Ilona Van Hoek

about the artist
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I was born in Berlin, June 10, 1949, and lived there for 30 years.

The Ruins and post WWII — the need for a new beginning, and still, the warmth within my family. In spare times it was painted and music was played, this is what I especially learned from my parents.

My Father — he was an unusual person, and still through his character he shaped me the most in life. Later came art teacher and sculptor Inge Hunzinger. She played a role in the development of my art.

My father passed away when I was only 22 years old. His easel and painting materials were his advice to continue that for which he fought in his entire life.

Even though I was being presented through my artwork as the best teenager in Berlin, I was not allowed to follow a degree in graphic arts, because my mediocre in Russian language was not sufficient.

After moving to Holland, I was not allowed to work in any way for the first three years living there (in which I had no money of my own so painting was prohibited to me) When coming to the United states, similar retrictions and situations followed.

Today’s times won’t allow us to simply paint something because it looks pretty. I try to bring awareness in my artwork.

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about the artist

Apart from the inheritance of salient features the upbringing takes up a considerable part in achieving a status gained through personal merit rather than as a result of the circumstances into which somebody is born. Nonetheless, it is also significant how the environment presents itself to the adolescent.

I my case an art-interested family tree can be traced to the 17th century; my maternal grandfather was a wrought-iron craftsman, and my mother painted; the father of my father was involved in the art of painting; my father made oil paintings, charcoal and pencil drawings.

Following World War II, I grew up in a financial crisis with only a few toys and the neighborhood was covered with ruins. You could hardly appreciate a beautiful sight when it comes to architecture. But there was nature, improvisation and a lot of fantasies. Also count the practical knowledge of individuals in Rahnsdorf, my neighborhood, which included artists such as sculptors and writers.

As a little child I learned to paint on sand ways. My father animated me to decipher figures and images in the clouds and in nature. We painted with our mind, let it develop our great paintings, tried to explain it to others, and subsequently to search for a novel imaginary picture. We employed hours and hours therewith and crept into a beautiful and different world.

I remember that in the latter days of my childhood, during nighttime, I was painting pictures in my mind, and these were brought onto paper diurnal. By the way, this ability is sustained into the present. I usually produce a painting mentally days before the act of painting. The mental picture is in a finished state, with color and full detail, allowing that what I see can be put on canvas. (Unless, of course, there is interference and distraction)

When I was about 12 years old I painted portraits not just about to perfectly freeze them onto paper, but to be keen to utilize minimal time and stress the facial expressions. Often I modified the drawing and made it different to look like younger or older faces. Later, during my travels I exploited this achievement to receive money in return to finance the expenses of traveling.

Nowadays I am asked whether I use sketches, or whether I am capturing photos, or whether I need models for a painting. —No— I don’t need all of this because I have this ability to create a complete and detailed picture in my mind. Of course I copied the freedom statue, Venus von Willendorf, Einstein, Buddha. In this respect you would try to represent at best what has been produced already. Except for little deviations I am a lifelong surrealistic painter.

With this style, and the underlying concept, it is possible to craft the early-on learned views onto the canvas. Fantasy and reality as well as mysticism, history and future can be intertwined, without violating the embodied scene. The viewer is capable to develop its own version of the embodiment, allowing a hike into a fantastic world.


  • Agora Gallery, January 2006
  • Agora Gallery, June 2007
  • Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, Jan. 2008
  • Ico Gallery, New York, September 2008
  • “Russian Art Week” International Exhibition & Competition 2009 (St. Petersburg)
  • Lithauen — Exhibition & Competition (Vilnius 2009)
  • Kiev, Ukraine 2009
  • Moscow, Exhibition spring 2010
  • Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art, Las Vegas, Nevada, Summer 2010
  • Broadway Gallery, New York 2010


  • Best Of Worldwide Oil Artists Volume I, 2009
  • Annual International Contemporary Masters Volume III - Fine Art, 2010
  • International Contemporary Artists, Vol. I, 2010
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