@jillesvanalen - The Art of Being Queer - Artist Feature

Tonight’s fabulous queer artist feature is @jillesvanalen

Artist statement:

I'm a Dutch 46 year old artist from, Haarlem (NL). It was 6 years ago when I got back into making art. Before that I made art of and on. Insecurities in combination with rough comments on my work made me feel 'ah fuck it, I'm not doing this' and I dropped it. Also, at times, life was to challenging and distracting to sit down and make art. Everything had  to do with feelings of being different and the insecurities that came with it. As a country boy raised in a homophobic and an unsafe environment I didn't develop enough resilience to cope with this. Moving to the big city Amsterdam was very liberating for me. Yet, while I just started to explore myself I had the feeling everybody else was 10 steps ahead of me and felt like I didn't have the power to change that. I was also to busy running from myself and my past. The clubscene was a great way to do that.

It wasn't easy for me growing up in this homophobic part of the Netherlands. At the age of 12 I knew every negative word possible for a homosexual man. Growing up in a family with a schizophrenic father, divorced parents when I was 9 years old and unfortunate happenings, left quite a few marks on me. I was on survival mode for quite a long time.

So making art with this background should be easy you would think. It wasn't for me. I needed a safe space to show myself to others and there was a complete lack of that in my life. The urge to make art has always returned in my life because it is such a big part of who I am. So, 6 years ago, when I got my first smart phone, I played with the camera so much, I just couldn't stop anymore. I was at a time when I experienced more space a safety in my life. I also worked hard to deal with my past and work on accepting who I am. I found a new way to express myself digital. I started to make collages and then started to draw again and eventually started to combine all these things. I guess my past does help me now to make art.

Making art gives me the opportunity to explore my path of queerness and to discover myself overall. A big part of that path is selfacceptance. It gives me the opportunity to share my identity with other people, my vulnerability, my shame I felt for being who I'm. Art gives me the opportunity to find my pride, worthiness and it confronts me with all my insecurities and it teaches me to process all these themes. You could say my work are snapshots of these processes I'm going through. I'm always striving to develop myself mentally, spiritually and creatively and to become a more complete version of myself. Making art has helped me with that process of becoming who I am.

I'm an eternal evolving organism currently in a matrix called earth. It's all mirrors and reflections.

Make sure to follow the artist and The Art of Being Queer for more amazing queer content!