Our city is full of emerging artists and lovers of the arts. Michelle & Stephanie Hoogveld, local Calgarians and twins, have a passion for the arts and are pretty good with a paint brush.
While you’d assume a pair of twins would be eerily similar, these two have very different artistic styles. Check them out below!
1. Who are you and what do you do?
Michelle: I am a local emerging artist who works primarily works on wooden panels and canvas. I also work with local communities and businesses, creating artwork for public spaces.
Stephanie: I am a professional artist whose paintings are an expression of my life though travel, encounters with the environment, my faith and self discovery. My work varies from bright, vibrant and colorful pieces that reflect joy and a sense of play, to rich monochromatic paintings in warm sepia hues, that evoke curiosity and compassion for the given subject.
2. When did you start painting:
Michelle: I always would draw and paint as a kid, but it really began in my parents’ garage. On a folded up Ping-Pong table I would paint for hours, listening to music on an old static-filled radio, experimenting with different color palettes and a variety of styles. As a self-taught artist, my love for painting continued while on a full soccer scholarship to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. I would sneak into the university’s art studio and paint through the night, scraping and dripping and layering paint, intuitively combining mediums and ultimately discovering my affinity towards mixed media painting. After graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Design, I then went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from The University of British Columbia.
Stephanie: In 2005, when my two eldest sisters were getting married, Michelle and I wanted to create something unique and special, so we painted Hoogveld originals. Although this was my first painting, it wasn’t until the completion of my Math and Education Degree in 2008 that I realized this is something I truly enjoy doing and wanted to pursue my interest further.
3. How has your style changed over time? How is your style different from one another?
Michelle: My style has evolved considerably from where I began up until now. When I first started painting, my subjects were mainly centered on portraiture. Over time my work then transitioned to primarily abstracts. My style utilizes mixed media in many cases combining oil, spray paint, acrylic, pastel, leather, metal and various found objects.
Stephanie: Initially my work was very experimental and quite abstract. I wanted to feel the medium and see what it could do, and more importantly, see what I could do. These techniques have become more refined over the years and I realized my passion for painting had to express what I love, which is landscapes and horses. My work has evolved into playful pieces full of color and my distinctive brush strokes.
4. What type of art do you identify with most?
Michelle: I find I’m most drawn to artwork that pushes boundaries in terms of making marks that aren’t necessarily realistic or exactly how something would be seen in everyday life. The idea of something looking painterly or deconstructed rather than photorealistic catches my attention and forces me to look more attentively at a piece.
Stephanie: To the art form of painting, my favourite style is impressionism. I feel captivated by the dreamy strokes that reveal the subject, while leaving enough space for the imagination. I appreciate when the viewer has the opportunity to have their creative input on what they are seeing.
5. What themes do you pursue?
Michelle: Oftentimes, my work is representational of interpretations I’ve made of others as well as myself. Truly, it is about telling a story. We are bombarded with messages of negative influence on a continual basis, and I suppose my aim is to bring a feeling of optimism to others through my work.
Stephanie: Landscapes and Horses
6. Professionally, what are your goals?
Michelle: In the upcoming year, my plan is to take my work internationally in both the gallery system as well as with a focus on public artwork. I’ll be heading to Ireland to work on a few murals, and hope to continue expanding my portfolio through a variety of shows and mural work both locally and abroad.
Stephanie: I would love to own a gallery that curates paintings that stand for positive global change effectively funding community programs. I don’t want to just paint a pretty picture, I want to paint change, something that goes beyond the canvas.
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7. What role do you believe the artist has in Calgary community?
Stephanie: Artists and their work contribute to the culture of Calgary. We visually communicate our stories and share them in a language that our city can relate to. Calgarys art scene has grown quite a bit over recent years due to the support of our local government and programs. I would love to see this continue to further develop and expose communities to the talent in our city!
8. Do you feel the arts should be better funded?
Michelle: This topic seems to come up often, especially with the cost of some of Calgary’s public works in recent years. However, aside from the few works of arts that have primarily been criticized, I personally see great benefit to cities that support the arts. The arts create space for discussion, growth for businesses, attract tourists, as well as recognize the values, history and/or culture of an area. For example, programs like Painted City and This is My Neighborhood, allow communities to gather information on what is meaningful to them, which has translated into hiring artists to paint murals, create banners, as well as paint utility boxes within their community.