Graduation series: Zena-Rae Borst

Mon 29 Apr

Zena-Rae Borst Borst is  a fourth-year Illustration student at the WdKA. Originally from Alkmaar, Zena found her artistic home in Rotterdam, where she thrives not only as an illustrator but also as a DJ and co-founder of the collective Aan Tafel. As she nears graduation, Zena reflects on her deeply personal journey and the evolution of her artistic practice.

What is the focus of your graduation project?

"My graduation project centers around exploring the bond with my mother and delving into themes of loss, memory, and personal connection. Through various artistic mediums, I aim to deepen my understanding of our relationship and find ways to spend time with her, even in her physical absence."

Why did you choose this subject for your graduation project?

"The idea for my graduation project emerged gradually, influenced by personal experiences and introspection. After a period of intense emotions following my mother's passing, I realized the need to explore and honor her memory in my artistic practice. It's a way for me to process my grief and deepen our bond."

How did you come to this idea, and was it challenging to choose?

"The journey to my graduation project idea was a reflective one, marked by moments of introspection and self-discovery. It wasn't an easy decision, given the deeply personal nature of the subject matter. However, as I delved into my feelings and experiences, the project began to take shape organically."

Do you feel pressure as graduation approaches?

"While there are moments of pressure, especially regarding the quality and significance of my project, I don't feel overwhelmed by it. Graduation marks a significant milestone, but I trust in my abilities and am excited to see the culmination of my artistic journey."

What aspect of post-graduation life are you most excited about?

"I'm excited about the prospect of exploring new opportunities and continuing to grow as an artist. Whether it's pursuing illustration commissions, exhibiting my work, or exploring live drawing, I look forward to the variety and freedom that post-graduation life offers."

What are you most scared about?

"My biggest fear is that my project, which feels deeply personal and vulnerable to me, may not resonate with others as I hope. Art has the power to evoke emotions and connect people, and I fear that my expression of grief and memory may not be fully understood or appreciated."

How did your years at WdKA shape you and your artistic development?

"My time at WdKA has been transformative, both artistically and personally. It provided a supportive environment where I could explore my interests, make meaningful connections, and refine my artistic voice. Through various projects and experiences, I've grown in confidence and found my unique creative identity."

What is the biggest difference between you now and your first year?

"One of the most significant changes I've experienced is a newfound sense of self-assurance and inner peace. While the early years were marked by excitement and exploration, I now feel more grounded and comfortable in my own skin. I've learned to prioritize my well-being and focus on what truly matters to me."

How did these years prepare you for this last project?

"My journey at WdKA has provided me with the tools, skills, and confidence to undertake this ambitious project. From conceptual development to technical proficiency, I've honed various aspects of my artistic practice that are crucial for bringing my graduation project to fruition."

What are your plans after graduation?

"Post-graduation, I plan to continue pursuing illustration commissions and exhibiting my work. Additionally, I'm eager to explore opportunities for live drawing and further develop my skills as an autonomous artist. Long-term, I aspire to participate in artist residencies and continue growing both personally and professionally."

What are your dreams?

"My dreams revolve around finding balance and fulfillment in my artistic journey. I aspire to maintain a sense of gratitude and appreciation for where I am while striving for growth and new experiences. Whether it's through exhibiting my work, participating in residencies, or simply finding joy in the creative process."