Artist Of The Week: Sven Signe den Hartogh

#AnInterview! Building Bridges between reality and the unknown. Sven Signe den Hartogh is an artist based in Netherlands. He believes that we are disconnected with our true selves. Capturing the timeless emotions through his diverse art works. To reconnect the lost elements between unknowns. When the time is frozen, the true feelings will last forever. 

KB: Could you tell us a bit of your background? How do you start to become an artist?
Sven: Years ago when I dropped out of school and was working in a jeans store, I felt the urge to share my inspiration, therefor I started a blog called: The Stranded Sailors.
It was about sharing my passion for denim, tattoos and craftsmanship which I did with a couple of friends. We wrote articles about our favorite brands, how to wear certain products and we curated various stores. Because of the blog I was already doing the work of a creative director (without knowing) and was constantly in the midst of beautiful creations and inspiring artists. One day we were documenting some people and one of my friends was carrying a really old film camera and asked me if I wanted to take some shots. I said: ‘’Yeah, fine’’ and took some shots.

And at that moment I knew this was what I liked. Using my eyes, hands and heart to create
something. After that trip I borrowed a camera from my brother and just started to shoot without knowing anything about photography or cameras in general. I started to photograph friends, nature, pretty much anything. And I thought, THIS IS WHAT I LIKE! I have to get into it, so I really put all my effort and time into my work and really did my best to get notified. And it did… Within 6 months, I worked for magazines such as: Esquire, ELLE, VIVA. Shot for brands such as Jameson Whiskey, REV’IT! and some big festivals. From there on I started with painting, poetry, performance and film. Everything has always grown very organically.

KB: What is the most important element in your art works?
Sven: I’m not sure but I always focus on translating my purest feeling into everything that I create and that depends on what has inspired me on that moment. Sometimes I’m really interested in translating a certain vibrant magical feeling into my work but the other time I’m really into a melancholic feeling. It really depends on the moment but I think all of my work has a timeless and sincere quality to it.

KB: We could see you experienced with film, performance, painting and photography. Which format of art is your favorite to express yourself? Are they related to each others?
Sven: I don’t necessarily have a favorite, altho I have used photography the most but I think every form of art is beautiful in and of itself and so different. My approach to film or performance or even painting is different but the same. They are all ways for me to give form to energy and to be able to communicate with the everlasting questions of life. With every artwork that I make I learn a bit more which I can use for the next piece. All that I create comes from my endless need for self-expression.

KB: With your photography works, you mentioned that ‘Bridging’ , but we see the aggressive color patterns and the image are divided with lines from your painting works. We would love to know what’s the difference of the concepts between your photography and paintings.
Sven: In photography I’m using the world as a stage in which I step into this unknown void in order to capture the light and to sketch lines with my camera, but I need the stage in order to create. In painting I’m more relying on the input from the universe I think because it seems that everything is always just happening. For painting I don’t need the world as a stage, I can create the world on my canvas, I can create that what hasn’t been created before free from earthly boundaries.

KB: What experience you had makes you feel that we are very disconnected with our true selves?
Sven: Various experiences, ever since I was young I felt that I couldn’t really connect with most of the people, a lot of children always thought that I was weird because I was different then most of them. Later on, I began to see that everyone is endlessly trying to make the most out of his or her life but not really knowing what’s it about. I mean, we can forever talk about art and the importance of everything that comes with it but what’s really out there? I think we have developed a way to distract ourselves from our basic human experiences, that of consciously being in the moment and enjoying what’s happening, being true to each other, living in alignment with nature, being loving to other earthlings and so forth. To me, it feels like we are so focussed on things that in the end won’t make us any happier but we just seem to keep on doing exactly that because that is what is expected right?

We are so focussed on everything we can see that we often forget that there is a whole world out there that we can’t possibly explain but connects with us on many levels. I think it is really
important to connect with this side of life in order to grow and to feel more in ease with all of the things we don’t necessarily know. Our true self is life itself, not what we portray on the internet or anything we have achieved or posses. Our self is just to be..

KB: What’s the ‘True you’? Did you project the true you via your vision?
Sven: The true me is when I’m able to answer to my feelings regardless what anyone else may expect. In my work I can at least try to be as true and pure as possible when it comes to the creation process.

KB: ‘Bridging the world and the unknown’ Could you please explain what is the unknown for
Sven: I think it’s a trap to assume we know a lot about life and even tho it may seems that I have any clue, I don’t. Always remember that we live on a blue planet that is spinning around another planet in an endless universe so if anyone think he knows what’s going on, please tell me. haha! I’m just very interested in learning more about life and exploring various emotional parts of myself, to me everything is unknown but we can and must most certainly enjoy the ride whilst exploring right?

KB: If the unknown is unknown, how can you imagine what things you wanna connect through your visions?
Sven: I can’t, I have to rely on the fact that everything is simply happening whether I like it or not. I always used to think that creativity was mine, my ability, my talent. But I’m not sure anymore, I like to think that creativity just flows through me and I’m the receiver somehow. I don’t like to take credit for that as if I’m the only one who can come up with this, it just happens…

KB: Your photography always contained the thickness of emotions, did you already imagine the result before you start the project? Or they are happened organically?
Sven: All of my work comes from a very deep emotion and desire to create, I try to create as personal as possible and therefor it is often a reflection of what I’m going through in life. Sometimes this is more melancholic but it can also be really vibrant and magical. Even when I’m staging a photoshoot the emotions have to be real, it has to be because that’s the only humane thing we can relate to. The emotion and expression of those who are portrayed.

KB: From two of your projects you are catching the intimacy between couple, but we can still taste the timeless sadness in those images. Why is that?
Sven: I think we all have inner demons or at least a lot of suffering in our life and it is on us if we decide to heal ourselves from this suffering. But to keep it more personal I’m really attracted to exploring the theme of melancholy in my work, it might be a way for me to heal my own issues. It’s an interesting question because I do ask myself the same. But yeah, I’m very attracted to melancholy, because it leaves a lot of space for interpretation rather then pretending everyone is happy and beautiful all the time haha.


Sven Signe den Hartogh
@svensignedenhartogh and