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Not accidentally Sven Signe lives in Delft, a city famous indeed for its Delftware, the traditional Dutch white and blue pottery. Perhaps the craftsmanship and old fashion appeal present in the city have unconsciously and magnetically attracted the versatile artist. Art to him is about feelings and he constantly strives to make visible what is hidden in our inner selves, like an emotional explorer. His insatiable hunger for self-expression has brought him to test himself in almost all creative disciplines, from photography to painting, film, poetry and even installation, working for a wide range of brands and magazines. We asked him few questions trying to understand what is behind this perpetually moving mind.
How did you get into photography and painting?
I used to have a blog called The Stranded Sailors in which we portrayed a certain denim related lifestyle. This was my way of showing the world my vision on beauty, but it felt like there was something missing. I felt this huge urge to create my own work instead of curating others’. From there on I decided to take pictures and the rest is history, ever since I started creating myself. It was as if the stars aligned, because I finally felt like I did what I was intended to do: create.
In your pictures you often portray very intimate scenes, getting a closer eye on relations and affections. How do you create your visual poetry?
I think all forms of creations are based on feelings, therefore it’s important to chase a certain feeling when it rushes through your body. Nothing is more important than being in the moment and trusting your artistic abilities. Lately I also feel like I learn a lot about myself through my creations, whether it’s photographs, paintings or poems. I feel like via this way I’m mirroring myself through certain aspects of my past, which is quite interesting.

Tattoos, music instruments, movie atmospheres and vintage vibes seem to be the essential elements of your imagery. How do you get inspired by contemporary culture and daily life?
It’s funny because that is not on purpose. I guess my work reflects a certain aesthetic beauty that I’m interested in. I like raw elements, imperfections, grain, dust, colour, etc. I want to invite people to go on this journey with me, to escape from everyday life and to dream about different places. But therefore you need certain ingredients. I think that’s how I pick my topics and locations.
What artists, muses or themes have influenced your aesthetic?
Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Nick Cave, Cy Twombly, Anton Corbijn, Saul Leiter and of course my beloved girlfriend Nina Elise van der Meer as eternal muse.
Could you give us a glimpse into your creative process?
It mostly starts with inspiration, coming from a variety of sources like books, films, music or simply everyday things in life like nature, light, water or other elements. From there on an idea comes to mind, which I like to develop in my head for a moment. But I work really instinctively, so mostly I just go to work and try to be swallowed by the moment.

How do you approach a new project? Is there any difference for you between working on a personal work or on a commissioned assignment?
Most definitely, I think there will always be a gap between personal work and commissioned assignments. To me, personal work is a hundred per cent a feeling evolved into a collaboration with either people or materials but still coming directly from yourself, not having to worry about expectations or anything. The moment you give that up you trade in a certain freedom, which is okay. But it’s not the same nor will it ever be. So yeah, I do approach commissioned assignments different but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them. Some of my greatest memories in life came from several commissioned projects.
Do you prefer to work with analogic cameras or digital tools?
Analogic, everyday! I work with digital cameras for some projects but nothing beats film. The whole process of working with analogic cameras feels so magical to me and I love the raw imperfections. To me it feels like my work really speaks when it’s shot on film – not that the foundation of the imaginary lays in film but I feel that it is important for the process and the results.
Together with Aisi Rosa Schuur you have created the project Conceal.us, how did it started and what do you want to show through it?
Aisi started a blog in which people could submit their most intimate secrets, anonymously. We started talking about the possibilities for this project to take it to the next step and the importance of doing so. We want to offer a platform where people can reveal their most intimate secrets in order to gain awareness for depression and for the daily problems that people suffer with. To show that you are not alone.

You published the photographic book Letters to the Moon some months ago, could you tell us about this project?
A book is not only a statement but also an invitation to join someone’s world. This was my first publication and I dedicated it to my first and final real love in this world, which is Nina. An ode to the child of the moon, bundled work consistent out of photos and poems. With this book I wanted to immortalize our love.
You have worked in a wide range of media and creative fields, from poetry or painting to creating a beard oil. Is there any technique or creative language that you haven’t explored yet?
Together with my best friend Edwin van der Sande, who is an amazing filmmaker, we’re currently finishing up a short-film which I directed so I would love to get my hands more on moving images and on top of that I’ve also done a participatory-performance for the first time this year.
What do you have in store for your future projects?
Apart from the photographs, poems and paintings I create on a weekly base, I’m also super interested in projects or work that doesn’t necessarily involve or rest on the visual aspect of art. I can’t reveal too much yet but it might involve music.
As mentioned before, I have this endless need for self-expression so I basically have to create in order to exist, no but jokes aside. I do feel like I continuously need to develop myself as an artist but also as a person, a lover, a brother, a friend and so forth. I like how life intertwines different aspects of a person´s life.

Words
Ilaria Lorio Albarin
Portrait
Nina Elise van der Meer

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