fashion: The speed with which new collections appear in the stores. The buying without thinking about (the cost) where the clothes are made or who made them, simply to have (more) and to follow trends. 
In art and design: I find it hard to find real new mind-blowing stuff. Of course Instagram shows us beautiful things from all over the world, which is inspiring, but a lot also looks the same in the end.  
The fashion fest is all about awareness. What does awareness mean to you?
For me it’s to be aware and mindful of everything that I do or buy. For example, I like to recycle and ‘mix and match’ old and new clothes. When I want to buy something new, something needs to go out first! I give away a lot to shops like ‘Juttersdok’. Furthermore, I hate plastic waste. I’m so happy to see that shops no longer give plastic bags with every purchase anymore. This means that consumers are now asked to think about this for one second; do they really need a plastic bag or is it just another waste? 
Logo, by Roxande Dekker (Left), and My Favourite Escape, Ibid.
How does this awareness influence your own work and/or your teaching?
When I teach art to my students I aim to be aware of their needs and try to let them be themselves as much as possible. But I’m also trying to help them be aware of – and conscious about - their own feelings so they can express and translate these feelings through art. When this happens, it’s so inspiring. Additionally, when I teach I like to be aware of a good mix of male and female artists from all over the world. In this way, I hope to inspire my students by showing them a diversity of philosophies and techniques. Further, most of the time my own work is a product of my intuition – the things that I’m aware of and how that inspires me -, so it often looks like abstract expressionism. Besides, I like to experiment and challenge myself. I mix different materials a lot to get a diverse developing style. I don’t like to stand still.
Digital technology and globalization ensure that the creative sector is subject to strong changes. What do these changes look like? 
Less diversity in style; people get inspired by each other more quickly and confirm to the mainstream. Everything happens more rapidly and people slowly forget to give things a mindful rest.
I believe beauty will always be there as long people create and act from LOVE. This has been this way for ages and will not change.