MEHvH
Maya Holthuis, 20 year old undergraduate Fine Artist. Cardiff Met' 2012-15.


Documentation - Here I document my developing art practice, this includes documentation of works in progress, finished pieces, and inner dialogue.
Install Theme

Untitled 1, 2 & 3
Collage using found imagery
February 2014
Maya Holthuis van Houben

Untitled 1 & 2
Collage using found imagery
February 2014
Maya Holthuis van Houben

Untitled Collage using found imageryFebruary 2014Maya Holthuis van Houben

Untitled 
Collage using found imagery
February 2014
Maya Holthuis van Houben

Don’t be so NegativeCollage using found imageryFebruary 2014Maya Holthuis van Houben

Don’t be so Negative
Collage using found imagery
February 2014
Maya Holthuis van Houben

Night Riders from Hell
Collage using found imagery
February 2014
Maya Holthuis van Houben

Reflection: Main gains from Play and Creativity

This module has been rocky for me, and so before moving on to the next Field module, I want to focus back on the key things I have gained from this module:

  • Watching and listening to people is important. Whilst I may not be directly trying to please or entice people with a product, my art work is going out to the public. As I have intentions concerning the way that my work is received and understood, I need to be aware of other ways that I do not intend. I need to listen to and watch people as they engage with my work in order to learn how to better achieve my intended response. 
  • The importance of playing with multiple ideas (I still don’t feel comfortable with the word ‘prototyping’). Quantity is better than quality in the beginning, you need to experiment with many ideas before you judge their quality.
  • Understanding my own well-being. Anxiety isn’t a bad thing, it’s all part of the creative process. When we are anxious and our adrenaline is pumping, we are often at our most creative, what I need to do is learn how to then get my anxiety to plateau, calm myself, and use it positively in a controlled and creative way. One of the ways I can do this is through collage, I can also use meditation and deep breathing techniques to help calm my anxiety. 

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Define: Den (A working definition)

The word Den has itself been problematic for me; different people assume I am talking about quite different sorts of spaces, in particular tree houses or outside built dens, or soft blanket dens made in the child’s home. 

My definition of the Den is much broader than this:

An intimate, comforting space that engages with the occupiers imagination. 

This space may often, but not always, be secret or private, but it is always created by the inhabitant and is therefore a space which they own and control. The Den may not necessarily be a space which has been physically built or constructed, it could exist more in the imagination of the occupier, a space or gap between existing things, the space created beneath a duvet when lying in bed with your feet or arms in the air. The space is a safe and comforting place.

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Construction

Process photos: building the frame for the cardboard box Den.

This cardboard box Den, and my Den work in general, is definitely an ongoing project.

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Points from Discussion

Today my field group re-convened  to share our ideas and the projects we had been working on.  It was really interesting hearing the different interpretations of the brief, and comparing the way that I had dealt with it as a Fine Artist, with the way that others had as graphic and product designers. I took a few points and ideas away from the discussion about my own work:

  • After I have come up with the concept (currently: exploring childhood memories), how important is it to stay true to my own memories or experiences? Is it not more important to put my experiences to one side and focus on making other people remember theirs? 
    -> My answer to this is that it is incredibly important for me to stay true to myself. My integrity to myself and as an artist is more important than triggering the memories of the viewer, even if this means I have to accept that my goal is potentially impossible, I can’t make work that isn’t true to me, or to my own experience of the world.
  • I need to think about where I put the Den spaces -  maybe not in a gallery? Will people let themselves play? Do people need the space to be private in order to feel they can play?
  • Could I not get all of the materials together in a space and invite people to come and build their own dens? 
    -> I really liked this idea, it was something that I had been beginning to think about towards the end of subject - how involved should the viewer/participant get? 
  • "Not everyone had dens when they were children, I never played in dens, so seeing this wouldn’t trigger any childhood memories"
    This particular issue is something that needs a couple of answers:
  1. I realise that everyone has had completely different life experiences, no childhood is the same, and no brain makes exactly the same connections. To expect to be able to trigger recognition of a universal experience is not realistic, and I realise this; I don’t expect everyone to think of the same thing or the same memory. In a way that is the true essence of what I want: everyone’s differing experiences.
  2. A misconception of what I am referring to when I talk about a Den. I need to write up a statement elaborating on exactly what it is that I mean by Den.

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Working Sketches

Sketches helping me to visualise the building of the box.
I am using a box that I already own, scaling it up 5x.

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Scale in my work

I think that environment and surroundings have a huge impact on people, and that these can therefore be implemented to change the way that people act and feel. I am curious as to whether scale can therefore enable people to engage more with their imagination and grant themselves permission to play. 

If I take something that many people have some form of connection with, a cardboard box, and scale it up, what effect could this have on people?

I want this to trigger memories of either their own or a loved ones childhood, the excitement of the blank-canvas-box that could be and was everything. I want this memory to affect people; to make them want to play, to get inside the box as a child would. 

I also realise that a universally shared experience is unachievable, the diversity of people and their experiences mean that I can never achieve this total recognition.

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

I have realised that I often toy around with scale, here I have made a miniature book appear gargantuan by adding these tiny characters. They approach the pages of the book as if a piece of art in a gallery. The pages far too large to turn, the book has lost its purpose, what is it now?

I have realised that I often toy around with scale, here I have made a miniature book appear gargantuan by adding these tiny characters. They approach the pages of the book as if a piece of art in a gallery. The pages far too large to turn, the book has lost its purpose, what is it now?

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Ever since I was little I would seek out tiny spaces, if I could fit in them that would be fantastic, but if I couldn’t I would imagine the creatures that could. Holes in the bottom of trees, cracks in the concrete of brick walls, even spaces between the mess on a desktop, these all became magical spaces full of wonder and fictitious characters. 

Ever since I was little I would seek out tiny spaces, if I could fit in them that would be fantastic, but if I couldn’t I would imagine the creatures that could. Holes in the bottom of trees, cracks in the concrete of brick walls, even spaces between the mess on a desktop, these all became magical spaces full of wonder and fictitious characters. 

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Boxes

When I have talked to people about my work, or when they have popped into my studio, many people have shared their memories with me. I have found this really special, it’s been lovely listening to people talk about their childhood (or more recent) memories, and something which has popped up a lot is the cardboard box. I know from my own experience just how special a cardboard box can be, for a child it is a blank canvas - it can be absolutely anything.

I have collected a vast amount of cardboard over the last few weeks and I know that I want to use it for this project, I am not entirely sure how yet.

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)

Why did the Den fail?

  • It triggered the wrong reactions in the viewers
  • It was not inviting - no one got inside it

If I am trying to trigger something very particular in a person, I need to think very carefully about all of the other, different things that I may be triggering (wanted to make people remember childhood dens - people saw and thought about a tent and camping - this has therefore failed). To continue with the den I need to consider décor, fabric design, placement. If I want to trigger childhood memories for someone in their 60’s, I need to consider the décor that would have been in their homes 55 years ago: this would be very different to the décor I would need to trigger childhood memories for someone in their late 20’s.   

(Source: maya-holthuis-field)