The Netherlands / Finland
Self-taught painter and illustrator Vincent Bakkum has a way with women. His sought-after paintings capture the female form with elegance evocative of art nouveau and David Bailey's chic fashion photographs from the '60s. The women on his canvasses are young and beautiful, immortalized and idealized in elegant slender lines filled in with rich hues. "Some of my ideas do come from the time when I was immersed in the world of fashion," admits Bakkum, who spent many years working as a model and whose artwork has appeared in numerous magazines and books. "But I think my fascination with youth has to do with confronting my own mortality: painting is my way of shouting out in color against the ever-present rustle of death in the background." Inspiration comes from everywhere, from a Barcelona food market to a detail in a postcard. "I believe beauty springs from what you see in your youth," says the Helsinki-based artist, who grew up in Amsterdam and is represented by agents in Helsinki, Paris and Tokyo. "And then you spend the rest of your life searching for those visual comforts, wanting to return home."