Kaat Stieber

Born 1972, The Netherlands

Lives in: Hellevoetsluis, the Netherlands

Media: Photography

Describe your work in 3 words: classic, sensitive, unexpected

See More Work:  https://kaatstieber.com/portfolio

The Girl of the Year 2020 - Fine art print 30 x 40 cm

Kaat Stieber is a fine art photographer who blends modern surrealism with Dutch renaissance art in her images. Employing a broad set of creative skills – including an internationally acclaimed background in theatre and costume design – her photos are a display of keen cultural awareness and craftsmanship.

What themes does your work involve?
Memories of a classic Dutch childhood and experiences of the artist as a grown woman are told through landscapes, still lives and portraits. My works always parallel the events of daily life. Art is are a great way to express feelings or experiences. I do notice that my new stories that come to my head are more and more imaginative and slowly start to win over real life.
Describe your creative process.
Whenever a story starts I start sketching. This way I'm able to visualize what I need and which element I would like to add to the image. I have my own database and if necessary I go out with my camera to search the missing elements. Not only does Kaat Stieber pay homage to the 17th-century painters in the techniques she employs, but also in her subjects. Famous works are often referenced, brought into modernity through the art of digital photo manipulation and mixed media, blending perfectly to create new and inspiring pieces. In a sense, the old works take on a new life. Any photographic image is often composed of several different photos, which I add to by digitally painting over it. The pieces are often made up of twenty or more layered images.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The painters of the Dutch Golden Age chose their lighting with care. Working with only a single light source like the old masters is challenging, but it gives me full control over the image and creates tension. Surrealism gives me that free feeling that anything is possible. It doesn't matter what I imagine, I can create it. Art makes me an even happier person. The satisfaction I get because I can imagine the imagination of the stories in mind is priceless.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I like to feel the story behind a piece of art. You don't necessarily need to know the story, but you have to feel something and make the connection as if the work was created especially for you. In addition, I find it breathtaking to see the stillness and liveliness of photographic works. As if a portrait was really captured in a split second and could continue to be alive at any moment. Every picture tells a story.
What is the role of the artist today?
I couldn't help but become an artist. I have so many stories that I cannot tell them all in my life. At first, I expressed myself in theater, but on stage the limitations frustrated me. When I discovered my second love for photography, I was finally able to express myself without limits. In modern times our life consists mainly of images, which means that everyone is visually oriented nowadays. I expect that this will also make art more important because we love to watch and understand better what images say. With current global events, art also offers a lot of comfort.

"I am in the final phase of my first book. This collection is already dear to me. Not only the photo works of the last 4 years will be included, but also my stories about my works and other themes. Shooting for this series, which was 4 years in the making, Kaat Stieber made use of various locations and a variety of different media. Photos of objects, still life and people are shot at her studio. The scenery is found on her travels and on walks through nature. Kaat carries her camera with her wherever she goes. A beautiful sky, a lonely tree or a solitary cow, she captures the images to add them to her private collection."


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist