His passion for art began on a skateboard and was inspired by artists such as Neil Blender, Mark Gonzales and Chris Miller. Besides, he dreamt about making his own artwork in children’s books.
For Zoziejemaar, drawing has always been a thing to keep his “thoughts rolling”, but it was not after travelling the world for 2 years, that he brought pencils, acrylics and crayons into his life. Forever. And his dream was fulfilled in the form of thousands of paintings in dozens of books.
Now he is a photographer, an artist and an illustrator. ¿The key? “Pushing” himself “over and over again”, “understanding his work”, “creating depth” and developing himself as an artist.
How would you describe your beginning as an illustrator?
After a brief history in graffiti, I became more and more fascinated with the artwork in children’s books. Especially the works of the Dutch artist Wim Hofman. I made a book, and another, and another… At this point in time I started having interest in art and working to a point where I am now.
Do you remember what or who was represented at your very first drawing?
The very first? I have no idea. I guess the drawing I really developed first was the character for my first book. It was a cat, his name was Dries and he loved roller-skating. He was determined to make it in the circus. I guess looking back I am Dries.
You usually draw animals and your own logo is a tree. Do you find inspiration in the nature?
I do get inspiration from nature, but I get inspiration from everything around me. I do like animals, and drawing human behavior in the life of an animal. And reverse. Great for children and it never gets too personal.
Do you first imagine what you want to draw and then put it to paper or does it all come spontaneously?
It depends on if I am working on a storyline or if it’s a stand-alone. Usually I do know what I want or have to draw but the structure of the image comes spontaneously. I love to be surprised by the materials I am working with. I think this keeps your drawing alive.
Your illustrations are easily recognizable. What do you think is your seal of identity?
I think it’s the materials I use and the loneliness of most characters, the white that envelops them. But to be honest, I have no idea. I guess you develop a style which suits you best. I have a great overview for materials and structure and I really like my drawings to have a soul.
If you had to choose just one of your original drawings to take it to a deserted island, which would it be?
It would be a drawing still to come. An illustration about how to catch and prepare a fish and how to build a barbecue from bamboo or something close to bamboo.
Do you have plans to introduce your work outside The Netherlands?
It would be a dream. I think Internet makes the world smaller. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook have no borders.
Where do you dream that your illustrations would be exhibited?
I think the Guggenheim museum, or Moca. It would be nice to see illustrations in general get more recognition. I always feel illustration is overshadowed by the other arts. This needs to change.
What about next projects?
For 2017 I have a lot going on as an artist. Multiple solo and duo shows in and around Holland. I will be working on Studio Zoziejemaar. I hope to be launching a line with children’s dinner plates and cups showing some of my illustrations.