Viviane Leezer is a 20 year old illustration student graduating at the Willem de Kooning Academy for her Illustration Bachelor, her minor is Digital Craft. It’s a great honor for us to take an interview with Viviane Leezer and learn some interesting facts of her biography. We wish you a pleasant reading and viewing of Viviane Leezer illustrations.
AP: Viviane, it’s nice to meet you and thank you for finding the time to share your story with us. Hope you will enjoy the interview questions that we’ve prepared for you today. So please tell us what got you started?
Viviane: I have always been drawing since I can remember. When I was three years old I turned deaf due to an ear infection, my hearing recovered when I was five through surgery. But till that time, because I could not talk and just barely knew how to write when I was so little, I drew. I always drew what I wanted to communicate to my parents. Even though I can hear perfectly fine now, making illustrations and drawings is still a huge part of my life. It always stuck with me. It wasn’t surprising for me, that after a medical investigation, that I have dyslexia and am a visual thinker. Visual language, for me, is the easiest way to clarify what I mean.
AP: What a touching beginning. Viviane, do you have any formal education in illustrations or were you self-taught?
Viviane: It is a combination of self-taught and art education that gave me the skills that I have today.
When I was around 12/13 years old I always knew that I wanted to make a living with my art. Because of that I saw High school as an obstacle for me and choose schools that would encourage my interests. The first high school I went to give screen printing lessons and was also much focused on art in general. Then I transferred to my second high school for my fourth year, because I could follow a preparation Course there at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (NL) | KABK. But afterwards I decided to go to the Willem de Kooning academy instead because there I could follow my illustration bachelor (KABK doesn’t offer illustration bachelors).
I also plan to follow an animation master at the AKV/ST.Joost academy after I’m graduated.
AP: We wish you best of luck! What genre are your illustrations?
Viviane: Currently I find myself in the editorial and fashion illustration genre but I aspire to become a multidisciplinary animator/illustrator.
AP: How would you describe your works?
Viviane: My work is traditional and analog. Even when I’m working in digital software, such as Photoshop or Illustrator, I still manage to make my work look handmade. By working with my hands I sometimes get “surprises” that gives my artwork character and makes it unique. You can’t easily wipe away paint when you make a stroke with it on paper. My signature style also expresses itself to its fullest when I work with my hands. Perfectionistic software, for me, takes the risk in the art away.
My work often includes themes such as nature, patterns, wild life, realism, and sometimes Eastern influences. Because my parents are both veterinarians I inherited their love for animals.
The illustrations that I make have a tough appearance and personality wise I’m fanatic, sporty and have a performance drift. This is partly because I’m passionate about sports. I sail, windsurf, ski and had played field hockey for about 8/10 years (with which I have stopped with, because I had to fully concentrate on my education). My passion for sports also inspired me to do my first internship at Brunotti. Brunotti is an international boardsports lifestyle brand, including boards, clothing, footwear, bags, eyewear and stationery.
AP: What’s your favorite project you worked on so far?
Viviane: There are so many projects that I liked working on, so it is very hard for me to choose. A project that I’m particularly proud of was launching my shirt line “Hybrid”. There was a sale event in December 2012 at the Leyp store called “HOLY POP UP SHOP!” that allowed illustration students to present and sell their own self-made shirt lines.
The weird, mutated, mixed animal prints really visualize my love for strange animals. My sister even made a surprise photo shoot with her best friend for my shirt line. My sister, Sarinah Leezer, modeled with Jelle Dalm. Sanne Verheij van Bergenhenegouwen was the photographer. And a creative crew, Karavana, helped with providing the settings and location.
This project also caused me to get my internship at Brunotti.
You can view the project at Hybrid-shirtline.
My dream job now however would be animating a music video, illustrating the concert tickets, promotional flyer, poster, CD cover and CD box for it.
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your illustrations? Describe us a bit of your creative process.
Viviane: I have a preference for ecoline and linocuts but I also use Photoshop, Illustrator and aftereffects for movie editing and final touches.
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity? What do you do to reach your goals?
Viviane: Taking a lot of initiative, so participating in events, exhibitions or collaborations. Making personal work or fantasize about what I want to do or achieve to keep my sanity and motivation.
AP: Who is one person you would like to see interviewed on AstrumPeople?
Viviane: This great, emerging photographer (that I have known forever because she is the best friend of my sister), Sanne Verheij van Bergenhenegouwen. She mainly specializes in experimental, classic, fantasy portrait photography.
AP: Thank you, Viviane. We will definitely get in touch with Sanne. Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Viviane: My family (parents and sister) and boyfriend are the greatest supporters I have. They have always stimulated, helped and encouraged me.
AP: Tell us three lessons you believe are really important for young artists?
- There is no magic shortcut to success. You just have to work really hard, be persistent and push yourself.
- Make art that you like, don’t please others guessing what they might want to see. Just stay true to yourself. Funny thing is that people tend to like the art you like to make more than the art you made simply to please others, go figure.
- Take good care of how you present your art. A good presentation is half the work.
Viviane, thank you so much for sharing such a fantastic story with AstrumPeople. Your images are beautifully crafted! We wish you a stunning success, continued inspiration and many more other incredible ideas. To learn more about Viviane Leezer illustrations please visit her personal website.
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