“What is the world worth when you don't dare to dream?"
So Loes tell us about yourself what’s your background?
I went to the art academy after I graduated from High School and studied art for 4 (way too long) years. I learned a lot, especially what I did NOT want to do in my further life and possible career. My expectations were so much different than reality. I was thinking the typical cliche story..., art school, free spirits, free minds and freedom. Like in the movies, white big high walls and high windows with an endless view of trees and nature. Reality wasn't even close. There were so many rules, teachers were not open-minded, kids in the class were rude and stupid. Almost everything there was the opposite as I wished for, ha ha, but I created my own self taught character Pjipje which saved me through these hard years. However, I think art is in the person itself, not in the study. You can't really 'learn' creativity. Creativity is such a pure form, you have to feel it. I strongly believe there is no way to teach it. You can learn how to work with different techniques, but like Einstein said : Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Love that quote!
Your art is so bold does this Reflect your personality?
One way or another, you really are what you create. In every area of creativity. If you're taking a photograph, writing a book, painting artwork - you always put a part of yourself in the creation. Either it is something that you like, what you wish for, or what you've been going through. It is a part of you. For example, I have been working the last year very hard on my new sculpture which will hopefully be able to launch mid 2021, and the main inspiration was my broken heart, again, lol. At least it has brought something good, I guess. I had a mad crush on a guy and the day he made clear his feelings were not so mutual as mine.... it felt like my world collapsed. My life fell apart. I went to a party that night, drank every glass on the bar, did everything that God has forbidden, partied like it was my last day, and then... walked home - which took me like an hour (it was a great distance and yeah... i got lost once ok maybe twice… and in that hour the magic moment of my new sculpture developed. The next day I made one sketch I immediately knew that this would be the one. Surprisingly this wasn't a big struggle with one million changes and after these million changes another thousand came. It was just literally one sketch like it was a gift from a higher being.
How did your specific style come about? Who or what are your biggest influences?
My father was a friend of Andy Warhol back in the days. He met the icon in New York. Bob Colacello, Andy Warhol's Right-Hand man, invited my father for a party in The Factory. My dad used to be a steward for KLM and Bob was one of the passengers. So cool. He went, and the rest is history. They hung out together and they really enjoyed it. I loved, and still love, listening to all these stories. This must have been such a crazy cool time. So different from what's going on right now in this weird world. These days, you see so many art which looks the same. I think the key to my success was the originality of Pjipje, which is in some kind a specific style. I created it myself. It was in my head and it did not exist yet. It's unique, self taught. And a lot of people can relate to the character. It speaks to a lot of people. Especially to people who aren't afraid of something new. It's hard to describe your own style. Like, art speaks for itself. But like My work is too soft and has too much details to call it street art. I would call it cartoon / pop art with a feminine touch. That said, I think inspiration comes in many ways like I mentioned before, a heartbreak, a walk through the city, a visit in a a museum. You can't wake up on one day and think "Today I am going to look for inspiration". It just doesn’t work like that. Inspiration and creativity is something magical. You gave to catch these rare moments when they come by.
How has your art developed over time?
From the first painting I created, Pjipje was already the main character and main part of my artwork from there it didn’t change very much. My techniques developed after many sketching/painting hours, I am not so 'scared' to try new things anymore. Art is a rollercoaster and you just have to enjoy the ride. Dare to take some risks. You either learn or you grow from it.
Do you think that creativity involves putting your heart and soul into your work? Or is it more like letting your mind flow freely to witness the surprising results of your actions?
I do think an artist paints what he's going through in life. For example, when I'm happy, I use bright and shining colours in a happy theme, but when I have darker days, you immediately can see it in my work because of the expression in the face of the character. I must say, when I was young, I loved to look at cartoons on television and I asked my parents like 300 times a day when we could visit Disneyland Paris again. I don't like realism. Magic is so powerful and imagination. So I will never paint something similar to realism. Like a mill in the meadow. Boring as fuck let your imagination live and speak to your inner child. The world is way too mature and serious anyway. Just enjoy life!
As a creative what do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I think you have to be your own biggest fan and motivator. If you don't love what you do, then you do have a big problem. When I am in a good flow, I put my music so loud so everyone in the neighbourhood can enjoy my good music taste - haha, and I just sketch. It flows. It grows organically. I never force myself. I think creativity can't be forced. The hardest part of making a painting is ... How will it look like. But once you're in that flow, that thought fades very quickly and it happens all natural. However, some days I just absolutely don't feel to create. Then I just accept that and use my time for other things like cleaning my endless messy studio, updating my portfolio book. There's always something to do.
What is the best advice that you have been given? And what advise would you give for fellow creatives?
When I started drawing (before I painted), just drawings, everyone around me told me that I had to grow up and that these little cartoons are too childish for my age and nobody older than 10 would like them. It was demotivating because I put all my heart and soul in these drawings. But my father told me from the very first sketch (and later paintings) that Pjipje is super unique and one of a kind and that I have to keep creating. If I had him not by my side supporting me how much as he did, I don't know what my future would look like :-) So my advice to fellow creatives would be to believe in what you are doing and don't let anybody sway your decision.
Has rejection ever affected your creative process and if so what did you do to overcome that?
I am extremely sensitive. I avoid doctors but I am pretty sure that when I would do a test, it would say I am highly sensitive. So yes when someone told (and tells) me that my work is (in their opinion) not good enough, I break down. I'm not a robot. They have to come with good arguments and constructive criticism, not just 'your art sucks'. There's a big difference between that.
You have received may accolades, what has been your proudest achievement to date?
Difficult to say, every time I finish a painting, I always say "This is my best creation EVER". My dad get's even sick from it LOL. There are many variants of being proud. For example. Two years ago I was asked to create a mural from two floors for the flagship store of (one of the worldwide most famous make-up brands M.A.C. Cosmetics in downtown Amsterdam. That was literally a dream coming true but I do think my upcoming sculpture looks super mature and expands the Pjipje family with his renewed and unique look.
What and where would be your dream commission?
I still would love to work with Louis Vuitton. I've collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger for the last two years where I had to customise items in stores all over the Netherlands which was pretty rad, but Louis Vuitton is still my number one. I see they collaborate with contemporary artists quite often, so I still keep my fingers crossed. maybe one day. What is the world worth when you don't dare to dream? :-)
What does the future hold for Loes?
Since the beginning of this year my art has been added in the collection of Gin Huang Gallery in Taiwan. She took my paintings to One Art, a big fair in Taipei and it exploded. She asked me to join in another art fair in Taiwan this march, and in May I will have my solo exhibition in Taichung with Gin Huang. Super excited about that. Apart from that I am still on speaking terms with another big company. More info soon...