Dutch artist Lieke van der Vorst was born in Kaatsheuvel, a village between Tilburg and ’s-Hertogenbosch in the southern part of the Netherlands. She started her blog and studio Liekeland, in 2011.
In her work she combines everyday life with dreamlike scenes: a dinner table with people and wild animals, a garden with a girl and a bear planting together, meaningful and beautiful images that transport us to a whimsical land.
Perhaps her drawings are reflections of how Lieke would like the world to be: a place where we are all connected with nature, where every living thing can find a place at our table and people and nature live in harmony.
Lieke's work is printed on Arctic Paper from Sweden, with only a minimum amount of water and energy, Arctic Paper produces ecological and FSC certified types of paper.
Interview with Lieke van der Vorst
Where did you grow up? How was your childhood like?
I grew up in a little village in the South of the Netherlands, Kaatsheuvel. Where I lived with my parents and dog. I had a very great childhood, with lots of holidays to the South of France, where we did camping close to the sea or in the mountains. I was always drawing and for every birthday I've got pencils or my parents let me choose anything from the art-supply-shop.
Are your parents artists?
No, my dad works with printers and my mother is a hairstylist. But they are both creative and always supported me.
When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I never really did. When I was young I wanted to do ‘something creative’ so my teacher told me I should study graphic design. While I was studying graphic design I figured out I wanted to work with my hands instead of the computer. So I starting drawing a lot. When I was in the art academy I loved making big illustrations and that’s where I started using ballpoint pencils.
Do you like to cook?
Yes I really love to cook, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love to make Indian and Thai curry’s, salads and try lots of new recipes from cookbooks.
Who/what inspires you?
Lots of things, I think just the daily routines, working in the garden and cooking. Also going to the market, drinking tea with friends, and having picnics in the park. I love good documentaries and books about healthy food, maybe when I am not illustrating I would do something creative with food. I also love good cookbooks and cooking shows.
Nature is very important in your work, tell us about that.
I believe nature is everything, everything is connected and in harmony. People should trust it more; like if you would try to listen to your body and eat no human-made-food, your body will tell you what it needs.
Recently you traveled around parts of the Maldives, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, how this influenced your work and what did you learn from these travels?
I learned so many things, from being alone and overcome my fears, to how lovely people are to strangers who are lost. We met so many wonderful people, eat great food and saw wonderful nature. I was really looking for inspiration and sometimes I found it, but when I look back at the adventure I think I learned more about myself than I have found inspiration for new work.
You contributed with your work to the book “Goof Night Stories for Rebel Girls” about Lakshmi Bai, queen and warrior of India. In this book stories about other heroic women are illustrated by 60 female artists, from every corner of the globe. Tell us how would your like your illustrations to inspire young girls.
That would be so great, yes! The book is about strong independent women, so it’s a book with lots of inspiration and motivation. In every illustration I try to tell a little story or communicate a thought, sometimes it’s very clearly visible and sometimes not. But to inspire young girls to start illustrating, or to eat more healthy from nature, or to be an independent woman is wonderful.
Where is home?
At this moment home is in Eindhoven, a city in the Netherlands. I live together with a very good friend, cooking good meals every evening.
Where do you work and how is your work routine?
I work in a studio about half hour bicycle ride from my home. It’s in a old school building with lots of light coming in. Every morning I start working in my studio between 9 and 10, then I first answer my emails, making some packages if I got orders and then I start illustrating. At 1:00 I make lunch, mostly salads, and then work until 6:00 pm. The post office closes at 6:30, so then I ship out some packages and go home.
What kind of music do you like?
From punk, electro, country and metal, to Cuban and Spanish music. Like Restavrant and Manu Chao.
Name three of your favorite books.
- Awareness from Osho: https://www.bol.com/nl/p/awareness/1001004001584987/
- toxic free from Julia Kang:
- The green kitchen cookbooks
Your illustrations seem to be very connected with your life experiences, is there a particular message you would like to convey?
That people should start listen, to themselves, their bodies and nature. It would be so nice if we can all live together without hurting any living thing.
What are your projects for the future?
I am now working on some new prints, also inspired by all the travel I did last year.
Why is important to have art at home?
I got a painting from one of my interns, it’s a table with flowers on it and some cigarettes. I traded it with her and it was one of my first things I got in my new house when I got home from the trip.
Where do you want to travel next?
South America, I would love to visit Mexico and eat lots of beans, corn and avocados!