As a child, I grew up in a house with canvases all over the place. Dad, who was a project engineer at Unilever, painted at night using the refrigerator as his painter’s easel. He also sang in a jazz band. Mom also painted her whole life, and even in her 70s she learned a new skill: how to make stained glass. She designed one of the pieces in my house.
My parents taught my how to draw, paint, sing, write and (especially my mom) showed my how to work with textiles.
As a teenager, I bumped into my first great love, Rinze van Brug, who was an artist as well, you can view his recent work here.
During our relationship, I still painted too but soon switched to photography and writing.
My next great love, Gert Scheper, whom I met in the first years of my professional career, is chief of stage lighting at two theaters, I always like to joke that he paints with light. You can see his work at the Oostblok theater.
As I photographer I’ve had some exhibitions during my University studies (between 1991 and 1996).
During that same time, I went to fashion school (in the evenings) to become a costumier. Working with textiles became a source of income during those days, I literally financed my (day time) University studies by designing and creating clothes and costumes.
In 1995 I started my first company, which pushed away the arts a bit. I kept writing (I’ve written six books by now and have written numerous articles, you can find my publications here), but working with textiles got to the background and photography became no more than a hobby.
I’ve never completely lost touch with the arts, though, in 2005 I worked with 25 artists for Queen Beatrix celebration of 25 years on the throne, and I coordinated the book that went with the exhibition.
Working as an entrepreneur can be absorbing.
However, in 2016 I realized that, no matter how much I enjoy my professional career, I missed working with textiles. So I took a radical decision to make a reservation to work at least one day a week at my atelier in Amsterdam.
I feel my life is now more balanced, and allowing more space for this type of creativity not only makes me happier, but it also improves my work as a strategist. This mechanism of using your brain on different ‘frequencies’ has always intrigued me, and I hope to do some academic research, together with my students, on what this means for management.
So, there it is. Art, strategy, science. The three elements my professional life and my happiness is built on.