Before we delve into your project ‘L’AFRIQUE’, please take us back to your beginnings. When did you get interested in art?
I have always been interested in everything creative. As a child I used to draw a lot and created things, women, and animals with clay for example. But I also loved to dance and sing. I practiced ballet seriously for 10 years in my youth. Drawing stood out as did photography when I became 17 or 18 years old. I always knew that I’d do something creative for a living. It was always clear that it had to be art-school, even for my parents.
Your AFRIQUE series has been on-going for a few years now, its longevity is a testament for your love of the African culture and heritage. Where did the love story begin?
I became interested in African arts when I lived in Belgium and visited Brussels a lot where some good friends were living. These friends happened to be collectors, dealers, and experts in classic African art. Being such an environment, I became more and more familiar with African art. I would hold the masks and sculptures then study them while my friends told me about them. One day I brought my camera and shot some pictures of a sculpture and downloaded the photos to my computer. I was curious to see how I could combine the sculptures with the pictures of African models I had photographed before. To attempt to bring the wooden artifact to life.
How do you plan on using your platform and your artwork to promote the various countries’ cultures and their diversity?
Well frankly I do not, I simply choose whatever inspires me the most at that moment.
Can you please take us through the process of creating a piece for L’AFRIQUE series?
Every time I create a piece the process is very different from than the last. Sometimes I find a model that inspires me and I begin with her face, I start making pictures of her in a studio and later I begin to ‘add’ things combined with other elements and even other models. It’s rare that an artwork of mine was made from the features of only one woman. Mostly one face is built from at least two or three women in addition to traces and elements from African artifacts or anything else I can find to tell the story, like Egyptian gold, white lace, pearls, colours, feathers, mummies, ancient times, microscopic shots of insects, science, braids, bows, ufo’s, animal skeletons, antique tapestries, tears, marble rozes, transparent fabrics and so forth….
What is your favorite piece out your whole collection and why?
‘Madonna’, ‘The Twins’, ‘Rose-Mary’, and ‘Giulia’, Lucrezia’ as well as my older pieces like ‘Grace’. These are all images with a deeper sense of spirituality, very emotional and sensitive. Also,pain and joy are equally present in these pieces.
Which one was the hardest to make?
The Madonna and Lucrezia were the hardest to create, because of the complexity of the veil and the transparency.
You’ve been a part of multiple exhibitions, which one stood out to you?
A solo show in Brussels a few years ago. We turned the exhibition night into a spectacular event with dancers, models, and opera singers t was one of the best nights of my life.
What’s a typical day in the life of Ingrid Baars?
On most days it’s usually very simple. I start with a large cup of coffee with steamed milk then, get behind my computer where I work on my pieces, read things, do research, and check my social media platform. Lately, I go to the gym in the morning and walk my dog, I live next to a large green area with water and nature I love to visit this are to clear my head.
Sometimes I do social things like chat or meet with a friend but not often enough. I love dinners, I love to eat, drink, and occasionally I binge watch shows. However, on days when I am creating, I skip online activities and dive into the artwork I am working on at that moment. When I work – ‘I work’. Nothing else. Endless time, time I can fill with work. Not being bothered by other stuff, it even bothers me when my boyfriend asks me what I want to have for dinner.