Sophie Steengracht

Winner 2018

About the artist

Sophie Steengracht (1991) is a visual artist. Sophie studied graphic techniques at the Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, an educational course focused on engineering. In 2015 she graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Here, she was able to create a balance between her technical knowledge and the development of own artistic style.

You can find Sophie in her studio: a barn behind a farmhouse where cat named Bingo keeps her company. Surrounded by meadows and forest, she creates colorful paintings and murals. She loves to take photographs, and creates metal sculptures in her father’s welding shop.

"Animism is central to my work."

Sophie Steengracht

Sophie draws her greatest inspiration from travel, literature and nature. Her travels through India, for example, had a great impact on her. The bright colors and various cultures, embedded in everyday life, intrigued Sophie. She later incorporated the pigments she took with her into her sketches and paintings. Traveling introduced Sophie to the stories that different peoples and places have to tell. Indigenous art, myths, folklore and magical realism in literature are the main foundations of her work.

Sophie is fascinated by nature. This, of course, also encompasses her concern about the impact humans are having on the future of the natural world. In our current geological era, the relationship between humans and their environment is visibly changing. Globalization and technological advancements are moving humans further away from natural resources.

Sophie is a socially engaged artist with a positive point of view. With her colorful paintings, she aims to show the power and beauty of nature and demonstrate that it is worth handling in a respectful and conscious manner. Sophie is affiliated with the collective The Earth Issue in London, a group of artists who put nature and the environment at the center of their works.

Southern Portugal, with its cliffs, caves, and expansive sea, is one of Sophie’s favorite places. Here, you will find Steengracht out on the water on her surfboard. In the south of Portugal, on the coast of Alentejo, Sophie got the chance to participate in a short-term residency of six months within the cultural organization Laboratory for Creative Activities (LAC). Each cell of this former prison serves as a studio for artists.

The journey

Sophie took a trip to Peru in June of 2018. She traveled to the Manu National Park, a pristine part of the Amazon basin. This region is home to peoples who are completely dependent on nature. The animistic culture inherent here, inspires Sophie. During her trip, she saw much of the rainforest and its biodiversity. These influences can be seen in her work.   A plethora of colors, thin lines, organic shapes and dots can be found in her art. She was further inspired by myths from the jungle, which she brought to life on canvas.

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