Ingeborg Steenhorst (1973)
Couturier, costume designer, graphic designer, fine artist, art director
Educational background: Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Occupational Therapist, Music Management
INTRODUCTION (Dutch version)
Ingeborg Steenhorst is a versatile artist who consciously rejects the traditional academic art in favor of experimentation that allows her to carve her own creative path between art and fashion design. Crafted with artistry and distinction, Ingebor's designs make a strong appearance. She transforms the ordinary into extraordinary creating a mix of fashion, costume design, painting, photography, graphic work and performance art. The results are collections, products, shows and performances that create their own world full of theatrical elements. Through her practice she seduces the audience and wearer in a world of unending movement of textures and colors. "I want to have drama in my art, not in my life" she says; and true to her word, the work she creates is a rush of drama that penetrates the order of everyday life. It balances between art and design, and it would be a mistake to identify it as either of the two. Binary points of view do not apply here.
Through the cold and aggressive metal elements implemented in her works, beauty emerges. The enticing textiles further refine the appeal of her pieces by illustrating the multiple layers of meaning hidden in them. Referencing Victorian era fashion and often implementing symbolism, she touches various themes such as introspection, environmental awareness and globalization. Placing emphasis in aesthetics, Steenhorst´s practice is heavily based on intense labor, akin to ritual, that connects her permanently to each and every one of her works. A lot of times she uses as her base vintage pieces of clothing and jewelry, full of memories and history, that she combines with luxury materials, and works on them intuitively to create new upcycled unique couture outfits which resemble sculptures more than garments. This process she calls "turning the ordinary into the extraordinary." By embracing the movement of slow fashion, she refuses to mass produce and instead focuses on creating custom and timeless pieces. She resists the logic of the capitalist market system and runs her atelier just like any traditional artist runs their studio. Through her practice, Steenhorst strives to break the wall between self and other, personal and social, art and design. Her works almost always tell a story of unity and interaction by challenging the extreme points of view.
A FAMILY TRADITION
Art and design combined with the love for stage productions, run like a red wire through the Steenhorst family. While living in Amsterdam in the early 1960's, Ingeborg's mother, Ans Steenhorst- de Beer (1934 - 2016) produced several children's operettas while her grandmother Elizabeth Steenhorst - de Matser (approx 1908 - 1998), a professional couture dress maker, created the delicate handmade operetta costumes. Although Ingeborg was born long after this period of her family history, as a child she was intrigued by her mother's stories and her grandmother's operetta costumes in which she used to dress up while playing in her attic in the 70's. The talent of these two remarkable women now live within Ingeborg, who with gratitude, continue their passion for creating art and design.
In 2016, Atelier Ingeborg Steenhorst celebrated it's 10 years anniversary. Only few know that Ingeborg gradually paved her creative path towards this anniversary. In early 90's she developed her graphic skills. In the years that followed, she designed countless logos, tattoos, backdrops, stage props and t-shirt designs for local bands, and in between she painted several paintings too. All this, including her education as a fashion designer, led her to designing the outfits and decor for rock opera 'Liaison de la Morte' by local progressive metal band Cirrha Niva. Besides the creative part, she also booked this show over 25 times and was running the production with a crew of more than 25 people with succes! This didn't remain unnoticed, as Dutch rock band the Gathering offered her to fulfil creative and management tasks for their band and label as well. So Ingeborg switched her daytime job at the time from occupational therapist to label manager, until...2006. At this time, she established her own fashion label and studio Atelier Ingeborg Steenhorst.
Today Atelier Ingeborg Steenhorst is responsible for the self-confidence of many internationally acclaimed artists, local politicians, brides and celebrities who hit the stage, the altar or appear in public.
Text: Dorina Kappatou & Rob Willemse
Photo's Tim Tronckoe Photography, family private archive