Exploring the process of creative minds
ROGIER SMALHOUT + WIECHER TROOST, CO-FOUNDERS APPELSAP
Every year around the middle of summer the streets of Amsterdam change. Striking, colourful posters cover the city and everyone knows that the Appelsap boys are gearing up once again. If you don't know Appelsap then welcome to Amsterdam's premier hip-hop event: 17 years of music, creativity and passion.
We recently explored the east of Amsterdam with the festival founders Rogier and Wiecher to hear about how the Appelsap movement was born and where they dream of going next.
JOS PELDERS, CO-FOUNDER & CO-OWNER FEBRIK
Febrik is an innovative textile company from Tilburg. Working in-house with designers such as Bertjan Pot, Sylvain Willenz and Patricia Urquiola they’ve managed to make a big splash in the design and textiles world since launching in 2008. The journey started at Innofa, a company in based in Tilburg which develops mattress fabrics. Jos Pelders and his wife Renee Merckx who were working there, began experimenting with creating knitted fabrics for upholstery. Febrik was born and since then this small company has created a recognisable signature in their three-dimensional and patterned textiles, building an impressive client list along the way..
We visited Jos at the company’s design studio and factory in the south of the Netherlands to learn more about their history, what it takes to do something differently and succeed.
VIVEK VADOLIYA, PHOTOGRAPHER
Vivek is a photographer and filmmaker originally from London, currently living and working in Berlin. Completing an undergraduate degree in photography, Vivek worked at a series of agencies where he practised as an all round creative for commercial clients. He’s created campaigns for Nike and Adidas and had his work published in i-D and Sleek Magazine. Recently, Vivek has taken a step back to refocus his creative efforts and embark on some ambitious personal projects. And it’s in his personal photography that we see his skill for finding the quiet moments or precise angle that capture his subject’s character.
We visited Vivek in Neukolln, Berlin - often referred to as ‘Little Istanbul’ - to stop by his studio apartment and check out some of his local spots
PEPIJN LANEN, WRITER
Pepijn Lanen is one-fourth of De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, a hip-hop ensemble from Amsterdam. On stage Pepijn, better known as Faberyayo, is joined by Freddie, Ollie and Bas their producer. Together they create a world of electronic beats and unconventional rhymes. They shot to fame as their first single 'Watskeburt?!' reached number one on Dutch national charts. Five albums and almost eleven years later, the boys are still turning the Dutch language upside down and inside out.
Pepijn took us for a walk to his regular coffee spot to explain the highs and lows of playing with words and how writing one book just isn't enough.
ROP VAN MIERLO, ILLUSTRATOR
Rop started his career in primary school. But he’s come a long way since he started making paintings in class. Part-illustrator, part-artist, part-designer, there is a free-spiritedness that appears in all his work. Most often working with paint on wet paper, he often depicts wild, amorphous animals in watercolor hues. The result is a joyous and playful take on the natural world that’s almost guaranteed to make you smile. With several self-published books under his belt, he’s also found time to work with clients such as Marni, the Stedelijk Museum and Hermès.
We stopped by his studio in east Amsterdam to explore his latest attempts at capturing wild animals on paper and how he creates the space to focus.
STEIE VAN VUGT + BRAM BURGER + FRANK WINNUBST, PARTNERS, LA BOLLEUR
One of the first things you notice about La Bolleur is that they are serious about having fun. From planning out a project behind their macs to getting their hands dirty in the workshop, their playful approach to design is complemented by a hands-on attitude. But this sense of fun doesn't get in the way of creating standout work. From pop-up installations for the City of Eindhoven to festival concepts for communication provider KPN and bars for Amsterdam's Brouwerij Troost, La Bolleur is a truly eclectic design studio.
We dropped by their Amsterdam studio to see what the boys are getting up to and enjoy a cold beverage by the canal.
Bart Hess, Artist
Playing with the line between beauty and the grotesque, Bart Hess has created a unique body of work pursuing the boundaries of material design, movement, film and fashion. His visually striking video works have found a devout audience online and helped him build an international reputation as a result: working for clients from Hugo Boss and Lady Gaga to Palais De Tokyo and Nowness. It’s probably easiest to call him an artist as his work often blurs the line between different mediums: latex becomes skin, metal becomes fur, analog becomes digital, the human form becomes alien.
After several years practicing in London followed by a year of travelling, Bart has finally set up a permanent studio in Eindhoven. We stopped by to catch up and hear what the master manipulator has planned next.
GIJS KERBOSCH + GIJS DETERMEIJER + ROEL OUDE NIJHUIS, PARTNERS, HALAL
Halal are possibly one of the most exciting production agencies operating in Amsterdam. With an output that spans photography, music videos and films they’ve built a reputation for forward-thinking projects. Their agency is home to creatives such as Johan Kramer, Karen Rosetzsky and Sam de Jong. While last year they managed to release their first feature film, Prince, and score a viral hit, Drank & Drugs, in 12 short months. With the recent launch of a new documentary production arm in partnership with Olivia Sophie van Leeuwen, they’re not slowing down anytime soon.
We met with partners Gijs, Gijs and Roel at their office in the Dutch capital to hear about how they went from motley production crew to finding their creative spark and releasing their first feature film.
Raven Aartsen & Melle Dielesen, Musicians, Mozes and the Firstborn
Mozes and the Firstborn don't make for easy categorisation. They're signed to a hip-hop label but sound like a Californian garage rock band. They've worked with experienced producers but prefer recording on their own... It all started with their self-titled debut album in 2013, after which they toured through Europe and North America. More recently they've had time to record again, releasing their Power Ranger EP in February.
Earlier this year, Melle and Raven made the move to Amsterdam and we saw an opportunity to catch up before the band embarks on its plans for 2016. We invited them to drop by our HQ for a walk to the IJ.
Yuri Boselie, DJ, Cinnaman
Yuri Boselie makes people dance for a living. He’s better known as Cinnaman and can usually be found DJing in clubs across Europe. Originally from Den Bosch, he’s now based out of Amsterdam. It’s here that he forged his sound: a unique mix of influences from UK garage and two-step to Detroit techno. After making his name at Rush Hour records he's played up and down the continent, most recently finding a home at Amsterdam's latest venue, De School.
Just as festival season starts to gear up, we stopped by Yuri’s apartment and his local club to talk about Rush Hour records, classical music, and risk taking.
Christoph Brach, Designer & Co-Founder, Raw Color
Raw Color is a design studio based in the creative Strijp district of Eindhoven. But to leave it at that would sell short what happens when Christoph Brach and Danielle ter Haar get to work. They employ a unique mix of photography, graphics and material design on a diverse range of projects . Over the years, they’ve collaborated with clients such as Textiel Museum, Febrik and Arco. At the heart of all their work is a deep understanding and clear love of color.
We stopped by their house and studio (a former Philips factory recently renovated by Piet Hein Eek) to talk drawing, experimentation and following your intuition with Christoph.
All About The Journey
When we talk about Ontour we often mention this line: 'It's all about the journey.'
We believe that no matter what you create, how you get there is what defines you. It's a mindset that drives the creative forward. It's what inspires us most.
We wanted to take it a step further and find out what that means for others. To tell the stories of our community: the sort of people who look at life a little differently and put their stamp on the world.
We'll use this space to explore the process of these creative minds, one interview at a time. Check back monthly for fresh content and get in touch if you know someone we should include.