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[Art] An interview with: Jalinka Gressmann

We gain an insight into the ideas and artistic process behind the work of fascinatingly brilliant Amsterdam based fine artist; Jalinka Gressmann.

Jalinka Gressmann is art ambassador of the Amazon Aid Foundation and was artist in residence at Portuguese eco community; Moinhos do Dão, in 2015, as well as several venues in Brazil. She is represented by the Carlos Reid gallery in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) & Haze gallery in Berlin (Germany).

I approach collages like an alchemist, seeking to invoke a sense of time's relationship with space and how the two concepts of space and time elicit a feeling of travel and transcendence. - Jalinka Gressmann (excerpt from artist statement)

Citing Dadaism, Surrealism & the Occult amongst her influences, Gressmann has the gift of synesthesia, opening up a whole new door to the perception of her playfully alluring collage artworks that we're in love with.

Gressmann’s art is a spontaneous manifestation of her visions, perpetually developing in experimental and playful ways. Jalinka enjoys getting lost in details and finding the beauty & magic in everything, extending and removing borders, playing with synchronicities and parallels.

Read on below to discover her artwork in this insightful interview....

Where did your journey into art begin ? Have you been creating since a young age ?

I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. My first memory in life was when I was 2, it was in the hospital by my grandfather’s sickbed, I remember that the knees of the nurse who was walking towards me were at the same height as my eyes. I’ve been drawing my whole life, on paper, in the sand, walls, my skin, clothes, I existed in my self shaped oasis, my sanctuary, the only place where I felt ruling, free and happy.
I also liked singing and dancing, and dressing up, and acted like I was another person or creature, but when I noticed folk were looking & judging I stopped doing that. I constantly was very critical of myself and what I created, it never was good enough... I eventually released completely that ridiculous false belief after 7 months of Brazilian jungle a couple of years ago.

Has your environment sculpted you in any way ?

I was born in the Netherlands, living in Amsterdam. I have mixed ancestry/ethnicities/roots. My environment shaped me yes, just like my DNA, my experiences, joys & griefs, my (inherited) traumas, losses, friendships & family, schools & work experiences, my travels & trips, thoughts, wishes, emotions, my dreams, my extreme sensitive sensory experience in this existence, my overactive associative neurodiverse synesthesia brain, my overflowing heart, (sometimes like a waterfall, sometimes stagnant like a muddy swamp), my always exploring soul searching to the source & my body, always striving for balance. 'Your environment & you are the same' is what the Nichiren Buddhists are saying, they call it Esho Funi.. sometimes that sounds absurd and impossible, but they also believe nothing is impossible/everything is possible.

How long did it take you to develop your style and what drew you towards collage work ?

Not sure how long it took to develop my style, but I do know that I was already making collages (and assemblages) before art academy, the earliest I can remember were weird funny books I made, full of drawings, tales, weird fantasies, magic formulas, non-existing languages, oddities, and cutouts, and later I made them for my best friend (who did the same for me) when we were pre-teens. There also were sort of collages in it, cutting out stupid kid's faces from the toy store magazines, and making monsters out of them.
I think when I was at the University of Arts in Utrecht (1999-2004) my collage work developed more depth and balance. When I discovered Dadaïsm, that was what stimulated me even more, I felt like I finally found my people! So yeah, I’ve been making collages for quite some time ... it’s just recently, thanks to the lockdown, I got focused and decided to make 111 days every day a collage & share my work !

What artists / movements / themes have inspired your work the most and why ?

For sure Dadaism but also surrealism since I’m a sucker for fantasy plus a natural tripper with my senses entangled. But being a combined hunter and collector, I’m always looking for the best and most wonderful aspects in everything. So before I’m giving my endless lists of interests, I better can tell you already I’m not sticking to the same things / themes / realms / sounds / genres / styles, but I’m looking everywhere and there’s nothing / nowhere where you can't find incredible significance. I’m furthermore a detail freak so even if it’s a small detail from a pile of f*ckd up waste, I always find the beauty and always see the fun of it. And making unthinkable combinations and connections is the best thing in life. On every level.

What is your personal relationship with spirituality ?

I’m a very spiritual person but with both feet rooted in the earth. Probably because I’m a double Virgo haha, no, probably because I’m practical and critical. Even though I have enough experience in the supernatural. I’m drawn to the occult my whole life, was already performing rituals at a very young age, it emerged naturally, especially when in nature. I don’t feel connected with the new age colonialist spiritualism which there is a lot of nowadays in the western world. That kind of superior privileged behaviour I don’t appreciate, a bunch of egos and most of them “lightworkers or healers” putting on shows, and they don't perform what they preach...

Does nature inspire you and your work ?

Nature inspires me the most of everything, it flows right back into my art. Micro macro worlds, fungi, deep-sea creatures, the connections, the details, the sacred, geometry, patterns, the hidden and “invisible” stuff, the respect, the diversity, the smells & sounds & colors, healing, wisdom and peace and this symbiotic way of living and dying and living and repeat. We can learn so much from nature. But we don’t learn to listen / look and get disconnected the older we get, unfortunately. So we become blind and deaf and don’t notice what we destroy.

Is there a particular period in history that inspires you the most ?

Ancient cultures like the Mayan, Inca, Aztec, Babylonian, Egyptian but also Greek, Roman, Persian, Mesopotamian, Chinese, Indian and more civilizations and empires. It’s all very intriguing. I love mythology and mystical stories so alien and non-human civilizations are also interesting, Atlantis, Lemuria, and the Annunaki. I don’t care what is claimed to be true or not, it’s for me all about the genesis, the stories, habits, significance, developments, findings, possibilities & potentials. And of course, how it felt, looked/smelled, and sounded.

Are you inspired by the occult / esoteric in any way ?

I’m unquestionably inspired by the occult and esoteric. Before the internet, I was addicted to books and was reading all kinds of alchemy/magic/occult stories, fiction, and the real stuff, also the dark stuff. I do use all kinds of elements from the occult and also a lot of characters and situations straight out of my dreams. Sometimes I consciously pick elements or symbols, but most of the time not, since I’m not a conceptual artist. It just flows, I don’t like to put myself in boxes but it all processes intuitively and naturally when I create. As I already mentioned I get a lot of insights and ideas out of the dreamworlds. Not sure what happens there but it’s quite magical. I don’t remember people's names, but from my dreams, I remember every minuscule detail.

You can discover more of her work via:

Instagram: @jalinka_gressmann




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