For years my motto has been ‘I want to make the invisible tangible and the sensitive visible’.
By the invisible I mean the presence of what we don’t see. This can be thoughts, memories, feelings. If you’re blind, everything is invisible, except for the images in your head, which you can have if you’ve ever seen.
The world suddenly becomes a lot more abstract when you are blind. Abstract means ‘Not to the visible reality’. You can understand that that can be very frustrating in a visually oriented world. But it can also be inspiring.
Thanks to my work with visually impaired people, I have developed myself in this area. I’ve developed a system where I’ve translated colours into tangible structures and a method to explain visual information by touch with tangible illustrations and 3D models. I named it Taktila™ and registered it as a trademark. I use it to make the invisible tangible.
The psyche of man interests me and I like to philosophize. I often express emotions by drawing and painting portraits and models. Lately my work has taken on a spiritual charge. Faith is another ‘thing’ you can’t see. There is no evidence for it, that’s why it’s called ‘faith’. I think there are many psychological themes in the symbolism of Christianity; how we deal with ourselves, with each other and with the world and how we can learn to deal with it. I want to publish another book in which I describe my vision on this and illustrate this with my visual work. With this I will make the invisible visible.
All nice, but all of a sudden I wondered: ‘Do I make the sensitive visible at all?
As a sensitive person I feel a lot and I often find it difficult to interpret what those feelings mean. What am I supposed to do with it? Is it mine? Do I feel someone else’s energies?
Whatever it is, it is of course the ultimate challenge for me to represent that. That is what I have to do with it!
So I started to draw the sensations I feel in my body with my eyes closed. It’s not about making a beautiful drawing or a work of art, because then I’m busy with the visual. Abstract drawings come out of it, although I often see human forms or movements in it. Maybe because I want to see that or because I’m used to being busy with it?
I close my eyes and feel something in my body. I put my pencil, pen or charcoal on paper. I follow my feelings with my drawing tools. Sometimes it means a sigh, where I ‘drop’ the line from top to bottom, sometimes it means an oppressive feeling in my throat or an agitation in my belly, stomach or chest. Then again I feel something in my lower back or I have heavy feet. I can get a free feeling where I feel space going up. I only try to feel, not to analyze – which I am very good at by the way – and to be aware of what I feel.
The text below came to mind. I picked up pen and paper, wrote it down and started drawing what I felt in my body.
‘It feels as if my life is passing me by.
But I am here NOW.
I’m always here NOW.
Until I’m gone.
And maybe I’ll still be there.
It doesn’t matter what I do or who I’m with.
In everything I can feel my presence.’
After drawing I opened my eyes and was pleasantly surprised. A ‘simple’ line drawing that represents a surprising amount. There is a lot in it for me. You can see or feel everything in it. I challenged myself to take the second line drawing as a starting point for a painting, took a 120 x 160 cm canvas and drew the form on the canvas with dark brown paint. Intuitively and politely I chose colours that I applied to the canvas. It’s very different from how I’m used to working, but it feels good! I feel like I am getting close to the essence, at least my essence. I am making the sensitive visible.
See more of my (abstract) work on Jofke.eu.
Your Taktila (TM) method is also brilliant, so thought-through and so workable and explaining and supporting and connecting, it should be used in many many schools and institutions!
And it is so beautiful to watch your journey and to follow your development. You are a great artist and developper and with your sensitivity and your dare to share it and to open up, you invite others (students, collegues, art lovers, artists, everybody) to look and not look and to feel and to express more. That is so valuable.
Keep up the good work, stay who you are. As I said: it is brilliant!
Yvonne van der Laan, alias Gedichtenlaantje
(writer, artist, ambassador for Taktila, inspiror)
Thank you very much Yvonne!