Meet: Quinn Zeljak

Quinn Zeljak exhibited at SCHUNCK just last winter as part of Dreaming Out Loud. Now she is in the same place, but as one of the nominees for the Parkstad Limburg Prize.  

Those who visited her (mini) exhibition at the +1 of the Glaspaleis at the time will surely remember it well: Quinn's knits and crochet works attract attention. This is certainly also due to her unusual choice of materials. "I graduated from the Maastricht Art Academy in 2020, and until then I worked a lot with collages and paper. However, I noticed that - triggered by the lockdown we were in at the time - I needed something familiar, something to hold on to." So it was that after graduating, she ventured into textiles as a medium; after all, she had been crocheting and knitting since childhood.

Where she gained fame with her versions of clickbait-style advertisements, her subject matter has since expanded. "But," she says, "they remain depictions of things I encounter online. I just find the contrast between the fast and fleeting of the online world and the very tactile of crafts very interesting. In doing so, I particularly explore the relationship we have with our own bodies. Intrusive spam ads, for instance for weight-loss pills or online diet tips, I find an intriguing way of questioning that. We are confronted daily with SO many products that address the malleability of the body. It implies that you have to improve something, that there is always something wrong with you. I have always found this alienating relationship through which we never feel completely connected to ourselves interesting. That is now reflected in my textile work."

Quinn herself has also had the experience of not feeling very connected to her body, but also to the world around her. "The world is very complicated now. I think the feelings I explore are relevant, and also relatable to people. Besides, I like to use my work to bring crochet and knitting back into the spotlight, because many people still have 'granny associations' with it. I try to bring it into art context in a light-hearted way."

So from the end of October, Quinn's work can again be admired at SCHUNCK. Although more recent and therefore different, it is still textile. So should she win the Parkstad Limburg Prize, she knows what she will do with the prize money. "I want to expand my skills within textile art, for example with the help of knitting machines, so that I can make more different kinds of work. The money will buy me the time I need to work on that, which is very welcome. After all, making one work takes a few weeks."