Mina De Haas: Artist In Residence

If you listen to longtime residents — or read “06880” — you probably think Westport has lost its artistic mojo. With Howard Munce gone — and apart from Miggs Burroughs — when was the last time you heard of a home studio?

Happily, there’s at least one left.

The other day I visited Mina de Haas in her small, 2nd-floor apartment. There — in the shadow of I-95 — she creates acrylic paintings, decoupage and digital collages. She’s not our only in-home artist — but she sure seems a throwback.

A 1979 Weston High School graduate (and direct descendant of the famous Dutch landscape-paining Koekkoek family) who studied fashion merchandising at the University of Bridgeport, Mina worked as a graphic artist for advertising firms and a pharmaceutical company before joining a Norwalk market research company.

When she's not painting, Mina de Haas attends car shows.

When she’s not painting, Mina de Haas attends car shows.

But this story is about her studio.

Heavily influenced by Dali, Picasso, Warhol and — especially Hieronymus Bosch — Mina wants her art to make people feel a bit uncomfortable.

“Anyone can look at a pretty picture of a sailboat,” she says. “I want people to look at my work and wonder ‘What’s going on there?’ And make their own interpretation of what my artwork means to them personally.”

She points to a 3D work called “Stripper Barbie.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: the famous doll in a cage with a stripper pole. Crumpled bills lie on the floor.

She is an expert at taking existing paintings, photos and other images, and manipulating them in new ways — for example, in her interpretation of Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.”

Mina de Haas' homage to Hieronymus Bosch.

Mina de Haas’ homage to Hieronymus Bosch.

A favorite subject is cars. She looks at their lines and angles in fresh ways, placing familiar vehicles in intriguing and innovative contexts.

One of Mina’s favorite paintings is “Seine River Bleeds.” Done right after November’s Paris attacks, the famed river is bright red. The lights of the Eiffel Tower look like the souls of the murdered victims.

"Seine River Bleeds"

“Seine River Bleeds,” by Mina de Haas.

Mina de Haas is not well known. She exhibited in a small local gallery, and will soon show several pieces at a UB alumni art show.

She hopes to get into a Westport Arts Center emerging artists exhibit. She’d love to sell through restaurants and retail stores here.

Mina does not think there is a real “artistic community” in Westport — at least, not one she feels part of it.

But she’s undeterred.

She does what she loves. In her 2nd floor apartment studio, she creates art.

Just as Westport artists have done, for well over a century.

(To see more of Mina de Haas’ work, click here.)

Another digital collage, by Mina de Haas.

Another digital collage, by Mina de Haas.

13 responses to “Mina De Haas: Artist In Residence

  1. Almost all of my artist friends have home studios…however large or small! As the person who ran the last Westport Art’s Center studio tour a number of years back, I can attest to the fact that there are dozens of home studios in our midst. Maybe it’s time to start those studio tours again!

  2. Allison Fritz Feuer

    There are many artists with home studios in Westport! The fabulous Alyse Rosner, Nell Bernegger and Dale Narjarian just to mention a few!

  3. Sandra Calise Cenatiempo

    I am happy to say that I have seen many of Mina’s works of art. So, I consider myself very lucky! They are exquisite! Keep em coming Mina!

  4. Ilene Strizver

    Thanks for this lovely and informative article about Mina, Dan. She is actually a neighbor of mine, but I had no idea she was an artist (as I am in a different capacity). Not only are your articles entertaining and informative, but they can help bring together residents of Westport, giving it a bit more of the small town feel that makes it so special.

  5. Peter Barlow

    I haven’t ever noticed the term “home studio.” When I was growing up in Westport, all the artists had studios at home, sometimes a separate building next to the house. Both my parents had studios at home but they painted New Yorker covers on the dining room table. The term “home studio” seems to me like calling a piano “accoustic.”

  6. Yes, most of us have studios in our homes.

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  8. Thank you, Dan, for this lovely article about me and my artwork. I do most of my work on my tiny kitchen table, on the floor of the living room or on my Mac. It’s not a lot of space – perhaps one day I’ll have that little studio in a barn behind a house, but for now, this suits me just fine. I have all my inspiration surrounding me, and an abundance of creativity and imagination – what else could an artist ask for!

  9. Charles Halper

    What do you mean ”When was the last time you heard of a home studio?” Come on Dan, there are many local artists who have home studios in Westport and Weston and we are busy working in them—Ann Chernow, Marlene Siff, Ken Scaglia, Norma Minkowitz, Katherine Ross and of course I, too ,work at my home studio. I could make a larger list if you want….

    Roe Halper

  10. Gerald Romano

    Dan Woog please send me today’s the article about the pirate ship at Saugatuck Shores

    The ship is my Grandson’s


    Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

    Romano Real Estate

    “The Finder”

    Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

    38 Saugatuck Avenue

    Westport, Ct 06880

    Office: (203) 227-3996

    Cell: (203) 451-0205

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  11. Augusta Wolffenbuttel-Kuipers

    Hello Wilma. Dit is tante Guus. Mariken send me your pictures I’m amazed to see what youdo nowadays,. It’s fantastic. Weet je dat er een tentoonstelling is in Den Haag van Jeroen Bosch, Ben van plan er !zelf naar toe te gaan! Hoop je eens te zien alsl ik weer in Westport ben
    Hartelijke groeten tante Guus

    • Mina de Haas

      Hello Tante Guus! How nice to hear from you! I think that is so cool that Mariken sent you to this link! Yes, I’ve been working on my artwork for quite a while now – but finally feel like I’m establishing a true feel and identity for myself which is good! I miss Holland so much! I would love to see the Bosch display – I’m going to have to make sure to visit soon. Haven’t seen the family in a while either. Last time I was there when Nicole was studying abroad in Amsterdam – and that is about 5 or so years ago. When you come visit – it would be so much fun for all of us to get together. Groetjes en liefs van Wilma!