Sophie Vermeulen 1993
Artist, Portrait Photographer and Designer
From a young age, I knew I wanted to become an artist. While other kids were busy playing outside, I spent most of the time daydreaming. One of my unconventional dreams was to become a cook on a monocycle. I had thought about everything to do with this dream. Like, for how I could arrange the kitchen in such a way, that I could move my monocycle through the kitchen (complete with high cupboards) and how my friend could bake at the same time.
I always have ideas. Usually too many to execute. When I create things, I like to imagine something that looks impossible. This keeps me motivated and gives me great joy when I am somehow able to create it anyway. As a child, I could spend hours sitting in my room, creating all sorts of things like jewellery, drawings and collages. And daydreaming about crazy staged photographs.
Being curious and playful comes naturally to me. Mostly towards unknown things. I have a great interest in other cultures and people. I find it fascinating to see people differ so much, and yet be so similar. The first time I came across this was during my hitchhiking days and later on during one of my first residencies abroad. When I create, I seek borders and limits. What is normal? What happens when we cross this ‘border’ into the ‘abnormal’?
With my photoshoots, I have found a way to create some of these so-called ‘abnormal’ situations. The creation of my art can only exist in a safe space: both for me as an artist and for my model. Luckily, people tend to trust me easily. I am a keen listener and pick up on how people are doing, even without words.
One of my pet peeves is randomly asking people if they are happy. Off the bat, most people are confused by the question. But after a few moments of thinking about it, 9 out of 10 answered that they are. Happy. The best thing? All people I’ve asked this, after answering, will turn around and ask me the same question. My answer? A resounding YES, I’m happy!
During my photoshoots, I get to do and create ‘abnormal’ things. That’s the most beautiful gift art has given me. It is directly linked to a resounding ‘happy’ feeling. Everything is possible, as long as you can imagine it! I am proud that I can be an adult, but keep the mindset of a child and share this through my art. I also love looking at the world from a different perspective. Upside down. Literally. Doing a handstand does give you a different view of your surroundings. For me, turning the world upside down makes it easier to laugh at the crazy world around you. You come to realise the world truly isn’t as serious as you’d think. When you keep playing, you keep laughing.
In the last years, I've worked with several renowned artists, designers, galleries and universities from all over the globe. To name a few, I had the pleasure to work with Fashion brand Orange Culture, Rosalie Boonstra Couture, ArtEZ University of the Arts, Mauritshuis and Gallery Cokkie Snoei.
I also spent time as an artist in residence for a few months in Morocco at Art Slimane, Marrakech (2018, 2019) and in Belgium at GLO'ART, Lanaken (2017).
A short introduction to Sophie and her work: the artist and photographer Sophie Vermeulen. This film was made for Donnerwetter Day 2017. The music is by Donnerwetter.
With special thanks to Arnoud Lievers, Yadi Dragtsma and Melchior Burgzorg.