Visiting Yael Hupert at her Antwerp artist’s studio

Looking at Yaels’s artwork is like meeting interesting people – they look at you in an intense way and the vibrant coloured paintings and details of fashion give them a feel of modern-day appearance. The Antwerp artist, a former make-up artist, can’t stop working ever since she found her inspiration, from travelling, fashion and art. IRMA had a chat with her.

IRMA: How did you develop your painting?
YAEL HUPERT: It became the sum of many elements that were in my life: my work as a professional make-up artist, my love for interiors, and generally being inspired by life around me.

IRMA: How does a typical workday look like for you?
YAEL HUPERT: There’s no typical day! I can go on a painting frenzy for days if the inspiration is there, losing every sense of time. The flipside of this is that when I don’t feel inspired, I won’t touch my brushes for weeks.

IRMA: Your favourite artist?
YAEL HUPERT: I’d have to pick Kris Knight, for his amazing talent and use of colours. I love his cool, modern take on portraits. It’s funny because he paints only men and I do only women.

IRMA: How do you develop your skills?
YAEL HUPERT: I have a good base as a make-up artist, and always have been creative as a kid, so the mix was natural… Then, it’s only hours and hours of frustration trying to get it right – totally worth it when it happens.

IRMA: Your favourite place to look at art?
YAEL HUPERT: Museum, definitely. I love to visit modern art museums in cities I travel to.

Yael Hupert in her Antwerp studio. Photo by Sylvie Vandewalle

IRMA: Is there a source of inspiration you keep on turning to?
YAEL HUPERT: I get mostly inspired by fashion: details in garments, magazines, catwalks etc… I also love to get stimulated by the work of other artists.

IRMA: How do you find your subjects?
YAEL HUPERT: It can be anything: a magazine, a detail in a picture, the attitude of somebody I fixated on and observe, a colour combination that strikes me in the street … its quite random, there’s unfortunately no magic recipe to inspiration! You just need to pay attention.

IRMA: Is your workplace a reflection of you as a person?
YAEL HUPERT: Absolutely, I need to work in a space that inspires me. It’s an organised mess with all the little things I love: nichos from Mexico, Daruma dolls from Japan, and a ton of quirky stuff I accumulated over the years.

IRMA: Where would you like to live and why?
YAEL HUPERT: Barcelona. I need city life; and I find that sun brings so much life to your everyday. My husband lived there before moving to Belgium, and we’ll go back one day.

Photos by Sylvie Vandewalle