Clemens Den Exter

Featured Artist

BOSWIJCK from Collective Arts Brewing on Vimeo.

Profile_PicBorn in front of a revolving door in New York.  One of Holland’s tallest Illustrators. Spends most of his free time playing the drums or getting sensitive behind the piano. Clemens den Exter is currently living in New York and working at The Mill as a designer. He graduated in the summer of 2013, with a nomination for a student Award, at the Willem De Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

What stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?
About three years ago, when I first moved to New York City, my friend from art school who worked at a small independent movie theatre in Rotterdam asked me to make an alternative movie poster of “The Wolf of Wall Street”. A few months later, a movie critic snapped a photo of my poster while visiting the Netherlands for a film festival and posted it on Twitter. From there, its popularity spread like wildfire on the internet and it eventually went viral! Before I knew it, I had the movie’s directors and actors (Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Jonah Hill, etc.) reaching out asking to buy my poster!

What are you currently working on?
I just won a pitch to make a short animation for a children’s program I grew up watching as a kid. It’s still a little too early in the process to talk about it in detail, but I’m very excited about it. I’m also currently working on a book that’s comprised of 20 illustrations that show the different ways the word “Dutch” gets used in the English vocabulary. It’s been in the making for a while but it’s almost done. I plan to have the book printed with a risograph printer.

How did you get started as an artist?
After graduating from The Willem The Kooning Academy in 2013, I got in touch with my first clients during the graduation show, so I had some editorial illustration work straight out of college. Towards the end of my graduation process I decided, sort of last minute, that I wanted to live in NY for a bit. Most of my friends and classmates went abroad to study for a semester or do an internship abroad during college. I never did and was starting to regret it. I set the goal that I wanted to learn how to be a better animator, so before I moved I reached out to some companies and designers through email, making sure I had some people to talk to when I made the move. One interview led to another and before I knew it I started designing and animating at The Mill. I haven’t left NYC since.

Who or what influences your art?
I’m influenced by anything from folk art to cartoons, cereal box character design, masks, sculptures ceramics and inanimate objects that look like faces. Lately, I’ve been trying not to only be influenced by other illustrators, but to find inspiration in other experiences. Color is what ties all my work together, so I’m constantly looking around my surroundings for fun or beautiful color combinations that I can implement in my work. But it’s day to day experiences that influence me the most.

What is your creative process like?
While I’m working on commissioned work for clients I usually make sure I have 1 or 2 personal projects on the side, which I can bounce between. I always feel like it makes both projects better and it creates a nice contrast in my work flow. One of the personal projects will usually be a physical piece – something sculptural made out of wood or ceramics. The other one is usually very concept-based and is something I can creatively plan in my head while biking to work or waiting on the subway. I think I produce the best work if I’m not focusing on just one project.

How do you feel our Art + Brewing initiative can benefit emerging artists?
I always think it’s great when artists are multi-disciplined and the same goes for a product. A product or brand that can think outside the box and leverage its reach to support the creativity of emerging artists is appealing to a certain type of consumer. That same consumer is more likely to acknowledge and appreciate the art in their hands. It’s really a win-win for both the product and artist.

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