applied art - a contradictio in terminis happily applied on this blog

illustrations / projects / picture books / story telling / applied art

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


2013/2014 Graduating in Art, part 1


or the day I cried at school
or the day that I actually thought 'are you talking to me?' and looked behind me

It was the first semester of year four (2013) at the academy. Leaves were falling from creaky trees, horses shivered in their meadows and the wind was blowing around our house, whispering ‘beware’. Things were the same as every year, and yet, they weren’t. I ignored the whispering wind, the avoiding looks from my dog and the creeping of the black cat in and around the premises.
(The latter because she’s our own feisty ladycat who wasn’t nicknamed Black Lola because she was so fuzzy and warm)

I ignored all this because I had become the ignoring type. I was living in a world called school. Sure I went to some birthdays, but that resulted in drinking wine from a family member whose name, age and children’s names I didn’t remember. And so it happened that black clouds were gathering above my head and I didn’t notice.

I was working on an exam for a course named Visual Art Applied Design This course was meant to be the first of two steps of graduating in the field of Art.
(I think the intension was that the student made a choice for his project between Visual Art and Applied Design – but no one really knew).

I was working hard. Actually, I was working my ass of on something that was going nowhere. I tried to talk to my professor, but we seemed to have a missed connection. He was talking, I was talking, but we never touched base because he was speaking (fluently) Russian and I was, remarkably enough, speaking Chinese. We had some amazingly wondrous talks.

And then the exam arrived. It was time to show my work, explain it in a presentation, and collect my grade and move on to part two of graduating in the ever expending universe of Art. By that time it was hard to see straight because of the thunder, lightning and black cats that were falling ceaselessly from the apocalyptic skies. But still, I carried on.


This was my project.

At the end I will share with you how it ended on that dark dark night in an ill-lighted classroom at the academy.

First I’ll show you my theme in words.
If you don’t care much for theory or if you’re more a picture-guy than scroll down to the photo’s below.
The pictures will show a resume of an extremely large collection of studies and works.



Work work work work work – little red riding hood and the big incomprehensible theme

atelier and drawings
a study called (altering) EGO
(pastel, gouache, pencil, charcoal, wax crayons)
Please do not touch - a study selfportret Red Ridinghood
(ink, wax crayon, pastel, gouche, pencil)
Detail godess study inspired by the Prerafaelisten
(pastel on paper)
Study godess Diana
(charcoal on paper 70 x 175 cm)
Me, in my charcoal attire, working in my atelier with on my left a detail of a study of godess Freya
(charcoal on paper 150 x 150 cm)


The afternoon I arrived at the academy I found the classroom, were I had to put out for my exam, in a horrible state. Tables and chairs were piled up like at a storage warehouse. Trying to stand in the middle of the disaster area I swore I could hear the guys from facility services laughing from the dark corners of the room.

(You should know that almost all those guys hated students – and I mean in a really scary Roald Dahl kind of way – they were mean)

Luckily some really nice students and my love came to my aid and together we build new walls from tables, chairs and big wooden plates. It looked like a space again, but bad karma had already creeped in…

Body of work.

I did my presentation, told my story while waving my arms and pointing at (so many) things. I stopped and everybody just stared at me. The professors asked me some interesting and some unrelated questions. I looked at their faces and couldn’t tell what was happening inside their minds and if this was their normal frown or not. After a long deliberation, among the four of them, the verdict came like a bullet to the head.

‘We have no idea what you are talking about and what the heck this means, we can’t tolerate this, and we give you a FIVE (inadequate, miss N!).’

This is the part where I actually looked behind me.
But there was only a pile of tables and some dark corners. They were really talking to me. The sky broke and I got finally struck by lightning.

The crying part came later when I realised the huge amount of time lost on this project. I did want to slap somebody for that. But there was no one. My professors tried to give me a good reason for the low low grade. They couldn’t, they all gave me a different reason. And one even blamed the others. We were all part of a really weird story.

There were ten students that dark evening and for all of us it ended badly. We all flunked the exam. Even the professors themselves. This whole predicament goes to proof that Art is hard to judge, to exam, to explain, to comprehend. For me this was the point de capiton were I realized I am done here, I’m at your level,

 My love brought me home where he turned the dark into cosy, the cat came in and rolled up in a warm ball and the dog looked at me as if to say ‘it’s done, kid.’ Then he climbed upon the sofa and watched some tv.

Saturday, 3 September 2016


First things first. I will finish the SCHOOLLIFE posts, starting were I left of: June 2013

When you scroll down you’ll find the post from Tuesday 11 June 2013. It’s only half a post.

In retrospect it appears like there was a natural disaster and I just dropped everything and took off (which of course is normal in a crisis, in any kind of crisis…).

On June 11 I did write about Perceptual Studies 2D and posted my peculiar and strangely alien like drawings. Which, like all really strange / emotional / scary or typical works do (take the Oscars), got me a really high grade.

Exam-table with sketches, inspiration, books, portfolio and the all-seeing-eye….

No so spectacular exhibition space with big-ass drawings
(through the eyes of Pyke Kock I probably look something like this)

The other course I had to put out for was Product Design 2D and 3D:
a life-size cardboard cabinet, a storage option for your veggies, some pretty info-cards to take when shopping tomatoes, a million little models, a national contest and a course exam.

 Product Design 2D and 3D

There were two assignments and in a nutshell the criteria was:
Be like the students at Design Academy Eindhoven. Be a product designer. Walk the professional line.

Assignment: design a product in 2D and one in 3D that relates in any imaginable way to food. Form and function are key.

My primal inspiration came from one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen: 

This should be required watching for all peops (even kids and dogs).

I did my research on storage guidelines for keeping fruits & vegetables. Mould it to the aesthetics I believe are important. And made the drawings to explain it and finally build it with help and support from a welder and a carpenter.

This is the 3D design I made for this assignment: hello, fruit & vegetable food storage rack

Height 120cm, different kinds of wood with metal frame.

And this is the 2D design that I thought looked pretty cute: a food info-card that you can crab when you buy your tomatoes (now I see that it's not tree/eco friendly, it should be digital). I am sorry.

Linocut and graphicdesign (overlooked by my graphicdesigner manfriend) on cardboardpaper.


This years assignment from our national heritage store, HEMA, was:  ‘organize your life’
Please people of the Netherlands design a product that fits this concept so we can keep on claiming we truly are the peoples store!

So, on that note I decided to design foldable cabinet modules. The modules had to fit in a cycle bag. So when shopping at HEMA it should be so easy to buy a foldable module on a moment’s notice and not be buggerd when you cannot fit it anywhere on your bike.
And I wanted everything to be fully recycleble, from the cardboard to the glue.

The design string from sketch to product:

I presented the whole lot on a sunny morning. And so it happened, that after my presentation, my professor said ‘there is nothing more to add to that, dear miss N, I will reward you with a ten’.

Joy and happiness lasted for days…and then I had to lay down for a bit.