Recovering from Accident
Jue YangYou had a bike accident in August 2021. How are you recovering now?
Quinda VerheulI am doing much better, but not totally there yet. I used to train for cycling for about 15 hours per week. I’m trying to get back in that shape again. I still have side effects. For example, sometimes I have difficulty concentrating and keeping track of small things. My back reacts and my body is not happy. But at least I can sit here and have a conversation and keep my art practice running.
JYHow has the accident affected your work?
QVBefore the accident I took on a lot of projects. I had a lot of energy to get all these things going. I don’t have the same level of energy now. So I started focusing more on being in my studio.
JYWere you able to take a break after the accident?
QVI canceled what I could, but I had some big projects coming up right after the accident — a show at the Science Gallery and a solo exhibition at Root Gallery. I wanted to make them happen. I felt I was getting to a turning point in my career and my art practice was recognized and appreciated. I also got funding for the first time. It didn’t feel like an option to cancel these shows, so I arranged what was necessary to reach the best possible outcome.
JYDid you ask for help when preparing for your solo exhibition?
QVYes. My brain was still in a fragile state from the accident. There was an interactive element in the installation, but I wasn't ready to learn Arduino. So I contacted Rob Bothof who could do that part. It worked out very well because he could offer his knowledge on things I knew nothing of. He made decisions about what components to buy, and I just bought them and let him take over that part of the project.
My dad also helped a lot. He is an engineer and helped me build some things. I also asked my dad to order materials online for me. I couldn’t scroll through the websites because at the time looking at the screen was easily overwhelming for me. I asked a few other people to work with me on the production.
JYHow has it been for you to be represented by a gallery?
QVMy gallerists have a network that I would not be able to reach myself. When they grow, it means we grow together. However, when I look at the income I actually earn, it is not always enough. I get half from the sales right now. With that I can cover just about the production costs. I understand that the gallerists earn for their work of connecting the artwork to the market. I understand they need to pay to have a spot at art fairs. This is not easily solved. It’s just how the system works.
JYOne of the reasons you are renting this studio is to have more space. Has that worked well for you?
QVThe rent I pay for my studio space is commercial rate, so it’s quite expensive compared to other studio spaces, for example SKAR. There are two parts of the space. A “clean” space where people can see the art and have a coffee and not be afraid of touching anything I am currently working on. The other part is going to be more of a “messy” space. It already feels too small because it was a puzzle to find ways to store the pieces I’m working on. Maybe I will have to find some other storage space soon (laugh).
JYThe smaller works you make in the studio are for sale. When it comes to bigger installations, how do you fund them?
QVThis year I am going to work on a public space project for RORO. I am again applying for funding for this project. I need at least €3,000 to buy materials, since I want to work on something big. When you have funding, you are able to invest. When investing in your practice, you are able to grow. Last year, I wrote the applications myself. This year I had someone help me write. My brain is still not up for it, even though I would like to be involved in the writing more.
JYYou have taken the Cultuur + Ondernemer workshop and you recommend it to other artists. What are your thoughts and experience about artists as entrepreneurs?
QVI used to make things and sell them at markets during the weekend next to my studies. Throughout the years, I realized it was not up to me to be picked up and have a good income from just making art. This course made me rethink how I could grow my business around what I do, which I didn’t learn at school. For me, being an entrepreneur means that you come up with ways that allow you to do the things you like. Part of this is that you have to network, to find people who are going to buy your work.
JYWhat helps you with your practice and art-making?
QVIt helps to have deadlines and to have moments where I know my work will be presented. Without a deadline, I don't feel as much urgency to create work. Recognition is important to me. I also need space in my week to train and ride my bike. It is space to digest my ideas and the things that happened.
Ideally, I would have a big enough space that is not crazy expensive. Even if it had to be crazy expensive, I would have enough money to cover the cost. I would be able to be in my studio five to seven days a week. It would be somewhere in the mountains, closer to my favorite subjects. I want to keep that dream. For now I feel I need to stay in Rotterdam. My life and network is here.