Can you tell us about how you became, artistically, Marmite-Sue? When did you adopt this pen name and why?
Marmite-sue was just an Alias name I used online when uploading my portfolio to sites like Myspace and later Facebook, which I used as stages to showcase my art work. After a while I was more recognised with the Alias than with my own name, so it just sticked. I think I also used it perhaps to allow myself to start a new page when I quit my studies. This could be part of it as well.
You went from fashion design, to analog and digital painting and finally to the creation of handmade articulately jointed art-dolls. Basically you kept your concept all the way, but what made you abandon fashion design to gradually evolve in such an incredible doll maker?
I have been drawing/painting since childhood, but my interest in the human body and beauty made me choose fashion as an artistic expression when I decided on a field of study. I loved designing clothes, but somehow always felt there was also something not entirely satisfactory to me, by focusing on clothing alone. It was the tension between clothing and body, the silhouette and line that made the final look beautiful. And that was extremely interesting to me. Yes, a silhouette could suggest a better proportioned body and improve the beauty of a human being. But beauty did not end with that alone, I thought.
A certain type of beauty could be suggested at times not just by correcting the human silhouette but by exaggerating it and distorting it. This made me think about the mechanism of what makes a body or face beautiful, and I always felt I wanted to keep exploring this.
What is it that we humans would have liked to be or look like? What is this alien creature called “beauty”, that we all strive to become?
I felt that I had to first find out the answer to this particular question before making clothes.
During my third year in Antwerp I began thinking of the doll as of our ideal self. I felt it was the perfect starting point for my research since the doll has the basic shape of the human body but it is also an object, it is art, a product of human ideal imagination. I felt dolls could tell us all about what beauty is, since they represent its idealised image. They offered me great freedom to explore as I would not be limited to the clothing but could design all parts of the final look/beauty, without being attached to the strings of what society dictates in regards to clothes and body. For my ITS#FOUR collection I created a doll suit that could be worn by a human though remaining a doll in its own right, without the actual need for a body to be beautiful. By doing this I felt extremely free. A doll was a free stand alone canvas for me...