Meet the artist: Maudy Alferink

Alferink is a Netherlands-based hyperrealistic oil painter who translates the empowering qualities of the female being into contemporary à la mode oil paintings.

When did you first start painting? Were you born with a paint palette in hand, or did your interest in art develop over time?

My start as a painter came a bit as a surprise. I was always creative and studied fashion. I started my own fashion and entertainment brand where I created costumes and make up looks  for performers. In 2014 a car crash put a hold to all my work. I was in a wheelchair and had to go to rehab. In rehab I started painting for the first time. I had all the time in the world and turned the rehab centre in an atelier while my artwork sizes grew bigger.

Was there a moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

At first I was just painting as a mental therapy during rehab but when I started sharing my works on social media, people wanted to buy them and since my physical damage showed that I may never be able to do my old job I felt I could try to make it as an artist.

Self-Portrait by Maudy Alferink

How can you describe your own style and technique?

In my work you can clearly see my passion for haute couture fashion. I paint modern oil portraits and select amazing models from all over the world as my muses in every shape size, colour, gender. I want to be inclusive. In my work I look for the feminine which can be anything because I feel everyone has a feminine side and I am always looking for everything that can be interpreted as femininity. I sometimes borrow haute couture fashion from Dutch designers like the Elmo coat by Jimmy Paul. My technique is classical. I’m self taught with a complementary 2 week course that I took from a classical master in Florence Italy named John Micheal Angel. He taught me the techniques of Caravaggio. I took those techniques with charcoal, underpainting, lighting and layering and turned that into a modern outcome for my colourful works.

Machael by Maudy Alferink

Do you have a personal favourite piece? Can you think of a piece that was particularly fun to work on?

How can you ask a mother to choose between her babies 😉 I think I love specific parts of paintings. Like the bugs bunny roller skates on “whats up doc” , the studded pink jacket on “Delete my number” and of course the couture Elmo coat  of Jimmy Paul and the latex pink jacket of Amber Willemztijn. My favourite project and most challenging was the commissioned work for a lady in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. She flew me over to Jeddah with cinematographer Roderik Patijn and we did a photoshoot as I always do before I start painting. You can find a video on that project here:

Delete my number by Maudy Alferink

Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?

I would have loved to meet Rembrandt and Caravagio and enjoy a day in the atelier and watch them work and then an evening in a bar with both of them. If Caravaggio doesn’t kill us before the day ends it might be quite the adventure. The two men will probably end up in a fight if I may believe the stories on their characters.

What is your favourite art gallery/museum and why?

Well I think I can say I likes specific exhibitions that I’ve seen. I like what Museum Voorlinden is showing most of the time. The Opera Gallery often shows interesting works (worldwide).  And I always chase exhibitions with artist and fashion designers I admire like Kehinde Wiley, Galliano, Dior, Koons and Hirst. I have seen so much classical realism that I feel more like checking new contemporary works nowadays.

What was the last exhibition you went to?

It was an amazing exhibition in a new space in Miami called El Espacio 23. It is a contemporary art space founded by collector and Philantropist Jorge M. Perez. And it had some amazing views on womanhood what always inspires me.

Shy by Maudy Alferink

Which artist materials do you use and why?

I use the smoothest linen that I can find and often have it stretched on aluminium by Artel. That way my linen will stay in shape and nicely stretched for a lifetime.

I started of with all sorts of affordable paints but I realised quickly that if I want to deliver the best of the best I needed to step up my game. So now I only work with Old Holland and some additional winsor and newton liquin to speed up the drying process. Since the artworks grew in price fast I needed to make sure that I deliver a painting with a colour quality that will last a lifetime. I want to deliver hight quality skills, originality and material quality. So there is no way back now. And I still drool over the colour intensity of all the reds, pinks and purples by Old Holland that I often use. Albert from my local art Shop “Uit de kunst” in Deventer often let’s me try and see the colours before I buy them. And then we talk about pigments and artist stories for hours. It’s a nice break from the solo artist life in my atelier. He knows everything and if he doesn’t he will go find out for me. For my latest project “de nieuwe Vermeer” I had to use oil colours that Vermeer used in the 16th century so I asked for very specific colours and even had Lapis Lazuli (a very rare blue made from a gemstone and has the same value as gold)  made for me by Old Holland. The Tv show about Vermeer will be on Dutch tv in Febuary 2023.

And for my brushes I always go with the synthetic ones. I feel those hairs stay in shape the longest and don’t deteriorate so fast.