Birgitta de Vos
"Composing books, for me, is a creative and healing process. It transforms me."
Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Although I went to Art school, I am an autodidact and work as a multi-creative, an artist, a designer, a self-publisher, a photographer, a writer, an explorer, just to name a few of the things I do. I don’t fit in one job description. I do not fit in one country, I lived in different countries. I do not do one thing, I do many things. The best way to describe what I do is co-creator of the Universe, but of course in essence everybody is a co-creator of the Universe.
What is the story behind your profession and passion?
I don’t think of myself as having a profession. I just do what I like to do. The world is my playground.
I have created my own clothing labels, but while working in the field of fashion I realized I preferred to ‘undress’ people and things, rather than ‘dress’ them. People think they buy happiness when they buy a dress in a shop. They have forgotten it is creativity that brings joy, not a dress that has many copies. My first book Out of Fashion | The New Fashion is my goodbye to the fashion industry.
My passion is to connect with the soul in people, places and products. And how ironically my second book is called Dressing the Soul | Ageless Beauty.
What prompted you to start Birgitta de Vos studio?
As a creative person, I always waited for the other, to publish my work in the world. Until one day I realized I was the one I had been waiting for. Everybody else is busy with their own life.
Having the freedom to do what I like can be rather overwhelming. I had to give myself borders to create. In making books I found borders. There is a subject, a beginning and an end, this gives me focus. And it gives me the opportunity to explore not only my outer, but also my inner world and travel to faraway places as well and, the most important journey of all, to travel within.
What is the vision or philosophy behind your studio?
Everything, everybody, every moment, every place, as well as every book has its own reason for being. I am on a personal mission to explore the uniqueness and timelessness in all forms.
Whatever I do, I always want to go to the source. I like to uncover the just being of being. And get rid of, and take away, all the layers we ‘dress’ ourselves with out of fear or need. Mankind rarely sees him or herself as being good as they are. I want to connect to the soul. It is beyond form. It is energy, or soul.
What made you gravitate towards photography as a medium for creative expression?
As a photographer I paint with light. I love to travel and capture the moment. And with photography I am able to do that. The best things are found in the here and now. In ‘real’ life. It doesn’t matter where I go, I always find something.
Design is creating from the mind. You have to think about function. I prefer to work like an artist, for me that means, making things without knowing the meaning at first. Embracing the unknown. Art is the language of the soul.
I make pictures by intuition, without thinking. I like to wander and travel. Wherever I go, I find something. It is only afterwards, when I am back in the studio, things fall into place and a story unfolds itself.
How would you describe yourself and your personality?
I always go where I haven’t gone before. I cannot copy others or myself. I admire people who can do the same thing over and over again, but I cannot. Life is short and there is so much to discover. I like to explore new territories and have new experiences. That keeps me alert and in the present. The moment I am in one place too long, my mind takes me on a journey.
And how does your personality affect the way you photograph?
I am rather fast when I make pictures. I have to catch the moment, before it is gone. No moment is the same. If I am not here and now it is gone. If I have to think too much taking pictures, I miss the preciousness of the present.
I don’t see myself as a skillful photographer, I am a creative in whatever I do. When I lack the skills to do something, I go around and find another way. Most of the times the best work comes when I am out of the way, and the picture/work makes itself. When chance is in play, the best work is created.
In the last 4 years, you’ve self-published 4 books. Was this a natural progression from something you were already doing with other publishers?
I have published four books with another publisher before, but publishers are more concerned with sales, the cover of the book, than with the creative process and daring to do something new.
So, although I knew I had to also do the commercial side of the publishing, not my favorite part, I did choose to publish my own books, because of the creative freedom.
How would you describe your process when working on a new book?
All my books are journeys. Awareness journeys. Awareness journeys based on my own experiences.
There is a piece of me in every book. Literally I make every bookmarker by hand, but the books are not about me. It is something bigger than me.
Each book is the result of a-one-year creative process. Every year I have another subject. I follow my intuition in this. It is a creative and healing process. It really transforms me.
Who or what inspires you?
Inspiration is everywhere. I have no problem with getting inspiration. I can have a thousand ideas for just one page. The hardest part is to select and focus. To do less. To choose the best option from this avalanche of ideas. The Universe is a field of infinite possibilities, yet whatever wants to be born and given form takes time. And once you go from idea to form it takes a lot of dedication and work.
I am on a mission, on an impossible mission, to give form to the formless, to create timeless works.
"As a photographer I paint with light. I love to travel and capture the moment. And with photography I am able to do that. The best things are found in the here and now. In ‘real’ life. It doesn’t matter where I go, I always find something"
Could you tell us more about your latest books, OMNIPRESENT | BEYOND BORDERS and ALL IN NOTHING | NOTHING IN ALL?
All my books are made in a limited edition. My third book is called OMNIPRESENT | BEYOND BORDERS . It is my personal ode to planet Earth, the Mother of all mothers.
The earth is such a rich living entity. It is our host, life giver and teacher. And yet, we abuse and exploit her for short term profit and personal gain. Yet, what we do to the earth we do to ourselves.
I bought a drone and took pictures from above, from a bird’s-eye view. And linked them with pictures, close up, from an ant’s view. We are in the middle of this micro and macro. All is one and connected.
My latest book, my fourth book, is titled ALL IN NOTHING | NOTHING IN ALL.
This book is a silent retreat. For this book, unlike my other books, I did not travel. My intuition told me to go inside. Therefore, this book was made in my studio. It all started Spring 2019.
It was a fascinating process: The initial title for this book was “ The color of Silence’ and like, with my previous books, I started with pictures and words. But somehow it didn’t work this time. They had to be deleted. All had to be different this time. I don’t make the book. The book makes me. I just had to trust the process and surrender.
The moment the book rolled from the printer, Covid-19 silenced the world. Is this Coincidence or Synchronicity?
Nature speaks. If we don’t change and create balance in our own life, nature will do it for us.
How do you hope users experience and connect with your work?
All my books are awareness journeys, based on my own experiences. My books are my own spiritual journey.
Composing books, for me, is a creative and healing process. It transforms me.
My latest book ALL IN NOTHING | NOTHING IN ALL is a paper pilgrimage resulting in a paradigm shift. It is a visual yoga…It gives rise to a new humanity. A new way of being. While we have very long been taken by the world outside, the world of form and matter. We are now embarking now on an inner, immaterial journey.
I hope my readers will connect with my books and my passage through life and it may inspire them to find their own path in life….to just be…
Lastly, are you working on any new projects at the moment?
The universe is an infinite field of creativity and possibilities, and it is such a teaser! Yes, I am always on my way to new adventures. Intuition is my guide and I am so curious, where she takes me this time,