This week we are thrilled to welcome artist Marcelle Hanselaar to the expert judging panel for the Jackson’s Painting Prize 2022. Originally from the Netherlands, Marcelle is a self-taught painter and printmaker based in London. Much like her work, her fascinating journey as an artist is rich, immersive and colourful. Here, she talks about how she started out and tells us which artists would grace her table at the dinner party of her dreams.
Above image: Detail from Self portrait of yesterday, 2012, Marcelle Hanselaar, Oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cm | 23.6 x 19.6 in
Clare: As a self taught painter, can you tell us about how you got started? Did you always paint in oil? What were some turning points for you when you first started out?
Marcelle: I had studied fashion drawing in the early 60’s at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague but my real interest was sculpture. After I dropped out I became a model at the Rijks Academy in Amsterdam. I learned about painting, how to stretch canvas, how to work with a pallette, colour, composition etc from listening to the instructions from their teacher. And of course made friends with many different artists. But it was much later, when I was in my 40’s, that I started painting seriously. Yes, I have only ever painted in oil.
I began as an abstract painter but after my parents died, I began drawing intensely and my work became very figurative. My discovery of the painter Max Beckmann, the way he expressed feeling in paint opened many possibilities for me. In 2005 the British Museum bought my La Petite Mort prints, my first ever museum acquisition, it was an enormous boost to my self confidence to have my work being taken that seriously.
Clare: As an artist who lives in their studio, what can you share with us about that experience? How long have you lived and worked there? Do you find yourself painting every day?
Marcelle: My artist life has never really been separated from my personal life. For a long time I lived in my studio because of economics, I even sleep in it. Now my work and my life have become so totally intertwined and cannot imagine living away from my studio. I have lived here for over 40 years. I don’t paint every day. Many days I draw, mess about, make up stories, sit and think. I am also a printmaker and draw my plates in my own studio before I take them to the Print Studio to work them further.
Clare: Which four artists, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Marcelle: Sorry I want at least 7 guests… and I am not even talking musicians yet. Louise Bourgeois, Otto Dix, Rembrandt, Max Beckmann, Egon Schiele, Alice Neel, Michael Armitage. These are amongst the many people who inspire and intrigue me, both in their courage of imagination, painting and drawing skills and rebelliousness. None of them choose an easy path but all of them had great integrity.
Clare: What have been your exhibition highlights of 2021, either online or in real life? Who are the artists you are most inspired by this past year?
Marcelle: Two solo shows both in Belgium. First publication of the Northsea book and exhibition of my Northsea paintings, all made during lockdown, at De Queeste Art, Belgium. And my Print retrospective of prints from 2001-2021, The Bark and The Bite at Museum de Reede in Antwerp. The artists you are most inspired by this past year are Leon Spilleart and Michael Armitage.
Clare: How important do you think awards and competitions are for artists today?
Marcelle: I am in two minds about this, to win an award or getting selected in a competition can be very encouraging but equally it can be very frustrating or disappointing because of the odds.
Clare: What will you be looking for in the entries submitted to the competition this year?
Marcelle: Interesting use of the material, skill and an emotive narrative.
Clare: Do you have any advice for artists out there thinking about entering Jackson’s Painting Prize this year?
Marcelle: Go for it!
Clare: What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Marcelle: I will be showing some new paintings with Aleph Contemporary both at the London Art Fair and later at The In & Out Club, London.
Hopefully will be showing my Crying Game prints with other artists in Voices of Protest in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in the Autumn of 2022.