Local Rockstars: Merel Corduwener's illustrations are here to stay

Local Rockstars: Merel Corduwener’s illustrations are here to stay

Nov 22, 2013 |  by  |  Art
About the author
Mark Visbeek is a designer, musician, superstar, and loves illeism. Always looking to create beautiful things, I'm often distracted by the amazing stuff happening around me. My most important weapons are limitless amounts of love and a faux-French accent.

Whether you went out last weekend to check out an uber-geeky beat magician or a depressingly awesome indie rock band, we all know there’s always some serious talents rocking around the Dam. You might not recognize them all yet, but don’t worry, you will soon. In this series of interviews we talk to remarkable artists about their work and their inspirations.

This time in Local Rockstars, something else than what you’re used to. Because who says only musicians can be rockstars? What if you’re shaking up the world with something else? Today we introduce to you, rockstar illustrator Merel Corduwener. And I say introduce, because you’ll be seeing a lot more of her on Overdose.am.

Merel, you wanted me to interview you about what you’re not. Tell me, who are you not?
“I’m not a super neat person, although I would like to be. I’m not someone who questions things, like ‘where does the wind come from?’, but questions people, like ‘why do cleaning ladies clean?’. I don’t like programming. I’m not a good mathematician. I don’t really think about what I say. And I’m not a mean person.”

Where didn’t you study?
“I didn’t study Business Economics at Radboud University. Or hairdressers academy. I definitely didn’t go to the hairdressers academy.”

If you can’t find a job, you have to pick litter. That’s my worst nightmare.

So that’s why you became an illustrator?
“Well.. sort of, haha. I don’t like box-thinking, or staying in the same place. I like making marks on the wall, standing on tables and sitting somewhere else every now and then. I want to know why prostitutes are prostitutes.”

Where don’t you see yourself in five years?
“I find it really scary that when you end up in the welfare system, you have to pick up litter from the streets. If you can’t find a job, you have to pick litter. That’s my worst nightmare. The drudgery.. It may seem exciting, working outside and meeting other people, but after one day you know more than you want about your garbage colleagues and you just start dying on the inside.”

Do you rather work on your own than with other people, then?
“Preferably with other people, but up to a certain point. I’m confident in my own skills, but I would love to work with people from other disciplines. Like people making theatre, or film, but not necessarily with other illustrators. Unless I really look up to them of course. But right now I mostly want to make a name for myself.”

Merel Corduwener - Duister

Do you think more things in this world are ugly or beautiful?
“Ugly. But I really like diamond patterns. I like geometric shapes, but also organic. I tend to look more at the separate parts of things than the whole. When I see this (pointing at my sandwich maker) I don’t really think of it as a beautiful product, but I really like this little piece right here. It takes a good look at things though, it’s not like I just bike around the city and see the separate parts of everything.”

“Wait, maybe I do think more things are beautiful than ugly. But beautiful in my own way. I don’t really like the standard aesthetic, symmetrical, curlicue kind of beautiful. I like things to clash and scrape a bit, although it depends on what the client wants.”

Do you see yourself more as an artist, or as an illustrator?
“My dream is to be an artist, although I think I’m too young to call myself an artist. My big example is Irma Boom. She’s one of the biggest graphic designers in Holland. She designs books, but when she creates something for a client, she really sculpts it in her own way. It is commissioned work, but she executes it almost as an autonomous artist.”

I’m not going to think of a special dance for you guys. Although I must say that’s quite a fun idea.

Have you found your own style yet, or are you still developing it?
“It will always be in development. There’s certain periods; sometimes I’m working a lot with glue and scissors, while right now I’m working more in Photoshop. I think it’s actually quite boring to stick with one trick. I want to try everything. I want to be able to draw simple, to draw complex, to create atmospheric works but also clear and concise works. I try not to stick with the same thing, and keep experimenting. But of course a certain signature develops over time.”

So Merel, what are you going to do for Overdose.am?
“I’m not going to take photos. Or think of a special dance for you guys. Although I must say that’s quite a fun idea. I’m not doing the interior design of your new office either. I will be making an illustration once every two weeks of interesting incidents or occurrences around Amsterdam that catch my attention. How about that?”

Merel Corduwener - Vrouw

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