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Q+Art: Miriam Kruishoop Tells Stripped Down Stories Inspired by the Peoples of America

Q+Art: Miriam Kruishoop Tells Stripped Down Stories Inspired by the Peoples of America

“First and foremost, I’m a storyteller,” Miriam Kruishoop tells NOT REAL ART. The Dutch multimedia artist specializes in intimate, stripped-down stories, produced with few special effects and careful choreography. Working across film, photography, and neon, Kruishoop—who now lives and works in California—creates work inspired by people who fall between the cracks of American society.

“America and its people inspire me profoundly,” she writes in her artist statement. “There is so much going on that triggers my emotion, often hugely upsetting me. My work definitely takes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues, addressing the disparity and the deliberate suppression of minorities, police brutality, and racism. For a majority, the American Dream is unachievable and merely a propaganda tool.”

Kruishoop’s recent work—which includes a series of neon curse words in Arabic and English, and a video installation that expresses Black pain through krumping—addresses urgent political issues through deeply personal stories. Currently, her solo show Fleeting Moments is on view in Mexico City, a body of work she produced with help from local communities.

“I’m definitely driven by a strong sense of idealism,” she writes. “If we openly address our problems we can overcome our differences and unite. I’d like to bridge perspectives, not build walls.”

In Today’s Q+Art Interview…

Miriam Kruishoop discusses reoccurring themes of social justice, the Palestinian cause, and the importance of building bridges from one idea to another.

Working across film, photography, and neon, Miriam Kruishoop creates work inspired by people who fall between the cracks of American society.
‘7-Eleven’
Working across film, photography, and neon, Miriam Kruishoop creates work inspired by people who fall between the cracks of American society.
‘Dunkin’ Donuts’

Which books, art-related or otherwise, belong on every artist’s shelf?

Miriam Kruishoop: Books on 17th century Dutch Masters.

Which cultural concepts, themes, or philosophies inform your work?

MK: Social justice and inequality.

What are you trying to express with your art?

MK: I try to build bridges between cultures and offer different perspectives.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?

MK: Best: Never work for anyone. Worst: Where do I start?

Working across film, photography, and neon, Miriam Kruishoop creates work inspired by people who fall between the cracks of American society.
‘FUCK YOU (ENGLISH)’
Working across film, photography, and neon, Miriam Kruishoop creates work inspired by people who fall between the cracks of American society.
‘FUCK YOU (ARABIC)’

What's your biggest barrier to being an artist?

MK: Money and finding trustworthy collaborators. People who share the same values.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?

MK: Best: Never work for anyone. Worst: Where do I start?

What's your biggest barrier to being an artist?

MK: Money and finding trustworthy collaborators. People who share the same values.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

MK: I don't. My work is my life. Art is life.

Film still from ‘LIVING IN AMERICA’

What role does the artist have in society?

MK: We document moments in time in unique ways through our lens. Ultimately they become part of our history. We offer different perspectives and help people experience different emotions. Artists play an essential role in life and in society.

If you had to pick one, would you rather be a historically significant or commercially successful artist? Why?

MK: Historically. Legacy is simply more meaningful than dough.

What role should money play in the art world?

MK: Money should play a lesser role. Art has become a commodity—it kills it.

‘PLAYGROUND’

What’s your relationship with money?

MK: Love + hate.

What are you working on that you’re excited about right now?

MK: So many things. Right now I'm in Mexico City doing an artist residency at Aldo Chaparro Studios. I have been working with local communities to create all my works here for a new show at the end of the month. From ceramics to video. It's been amazing. A lot of people talk about the importance of working with communities, but I feel this is an essential part of my practice that I continue to build on. Especially as an artist living in America / Los Angeles, I think it's important to show how paramount Mexico and the Mexican people are to our lives and our society at large. Mexico is our ally, our neighbor, our family. We are all North American, and it's a passion of mine to continue this narrative.

What do you do to maintain your mental health?

MK: I ride horses and I live near the ocean.

‘Pera 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5’

What does success mean to you as an artist?

MK: Independence and legacy.

What do you dislike about the art world? How would you change it if you could?

MK: Too many phonies and too much pretense.

How does your geographical location affect your work and/or success?

MK: It's everything. I react to and work with my surroundings. Both my films and my visual art talk about what I see and experience around me. It's a constant inspiration as well as it is a source of aggravation. It definitely keeps the activist inside of me alive. Los Angeles is a great and diverse place. But I do look beyond my geographical location. I'm from Europe, so Europe is an essential part of me. I'm also very focused on the Palestinian cause, and I'm looking to collaborate with some great artists from there.

Miriam Kruishoop

Miriam Kruishoop: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Purchase Prints | Gallery Contact

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.

Want to be featured in Q+Art? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.

Morgan  Laurens 

Morgan Laurens is an arts writer who lives in the Midwest and enjoys saying "excuse me" when no actual pardon is needed. She is the founder of So Long See You Tomorrow, an organization that helps artists and creative entrepreneurs write about their work, craft a story, and get back in the studio. Learn more at: https://solongseeyoutomorrow.com

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