INTERVIEW | MERIJN HOS

The work of dutch artist and art director Merijn Hos (b. 1978) always manages to light us up. With a wonderful mix of colorful shapes, blending textures and his small-eyed, round-headed characters Merijn creates visuals that arouses curiosity. His easy recognisable style has the abillity to establish tight bonds with its viewers.

Merijn Hos is born in Enschede, the Netherlands and after a couple of educational detours he ended up graduating from the Utrecht School of Visual Arts in 2004 with a BFA in Illustration. Right after finishing school Merijn started up his own studio, doing work for a variety of commercial brands, music labels and magazines. As an artist Merijn fluctuates between the analogue and digital, and very often his work is a mix between the two. This gives his pieces a kind of clean and graphic, yet always spontanous feel. Futhermore Merijn’s work also extend to the third dimension. In the spring of 2012 he initiated the project Wood Sculptures which since has grown to a collection of 360 brightly colored wooden objects shaped like vases, plants and faces.

“Oxygen”, 2010 | Personal artwork by Merijn Hos.

“Oxygen”, 2010 | Personal artwork by Merijn Hos.

For Merijn it’s important to take in a wide range of projects “from an underground zine to a billboard for a very commercial brand. This keeps things interesting.” Maybe it is exactly this sense of curiosity and way of challenging himself that makes Merijn’s work stand out and stay fresh. We took a chat with the talented dutch artist and art director to find out more about his beautiful work, how he got to where he is today and to get a couple of insights into his creative proces.

Hi Merijn! What made you choose your current path?
Since I was little I have always been drawing and after high school I went to study architecture. Three months into the course I knew I wanted to go to art school instead and I started to study illustration. I felt like that also wasn’t for me; too many rules, and so it took me 6 years, instead of 4, to complete because I was always working on my own projects. I’m glad it happened that way because after art school I knew exactly what I wanted, and luckily I found some clients right away that believed in my work.

Artwork by Merijn Hos for Kinfolk Magazine #9, 2013 | Photos by Anja Verdugo.

Artwork by Merijn Hos for Kinfolk Magazine #9, 2013 | Photos by Anja Verdugo.

Can you tell us about your working process?
I always do a lot of thinking about the subject and the composition before I actually start sketching. For me that is a way to keep the drawing spontaneous. I make very loose sketches which I then trace with black ink and scan. After that I usually color the work on the computer. For my collage work I never sketch, I just keep working on it until I think it’s good. A lot goes into the garbage bin. I usually know after just a few minutes if it will go into a good direction or not.

Artwork by Merijn Hos for Rolando Simmons, 2014.

Artwork by Merijn Hos for Rolando Simmons, 2014.

Do you have a project that you are especially proud of?
There are a few projects that I’m proud of but the one that stand out for me is the wooden sculpture project. It was a self initiated project and I’m really happy with the outcome. For me it somehow feels like the most pure work I have made, because the work is all made without thinking to much about it, but in very a naive way. I’m really happy that the work is received so well and I’m grateful to the people who gave me the chance to show it in their gallery and art spaces.

Wood Sculptures at Beginnings NYC. December 6, 2012 – January 6. 2013 | Photos by : Ryan Patterson.

Wood Sculptures at Beginnings NYC. December 6, 2012 – January 6. 2013 | Photos by : Ryan Patterson.

What are your biggest source of inspiration/influence at the moment?
I’m always inspired by folk art and naive art. Furthermore I’m into figurative-abstract art.

Pattern design by Merijn Hos for Arte Creative, 2011.

Pattern design by Merijn Hos for Arte Creative, 2011.

What are you working on right now? Can you show us any work-in-progress?
Right now I’m working on a few commercial projects that I can’t really talk too much about at the moment, but I also just finished a solo exhibition with a number of large drawings and an installation that opened up yesterday (the 30th of May) at Kelderman en van Noort in Eindhoven. Below you can see a photo from the proces:

What are your hopes, dreams and plans for the future?
My biggest dream would be to design a hot air balloon. It actually has been for years now. :)

Do you have any piece of advice for fellow creatives?
Follow your own path. Don’t look to much at what others do.

Rikke Luna (f. 1988) og Matias Albæk-Falk (f. 1988) er stiftere af idoart.dk, og driver derudover formidlingsbureauet I DO ART Agency samt forlaget I DO ART Books.