“The concept of this project is to deal with all the imperfections of the body and to rediscover it through my painting and learn to love in the distinctiveness that distinguishes each individual woman.”
Growing Up in Bremen: The Artistic Seeds of Andrea Emde
Andrea Emde was born in the historic city of West Berlin in 1972. Growing up in the northern German city of Bremen, Emde had an intimate connection with nature from a very young age, a bond fostered by her parents. This connection with the natural world has deeply impacted her life and artistic journey. Her affinity for nature has served as a wellspring of inspiration for her art, permeating her works with a strong sense of connection to the environment.
Emde’s artistic inclinations were also deeply influenced by her mother, an unconventional artist in her own right. Her mother’s unique artistic expressions made a lasting impression on Emde, instilling in her a sense of creativity that would later blossom into a successful artistic career. It was her mother’s influence that helped to cultivate Emde’s artistic sensibilities and inspire her own creative pursuits.
In her mid-20s, seeking new horizons and opportunities for growth, Emde left her native Germany and relocated to the Netherlands. It was there that she embarked on her artistic development, immersing herself in the country’s vibrant art scene. For more than 16 years, she dedicated herself to honing her technical skills by attending a wide range of courses and workshops at various studios. This extensive period of artistic exploration and learning has greatly enriched her work, adding depth and nuance to her creations.
Japanese Ink Painting: The Guiding Philosophy Behind Emde’s Art
In her quest for artistic identity, Andrea Emde found inspiration in the world of Japanese ink painting. She has long been captivated by the reverence that Japanese culture holds for others, the environment, and the natural world. Her fascination extended to the understated elegance of Japanese aesthetics and the Wabi-Sabi philosophy, which embraces the transitory and imperfect beauty of life. Emde’s art has been profoundly influenced by this philosophy, and it continues to guide her work.
Emde’s artistic style is characterized by a harmonious fusion of the Japanese Wabi-Sabi philosophy and the traditional Sumi-E ink painting technique. This synthesis is evident in much of her work, lending a distinctive flavor to her creations. Emde’s artistic expression spans a range of subjects, including landscapes, botanical works, portraits, and abstract figures, all imbued with the subtleties of her unique style.
“You Can Be My Muse”: Emde’s Exploration of Imperfect Beauty
A year ago, artist Andrea Emde embarked on an ambitious art project titled “You Can Be My Muse.” Within this venture, she deftly paints ordinary women, transforming their likeness into that of classical sculptures. The project’s primary objective is to embrace the natural imperfections of the human body, to redefine it through Emde’s artistry, and to celebrate the uniqueness that distinguishes each individual woman. The Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, which celebrates the beauty in imperfection, also significantly influences the project.
In a short span of time, Emde has prolifically depicted more than 175 brave women, hailing from diverse backgrounds and representing five continents, under the banner of this project. The initiative has not only grown beyond expectation but has also become a source of inspiration for Emde to continue her work.
In her studio, Andrea Emde embraces a minimalist aesthetic, with ample brightness and clarity. While painting, she finds herself transported to another dimension, where self-expression flows freely and without constraints. On occasions when Emde encounters challenges in finding her creative flow, she wisely steps outside to take in the rejuvenating freshness of the open air, allowing herself time to recharge.
Artistic Influences: The Resonating Legacy of Kahlo and Schiele
Andrea Emde draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who is celebrated for her raw, unflinching depictions of pain, joy, and illness. Equally influential to Emde’s artistic development is Egon Schiele, a significant figure in the expressionist movement, known for his provocative and emotive works.
A standout piece in Emde’s oeuvre is a figure painting from her “You can be my muse” project. The work features a body set against a stark black backdrop, with the neck subtly indicating the posture of the head. For Emde, this evocative gesture communicates a sense of “letting go.” The human form, with its inherent complexities and intricacies, has long captivated and challenged Emde as an artist, and this piece holds a particularly deep resonance for her.
Before transitioning to ink painting, Emde experimented with a wide range of artistic techniques. She explored the possibilities of acrylic and watercolor mediums, honing her skills and broadening her understanding of artistic expression.