My name is Marye Toxopeus (artist name Toxopencil). I was born in the Netherlands and I am currently the Artist in Residence at Cobham Hall.
When I was 21, I moved to London to study a BA in Fashion Illustration at UAL’s London College of Fashion. As an illustrator, I have drawn quick fashion portraits of guests at live events, for example for PlayStation, Soho House Festival, and the Oval Cricket Grounds. Other highlights include drawing Helen Mirren live for Sky TV and my partnership with Secret Cinema. I was nominated for the Joke Veeze Award. My other achievements include my fashion illustrations being published in Cosmopolitan (NL), and I was commissioned by Costa Coffee.
For the past two years I was the Artist in Residence at the international school Institut le Rosey, in Switzerland. At Le Rosey, during the winter term we would move to the ski resort Gstaad. Here I created a personal project based on mountain tops that were named after body parts (for example, teeth, fingers), and so I became interested in the personification of the landscape. Sculptures are dotted around Gstaad, many of mirrored materials (for example, Helidon Xhixha, Doug Aitken), reflecting the picturesque surroundings. However, the warped mirrored surfaces show a slightly different world, with a skewed perspective. When standing close enough, you see yourself contorted against the mountain backdrop. This gave me the idea of wanting to transform the self into a landscape. I took photos with mirrored paper to see how I could distort my body. This project led me to explore the feeling of being at one with nature, I made drawings where my body is a mountain range or part of Lake Geneva. On the other hand, these drawings were inspired by the feeling of looking into a world that does not belong to me, much like an observing outsider.
Now, as the Artist in Residence at Cobham Hall, the historical architecture and its serene surroundings are initiating ideas for my new project. My research is informing my art as I take note of everything that inspires me. The intricate lionheads, fruits and stunningly sculpted figures of the fi replaces caught my eye, along with the paintings, chandeliers, and griffins cut out of stone. Each of these exquisitely detailed elements speaks to my imagination and gives a glimpse into the fascinating history of this estate. I hope to capture the essence of the school and create something that resonates with its heritage and values.
My aspirations for the upcoming year are to keep creating, expand my portfolio and showcase my art in the school through an exhibition. I also plan to initiate and lead art workshops, where I can share my knowledge and collaborate with the students of Cobham Hall. As an artist in education, my hope is to pass along the importance of self-expression and the role of art in our society. I want to encourage students to embrace their unique perspectives and use art as means of communicating their thoughts, emotions, and ideas.