O-A: What is art to you? Is it creating an urge, necessity or maybe an incontournable, essential way of life?
Christel Van Hemelrijck: Creating art is indeed a necessity. It is who I am. But art is many things. It is communication without limitations. It can bring serenity but it can also evoke passion. Art can move you and inspire you. It is a universal language.
O-A: How do you search for inspiration and themes for your work?
Christel Van Hemelrijck: I get inspired by people and places. The interaction incites a constant desire to make art. My work is all about emotions and stories. My major source of inspiration are my travels, new environments, new vibes, new encounters. Every painting is a story. And sometimes even old stories lead to new work.
O-A: How has your art changed over time? Why?
Christel Van Hemelrijck: It did change quite a lot actually. At first I used a lot of colours and worked only with palette knifes, no brushes. It seemed a little more chaotic when I look at my early work. Now it has become more minimalistic, probably because my life became less chaotic as well. My work is all about emotions which I translate onto the canvas, so it makes sense that my art evolves when I do.
O-A: What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
Christel Van Hemelrijck: The most challenging part for me is to resist the urge to tweak a painting, you have to know when it’s done. You can ruin a good piece by working on it for too long.
O-A: What names do you give your artworks?
Christel Van Hemelrijck: All the names of my paintings refer to the people or a specific situation I had in mind when making the work. Like I said, they are all little stories.
O-A: What was the most interesting statement you heard about your work?
Christel Van Hemelrijck: It was a curator review of one of my works: “An almost trance-like, harmonious composition of introspection and symbolic reflection has been achieved.”