Persona November, 17th 2017 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 143, Wanda Plantinga


wanda plantinga – 1

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 143, Wanda Plantinga
Wanda’s studio is located in a picturesque neighborhood. When she looks out of the window, she looks at the Hooigracht. The walls are full of woodcuts and etching prints. She sketches at the big wooden table. On the ground lies her dog Oliver Thomas Barcley, a Beagle one year old.
But she does not only work here. She also works at home in Scheveningen. In a bunker she has a studio where there is a press she uses for her etchings and cutting outs of wood and linoleum. Wanda: “That’s a nice place for the ‘dirty’ work, the printwork.”

wanda plantinga – 2

The Beetle
Printing with wood and metal is her passion. “The zinc etching plates and the wood get their own character through the many treatments, they are going to tell their own story. They are extensions of my hands.” An etch is more than one print for her. Actually, the zinc plate is her artwork.

She works a lot with a concept and combines that with elements from her personal life. Recently she had an exhibition in Pulchri together with Mansour Bakhtiar. On her prints in Pulchri we saw three basic forms, the Beetle, the Fish and the Vase. Each time there are other colors and variations.
Wanda: “The Beetle stands for me for the end and for the beginning. Protection and change. A beetle is a symbol of creation and the cycle, the cycle of the day. The Fish stands for freedom, but it also symbolizes the unconscious. It is an entity from the deepest layers of personality. Love is also part of it. And the Vase stands for source of life and acceptance.

wanda plantinga – 4

Five years ago her father got ill. “His world became smaller. He began to fall a lot in repetitions. He was afraid that when he died and was buried, the beasts, beetles among others, would walk over him. The emotion that I experienced at this time and his missing after his death, I wanted to translate into something positive. I was looking for a harmony of colors, sometimes calm colors of consolation, sometimes shouting colors of despair and sadness. But in addition, colors of power and renewal. By printing them over each other, new spheres arose. “

wanda plantinga – 5

Eventually, her father was not buried but cremated and his ash came in an urn. She made works inspired by that, vases with eyes, and a soul in a vase, a vase in a fish. The ashes were scattered in Bali. “All fish swam behind. He would have been able to get along with that. “
Her father always had the dream to go to Indonesia. He came from there, lived from his 15th in the Netherlands, his mother was a Balinese dancer. With her Dutch husband she ended up in The Hague. What her father did not realize – or in a sense realized late, his daughter Wanda Plantinga did: she went to live and work in Indonesia as a graphic designer and art director.

wanda plantinga – 6

“I had done the Constantijn Huygens Academy in Kampen. I studied graphic design, as well as the subject of free disciplines, so I could continue to print and draw. When I graduated I went to Indonesia and started working as a graphic designer and art director. I could get started for design agencies and later for J. Walter Thompson, a major advertising agency. I designed advertising campaigns for Unilever, KLM and Samsung for magazines and TV. It was a nice time. I regularly went to Singapore and Thailand for my work. “

wanda plantinga – 7

After six years Indonesia, she wanted to go. “I noticed that I had another element in me, a Dutch soberness.” She left with her husband to America. She stayed for a year, but she did not have a Green Card and stopped with advertising. Once in London, Chelsea, she picked up the printing of etchings and the wood carving. One to two days a week she went to an academic day training. “Then all the puzzle pieces came together. Print turned out to be a greater passion than I thought.” Six years she lived with her husband in London, where she got three daughters.
And then she was again in The Netherlands, in The Hague or rather at Scheveningen. “I really wanted to start exposing. I signed up at The Hague Art Circle (Haagse Kunstkring). I took painting lessons at Mansour Bakhtiar. That helped me to get back to work. We see each other every week to discuss our work. We often do that when we are together in the gym. “

wanda plantinga – 10

Key work
At one point Mansour said to her, ‘Let’s exhibite together.’ “Mansour already had a few exhibitions in Pulchri, all of them solo exhibitions. This would be the first time he made a duo exhibition. I wondered: how does our work come together? But when I saw it at the exhibition, I realized that it had become a whole. There are overlaps. I found it very nice to see how well our work matched. We are already planning to do a duo exhibition again in 2019, then in the big hall in the back of Pulchri. “
Which work can she designate as her key work, a work that served as a turning point? “That’s a work of 2011 of two smaller beetles. That was hanging in the hall of my house. Every time I walked along, I thought, ‘I’ll continue with that. I have to finish this.’ And I did that.” TOR (Beetle) is now also the name of her studio. Under this name, the graphic work and the illustrations usually appear. She wants to continue printing, etching and painting. “I realize that I do a lot of things: etching, carving, painting and illustrating. Ceramic and three-dimensional work is also on my list. Not just like that, but as logical development. “

wanda plantinga – 12

Village in the big city
Meanwhile she is an artist for 27 years. “At least, if you let my graphic work fall under the art. Is graphic work art? I have designed many packings, including in Bali. But I feel I really started with art in London, now 12 years ago. Then I stopped working and focused myself 100 percent at etching and carving. “
Occasionally she still does graphic work. For example, for her neighbors in the Hooistraat, Café Martes. For them, she designed the menu cards. She experiences the Denneweg and surroundings as a village in the big city. “With the Hague Art Circle, the Denneweg Art Route, the contacts with the shops, such as the Improc tea and coffee shop, where a young woman has taken over her parents’ shop.” With Eelco van der Waals, a Hague poet, she made a book of poems. ‘As small as the world / as big as happiness’. It is on the table in front of me. At the next art route there will be a follow-up. For the museum shop on the Denneweg she illustrated tiles, for the foreign tourists. She shows it. A tile with a stork ‘I’m a Stork’ and a tile with the Scheveningen lighthouse on it. “I am never bored.”

wanda plantinga – 14

Finally, does she have a philosophical idea? “I keep being in connection with Indonesia. For my next exhibition in 2019, ‘roots’ will be my theme. I would like to attract the ties I have with Indonesia, also for the young generation. I want to show how rich the art of Indonesia is. And I think it’s valuable to each person to preserve and articulate the art and culture of the country of your ancestors.

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