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'Embrace your individuality'

  • Fine Art

Alma van Maasakker is a graduate from the bachelor’s course Fine Art at AKI ArtEZ in Enschede. Her installations never consist of just one element, always incorporating multiples to create rhythm and visual interest.

'Embrace your individuality'

Repetition, repetition, repetition

When it comes to Alma's artwork, she prefers creating large installations that transcend a single medium. “I like to work with wood, due to its versatility. It’s a great material for building. I also work extensively with ceramics and silkscreens”, incorporating repetitive patterns and forms into her pieces.

Repetition is a recurring element in my work. That is why I enjoy using screen printing and ceramic molds. Both of which involve repeating shapes and patterns.”

The artist as a director

Alma chose the humble paving stone as a leading theme for her finals work. “I enjoy setting rules and limitations within my creative process. Freedom is important, but too much freedom can lead to frustration when anything is possible.” By focusing on a familiar object that represents repetition in our daily lives, she found it slightly absurd and intriguing to graduate with a paving stone as her finals project.

Art should address serious themes, but in accessible and everyday forms, bringing attention to things people might overlook.”

Alma expresses the importance of making art accessible and avoiding elitism. She sees her work as a stage, a setting where something has happened or is about to happen. She views herself as the director of her own artwork, creating tension and engagement for the viewers.

Alma’s journey at AKI

At Fine Art in Enschede, students can choose between two directions: sculpture or painting. In her first year at AKI, Alma chose the sculpture direction, which led her to the studios in the garage space of the impressive building in Enschede. “It’s a world where there is always something happening; it’s never quiet.”

The importance of being proactive

In the second year, students are given more freedom. “AKI encourages students to explore their own ideas and interests. It is super important to be proactive and ask for help when needed. The school provides excellent workshop staff who are creative themselves. They are always willing to collaborate and try new things. They offer guidance and support, but ultimately, the ideas and motivation should come from within the students.”

Developing the artistic practice

While there are various subjects to study, such as philosophy and theory, Alma noted that the time spent in the studio is where students are truly thrown into the deep end. The practical instructors can be great sounding boards for ideas and discussions, as they have their own artistic practices. They help students understand which feedback to consider and what is essential to their own artistic practice. “Because eventually, it is up to you.”

The value of exchange programmes

During her studies, Alma had the opportunity to participate in an exchange program through Erasmus. “I found it valuable to experience a different academy, as each school has its own approach and strengths. It was interesting for me to bring together the knowledge and perspectives from both institutions. Discussing my work with others during the exchange was exactly what I needed at that time.”

Pursuing a master's degree

Looking towards the future, Alma shared her plans to pursue a master's degree in Fine Arts at the Luca School of Arts in Brussels. “I’m excited to learn new things and be challenged further. After four years at AKI, I feel ready to take on the academic rigor of writing a thesis and engaging with complex theories and philosophies. It’s important to be able to articulate my ideas effectively.”

Advice for new students

In closing, Alma offers some advice to new students. “Create a lot of work to find your own voice, without comparing yourself to others. Occasionally, having tunnel vision and being fully committed to your own artistic path can be beneficial. AKI ArtEZ is a place where you can explore your creativity freely. Embrace your individuality and dive into your own artistic pursuits.”

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