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The Art of Confinement with Dominique Samyn

During these weeks of social distancing, Galerie Jos Depypere is thinking about a way to bring art closer to its collectors. By sharing a glimpse of the daily lives of our artists confined to their home and atelier, we hope that we can build an imaginary bridge between our artists and collectors during these weird times of Covid-19.

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Who is Dominique Samyn? Born in Flanders, Belgium. Initially, Dominique Samyn studied ceramics in Belgium. In 1989 she moved to the Washington DC area, where she studied painting at the Corcoran College of Fine Arts. From 1998 to 2001 she lived and worked in Lima (Peru) with frequent travels to Ecuador, Cuba and Brazil. During that time she painted the Galapagos Series. From 2002 she worked and taught at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA.  She has received several prizes and honorary grants from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.  In 2006 she takes up a new challenge and moves to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Living off the grid on a ranch in the high desert has inspired her new work. Since 2006 she has been working in her studio in New Mexico on her new contemporary paintings called ‘Mustang Series’, ‘Sunshine Express Series’ and ‘Adobe Series’. Dominique has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. Her work is represented in numerous private and corporate collections. In 2018 Dominique decided to gradually move back to her homeland, Belgium. With help from friends and family she opened a workshop in Lauwe, Flanders where she continued to work with beewax as her main medium.





Has this situation changed your daily life? Since 2006 I live and work on my ranch in New Mexico. It is very remote, which gives me the feeling that I have been working in isolation for 14 years. The current situation of quarantine therefore does not make a big difference to me. A big part of my days is dedicated to riding and grooming the equines. I consider the contact with the horses as the best medicine for loneliness, which can control our lives these days. We used to go to the city, Santa Fe, once or twice a week for shopping and visiting galleries. Now we go even less and only to get the essentials.


Could you tell us what a typical day in your atelier looks like? The ranch and studio are off the grid.  Consequently, I depend mostly on solar energy.  On cloudy days I paint with oils and cold wax. Sunny days allow me to work on encaustic or hot wax. Heat is needed to melt and fuse the wax medium with other materials. Depending on the weather, I alternate both mediums.





Has the situation affected your own work? Strangely enough, I feel as if the serenity of the place I live in and the peace of mind are gone. It has been hard to get back into that creative zone. I feel spoiled and guilty to make art in times like these. But this is what I do. I hope that I can work through this and that this experience will allow me to make some soulful art.


Do you believe that art can help people during this strange period of time? Music can be very uplifting in difficult times as well as it may unite people.  Living with a piece of art you love is elevating and meaningful.  We all crave for beauty.






What is the first thing you wish to do when this is all over? I will go to Santa Fe and visit my favorite galleries. I am curious to see what other artists have created during this pandemic.  From the moment it is possible, I will return to Belgium to hug my loved ones.




Some available works of Dominique Samyn:




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