Painter. Model. Director. Introducing Marlou Fernanda - the artist that does it all

"Try to keep your heart and your thoughts pure."

- Marlou Fernanda

Introducing Marlou Fernanda, the effervescent Dutch artist whose practice centres around a fearless navigation of colour. Her vibrant paintings and works on paper address identity and femininity, amongst other subjects. Working from a very personal point of view, her art frequently features a central character who is visually reminiscent of herself. Fernanda, who is of Brazilian and Curaçaoan heritage, is also the subject of her own performative yet documentary-like short films, which, sometimes humorous – other times more pensive, address everything from faith to loneliness to the creative process. We spoke to her about her work...

Many of your paintings are based around abstract portraiture. What attracts you to this type of work? And what do you wish to showcase through your artwork? What attracts me are certain types of color compositions. They give me a really good type of feeling. So as I paint, I am usually led more by colors than the actual story I am trying to portray. It's my unconsciousness that decides what the works are about.

​​​​​​​I read that when you see an empty canvas, you’re compelled to cover it with paint. Has this feeling been forever present? And how does having a prolonged period of absence from painting affect you? An empty canvas opens up my mind. I get to start something new, something fresh. But an empty canvas can also be very frustrating...Lately I haven't been able to paint so much so it already starts getting to me that I have to make something. But when I'm not painting I'm usually making up a way to create something-somewhere-somehow, because I feel like I need to.​

I read that each detail in your work symbolises a stage of life. What is the inspiration behind this? It's because the details that only a few pay attention to have the most to say about what stage in life I'm going through or thinking about.

How has your work developed throughout your journey as an artist? And how do you see it evolving in the future? I can tell that I have started to get my own style - that Marlou Fernanda touch. I’m still at the beginning of it all but it feels good to have that kind of something that nobody else can do like me, with the same intentions, stories and so forth. At first I started with drawing out of boredom when I was 16, but now it's something I almost can't go a day without. That doesn't mean I'm creating every single day, but it's always on my mind. So there's a big difference from when I was 16 and drawing for 6 hours trying to get better at drawing faces and expressions to the present day now that I'm able to express what I really feel without thinking too much. And for the future I see me really diving into my own style being better at visualizing the stuff I have in my mind and using different materials to express in.

What are your unrealised projects, your dreams? I'm aiming for that next, next, next level. So I have a lot to work on - it's an ongoing work in progress. Finally, any messages or words of wisdom for the people reading this? Try to keep your heart and thoughts pure.

You can enjoy more of Marlou's work on her instagram: