Featured Artist: Sem Kuipers
Where are you from?
SK: I am from a small town in the Netherlands called Handel too small to even explain but the city where I feel most at home at and live is Eindhoven.
How would you best describe your art style?
SK: I think my art style is a lot of capturing the stuff that I like and combining them with an art style that is a bit dark and illustrative. Right now it's leaning a lot to black-work tattoo designs, because right now I started practicing for tattooing. It's a lot of just cool stuff to look at now I think, but I like to make more stuff that has meaning behind it. I studied at art school for a year so I know it's important to give meaning to your art.
Where do you find your inspiration when creating your art?
SK: A way that I like to get inspiration is taking my long board, putting my headphones on and cruising around the city, especially at night. When I explore the city I try and look at the details in things and I observe things a different why like that. I also take some pens with me and make small sketches on for example rain pipes, bins and other objects that can use a little art. It's giving people art where they least expect it.
When did you know you wanted to make a career in the art world?
SK: From a pretty early age I knew I wanted to do something that involved drawing or creating art. When I was a kid I got as a present the Lord of the Rings box set with the behind the scenes DVD's on it. And when I saw where art could get you and that all those artist created something from one man's vision. I knew I wanted to do something like that.
How does art impact your day to day life or your impression of the world as a whole?
SK: In 2014 I won the Red Bull Doodle Art competition and I was flown to Cape Town South Africa for the World Finals, and from that experience my view of art in the world changed because I met all sorts of people from all around the world. All the people there where so different from each other but there was one thing that connected us all and that was the art that we create. Anyway I think these kinds of experiences help a lot in broadening the mind not just for art but for life itself.
What does a day of creating artwork look like for you and how to you start your creative process?
SK: My day of creating artwork varies a lot because I never really have the same ritual or process that I use to create. Well with regular drawings I do but with commissioned artwork it's always different. I can't just work from 9 to 5 and expect it to be finished when the clocks turns to 5. It's an organic process that finds it's own way through my creative mind.
When you're not creating, what do you like to do with your time?
SK: A lot of hobbies I have all are confined in the realm of creating so it's difficult to find a thing that is not related to creating when I do something. But when I'm not creating I like to go out with friends, go to festivals and I also do boxing, kickboxing and judo. Sports are great to empty your mind from everything.
What artist (either current or past) do you most admire and why?
SK: The two artist that inspired me the most are John Howe and Alan Lee. Their art influenced so much in my own interests and artwork. Their style is mostly pencil and that is an art form that always takes me back to my childhood, where I also always drew with pencil because I wanted to be like them. Another artist that also influenced me a lot and I learned a lot from is Feng Zhu. His channel on YouTube taught me so much more than what I learned at school, and he became a sort of virtual mentor for me. Otherwise there are also a lot of creators that influence me in the overall creative thinking that have nothing to do with art.
What's the best advice that's been given to you as an artist?
SK: There's a video from Feng Zhu where he does a Q&A and I sent in a question and he answered it and that inspired me greatly. I was at that time struggling between decisions in what to do with my life, I wanted to make films but also make art. And I asked him if the fields are related or what would be the best course for me. And he said that the art forms are very much related and that the great directors like James Cameron and Ridley Scott are great artist themselves and started out as illustrators. That gave me so much motivation that art can take you anywhere, there is no limits to what you can achieve and it doesn't matter where you start if only you know where you want to go.
You can shop all of Sem Kuipers' designs here.