Turning subconscious ways of thinking on their head

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970x404-Blog Elizabeth

Seeking out a dialogue – in a nutshell, that is what I do as an Innovation Manager at ABN AMRO, and it’s what drives me as an artist. I firmly believe that you can achieve more by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Don’t be influenced by somebody’s background or beliefs, but be open to one another. That’s how to create a win-win situation and to grow as a person.

The combination of working at ABN AMRO and creating art is very enriching Elizabeth Kleinveld thumbnail Elizabeth Kleinveld Innovation Manager

Confrontation through art

As an artist, I am always looking to work with the best people in their field. After coming up with an idea, I try to find somebody to help me take it to a higher level. Costumes, make-up, whatever – it’s got to be right. One project I’m particularly proud if is ‘In Empathy We Trust’. I worked with the photographer Epaul Julien from New Orleans to give old masterpieces a “facelift” by adapting them to today’s world. It’s our way of getting people to talk about stereotypes. We want to confront people with subconscious ways of thinking. In Vermeer’s painting ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’, we replaced the girl with a Chinese lady, a modern woman from a totally different culture whom Vermeer never would have painted in his time.

Working with annoyances

The motivation to look at the world from a different perspective is an organic process. If something bothers me, or touches me in some way, I work with it. That’s my way of processing things. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged my home town of New Orleans, I photographed the destruction and registered the enormous impact this disaster had on the people who lived there. That ultimately resulted in a book and an exhibition that is travelling around the world. In my own way, I can help people be seen and heard. And I get people to think about a hurricane that otherwise wouldn’t concern them.

My passion, not a way to make a living

I’m most proud of the fact that my passion isn’t my way of making a living. The combination of working at ABN AMRO and creating art is very enriching. I can also make a difference at the bank by working together with other experts. I firmly believe in teamwork, also as an Innovation Manager at the ABN AMRO Innovation Centre. It’s the perfect job for me. I contact businesses and start-ups to see whether we can become partners. Theories or business models don’t influence me. I often say, “Convictions are worse enemies of the truth than lies”. What I mean is, I listen to customers before I talk. What do they really want, and what drives them? I then try to discover how we can strengthen each other.


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