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KNOTORYUS Talks to PATTA's Vincent van de Waal

KNOTORYUS Talks to PATTA's Vincent van de Waal

In the Middle Ages there was an art form called the 'Danse Macabre', which basically is a bunch of skeletons dancing around, telling all the peasants death's around the corner. The biggest part of Dutch artist Vincent van de Waal's work involves black and white skullheads reminding us of that same fate, but while getting laid instead of dancing around.

After graduating from the prestigious Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2006, this talented man started designing flyers and party posters to get by. He then became Creative Director for Patta, designed album covers for Vic Crezée and The Opposites and had an expo called 'Did You Think Of Me Today'. A couple of months ago, he showcased his work at premium shops Lockwood and Avenue.

KNOTORYUS talked to Vincent van de Waal about his work for Patta, the Dutch scene and drunken talks with childhood idols.


KNOTORYUS : So what did you show at Lockwood? Was it the amazing 'Did You Think of Me Today' series? Could you tell me a bit more about those works?

Vincent van de Waal : Yes, indeed, I showed a selection of original works that were made for my solo exhibition in Amsterdam, last September. I brought a small part of 'Did You Think Of Me Today' with me. I made these works in the summer of 2012 and the theme pretty clearly is death and the ephemerality of life. We're all gonna snuff it sooner or later.


(Vincent van de Waal : Untitled 2012)

KNOTORYUS : I've got 2 NeckFace's, a So_Me, a Robert Crumb, a David Shrigley and a Sozyone hanging in my house (my Parra bath rug and shower curtain are also staples). But a Vincent van de Waal is still missing. I'm only saying this to show how everytime I can afford to, I'd rather invest in a work by one of my favourite artists than buy a pair of Pradas. What do you splurge on?

Vincent van de Waal : Food! I love good food. It's never a shame to pay good money for food.

(Vincent van de Waal : Untitled 2012)

KNOTORYUS : Your art isn't that expensive either, do you consciously keep the prices low? Why?

Vincent van de Waal : Well I've only started making really focused work and doing expo's since 2 years ago, so I think it's fitting not to ask too much. Things will slowly grow with me as I make good work in the future. And I really like the idea of my work being available to everyone at this stage.

KNOTORYUS : Whose wall are you happy to be displayed on?

Vincent van de Waal : I don't really care who buys my stuff, I'm just really proud every time someone wants to pay for my work.

(Vincent van de Waal : Untitled 2012)

KNOTORYUS : Through interviewing other artists, I've noticed that you often have each other's work hanging up on your walls, gifted or not. Do you own any works by one of your peers? Which ones are important to you, and why?

Vincent van de Waal : Yes, I've got quite some works by other artists hanging around my place. There's not really one that's the most important but what makes these works special is the fact that you personally know the artist. It's just nice to keep those pieces close to you, in this case on your wall.

KNOTORYUS : Any heroes of yours amongst those works?

Vincent van de Waal : Well one of the pieces is by a good friend of mine and has a personal message behind it, so that makes it special to me. And a lot of these artworks were made by heroes of mine.

KNOTORYUS : Who was important to you graphically while growing up? Why?

Vincent van de Waal : Linda van Deursen, she used to be the principal at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and is one of the best graphic designers I've ever met. She taught me to be tough in the the decisions I make in order to deliver good work. And that approach isn't always the safest one.

(Vincent van de Waal : Untitled 2012)

KNOTORYUS : I heard you were a big hip hop fan as well. Who was your favourite, growing up? And who did you listen to a lot this year?

Vincent van de Waal : The first record I ever bought was N.W.A.'s “Niggaz4Life”, so whenever hear them again I get flashbacks to my old room and life as a 13 year-old. I love when Gucci Mane drops a new mixtape, so he made me happy last year. As did Kendrick Lamar with his latest album.

KNOTORYUS : I recently spoke to Futura 2000 and to him it's really important to 'push the culture' and make 'art in open spaces' (he doesn't want to call it street art anymore) more acceptable. At 57 he's being flown around the world by Hennessy and LVMH. He wants to put out a Louis Vuitton bag. What's it about for you? Since you're getting more and more time to work on uncommissioned art, I suspect you have quite a bit of freedom. Where do you want to go?

Vincent van de Waal : What I'd love to do the most is to only focus on my own, free work. But I can't do that yet. The way I work has always been free, but by 'free' I mean not having a commissioner. I could choose to do my own work through sponsorships, but that's not me. I want to earn my own money.


KNOTORYUS : How did the collaboration with Patta start?

Vincent van de Waal : I've been friends with the Patta boys for a while now, especially with Guillaume Schmidt. We used to make some small individual series together and thought about expanding our collaboration into a complete label. So a couple of years ago, we did just that.

(Above image : Guillaume Schmidt & Vincent van de Waal by Dennis Branko)

KNOTORYUS : Can you explain to me how that specific Dutch scene works? Where did all of you meet and how did the collaborating start? Can you sum up the most important people around you?

Vincent van de Waal : I think we all came together because of where we used to go out and the music we liked. A lot really came from the Amsterdam nightlife. It didn't take long for us to figure out we had the same interests and wanted to move in the same direction. Important people around me in those days were Mohamed Ghabri (Mo Manager), Guillaume Schmidt, Parra, Malvin Wix, Paul du Bois-Reymond (Machine) and many more.

(above image : Kanye West wearing Kangaroos x Patta Woodhollow)

KNOTORYUS : How are you connected to Belgium? Who do you know over here?

Vincent van de Waal : I don't know that many people in Belgium. I know Gert Kerkstoel, he's a partner at Lockwood and we get along well.

(above image : Gert Kerkstoel (left) at the Vincent van de Waal expo at Lockwood)

KNOTORYUS : How many pieces did you make over the past year?

Vincent van de Waal : I couldn't tell you exactly how many, but I know I made a lot.

KNOTORYUS : What will you be working on in 2013?

Vincent van de Waal : I picked up photography again for a while last year, so I'd like to explore that field a bit more this year and hopefull come up with some interesting work.

(Vincent van de Waal : Untitled 2012)

KNOTORYUS : Who have you talked to in the past year that 10 year-old Vincent would've been like 'WOW'?

Vincent van de Waal : Theo Wesselo. He used to do this kid's show in the 80s and 90s, called Rembo & Rembo. That conversation would've really impressed 10 year-old me. He has a band nowadays, called Hausmagger, it's pretty good.

KNOTORYUS : What did you talk about?

Vincent van de Waal : It was mainly a lot of superficial drunk talk coming from the both of us, but that didn't make it any less amusing.


More Vincent van de Waal HERE

Buy Vincent van de Waal artwork HERE

Buy Patta at AVENUE Antwerp or online