Dorothée Mesander is a visual artist whose primary medium of expression is collage. She was born in the Netherlands and graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a master's degree in International Public Law. She also studied English Law at the University of Exeter. She is self-taught in art and has been living and working in Greece since 1982. She has worked as a foreign language teacher, translator, and interpreter for the Dutch Embassy. She also collaborated for many years in the management of a small hotel unit in Crete. She has been a member of the SKETBE since 2013. Since 2017, she has held three solo exhibitions and participated in over 50 group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. In 2018, she founded the Thessaloniki Collage Club with the aim of connecting a wider audience with collage as an art form through collage workshops, international collaborations, and exhibitions. Her works can be found in private collections, permanent gallery collections, museums, and libraries in Greece and abroad. Many of her works have been featured in publications both internationally and in Greece. She has been collaborating with ARC - Art Revisited Collective since January 2023.
Interview with Jason Keforylas
When did you decide that art was your path?
I realised later in life that expressing myself on and with paper has been with me since an early age. During 8 years, every Wednesday afternoon after school, I participated in a children’s art group formed by a local Dutch artist in her atelier in Gouda, The Netherlands, where I lived for 14 years before moving to Amsterdam. My mother was advised by an art teacher at school to “do something” with my creations on paper which, as it seemed, made an impression of some kind. After that period and from my late teens I started collecting paper from various sources and particularly from flea-markets and museum stores. I never stopped creating alongside my working career and raising a family; when I established and decided 13 years ago that analog collage is the medium I am móst passionately about as a creative process, I consequently and not by coïncidence, sourced my paper material from my personal archives, consisting of family and found papers and photos, spanning from the late 1800’s up till the 1960’s.
Nature, woman, architecture, film noir, pop-art, surrealism and old cars.
Which visual and artistic creators in all forms and expressions of the arts would you say have influenced you?
Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters, Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Hopper.
Do you consider the visual artist to be a profession?
Yes, it can be, but only for the few if meaning being the main source of means to live. Only speaking for myself, having moved from another country to Greece in the ‘80’s, life exclusively as an artist, even more so as a collage artist - a medium, although with over 400 years of historic samples, only in recent years is upcoming and receiving the recognition it deserves as a visual art form - would have been very hard for me. After years of “having a profession”, I now and for the past 13 years, have the much needed total freedom of thought, time and material search for my art practise; the stress of the pressure to survive and thus possible compromising with respect to quality and values, would have been very disruptive on maintaining the inspiration and passion alive.
What do you believe is the social role of art and the visual artist today? Do you think visual artists interact adequately with Greek society? What changes do you think would be meaningful in the field of art in Greece for the benefit of art's social relevance, and how do you think that can happen?
I believe there is less of social interacting between artists and society and communities in general, both here and abroad. Not due to the amount of social issues, one can argue easily the opposite, but of the changing times. The gatherings in older years, in real life, with fellow artists, groups and movements, is felt less urgent and this has been to an extent influenced by the ever progressing technology, resulting in altered communication forms. Art education is also very important, starting from a young age in a school environment; equally important is the amount of priority that is given in the budget by each national and local governments to the visual and the performing arts and treating it as an integral part of our daily lives. In many countries exactly the cultural sector has been hit hard by financial cuts showing the dropping lack of support, respect and recognition. I am not very optimistic.
If a teenager tells you they want to become a visual artist, what advice would you give them to pay attention to/do?
Follow your instinct, make a lot of art, never stop or give up and helpful for that is surrounding yourself with the “what feels right for yoú” people, who will encourage you, constructively analyze your work, bringing you further in your creative process without affecting your values and ethic.