Astrid Oudheusden is a Dutch painter based in Amsterdam, where she has been incessantly drawing and painting since finishing art school, 25 years ago.

“Art school was boring,” she said during a panel discussion with curator Cairo Clarke, held at the House of Vans last weekend in occasion of her solo exhibition.

She remembers how a teacher reacted with disgust on her color choice once. Or when drawing a portrait, she had to start from the face, because those were the rules.

“Sometimes it happens that I start from a hand, or the clothes, and the eyes are the last thing I draw.”

Astrid has always been interested in people. She has this tendency of observing people on the bus, in the streets, and wondering what they feel, what are their experiences.

She is attracted by the layers behind the façade, not in their thoughts, and tries to depict these feelings on paper.

“If I haven’t become a painter I would have been a psychologist” she revealed.

Daily Life (Of Others) is her last series of work that portrays human beings absorbed in those apparently insignificant moments of everyday life, like waiting for the bus, swimming in the pool, or having a drink, but that as a whole they “show the heart of society”.

“My work is about looking at people and try to figure out whether they are comfortable or not with themselves and the world surrounding them, how they relate to each other,” she explained. “I’m curious about daily life because in there you can see who they really are.”

The joy of colors clashes with the mood that shines through her art: loneliness, alienation, fear, suppression of feelings, which Astrid thinks are the reflection of modern life and society.

“There’s a lot of disconnection nowadays, everybody is staring at their phones, books, newspapers as we are afraid of making eye contact and relate to each other,” she said.

On the other hand, she is very aware of people surrounding herself. Once in the studio, she tries to recall the moment that interested her while observing someone and attempts to capture those feelings through, sometimes, distorted, spontaneous images and vivid colors.

Other times she uses photographs as anchor points to develop her creative flow.


You can find her work here: