Please be warned; you can completely lose yourself when you take a look into the mind of Ferdy Remijn. The amount of detail he puts in his art is breathtaking, all done with the finest fine-liners and brushes.
We had a talk with this master of pin-pointed precision over the Next Gallery; his workspace ánd art gallery in Rotterdam Noord.
Tell us something about yourself please. Who are you and what do you do for a living?
I’m Ferdy Remijn and I make illustrations and paintings. Since 2013 I’ve been freelancing under my own name, I do assignments for private orders but I also do more commercial work for bigger companies. In my spare time I try to do some free- and self initiated work for myself.
Can you tell us how your love for drawing began to grow?
When I was a little kid I was always busy drawing, it mainly started out with drawing Disney characters. After a while I started drawing humans, something that gave me a lot of insight when it came to drawing in different dimensions.
There always was a certain drive and curiosity to keep drawing, it offers me a kind of calmness so I can completely dive into my own world.
How did you develop your style? Did you study at an art academy or are you an autodidact?
My style basically originated while I was studying Illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. In my second year, I started drawing different structures in black and white, because I wanted to learn how to use black fineliners to create characters and different ambiances. This practice was the foundation of the fine structures of fur that I draw now.
Where do you get your inspiration from, do you have any role models you look up to?
I got inspired by the exotic animals in the Zoo of Antwerp while I was doing my internship there. I was able to observe the animals all day, so I really came to understand their anatomy a lot better. Next to that, I’m always busy archiving inspirational pictures that I come across through different blogs and Tumblrs. One of my favorites is Supersonicart; a website I need to check out on a daily basis.
'The sounds of those tropical birds, the living plants, it gives me a lot of inspiration. I don’t really like the heat over there, but I’ll get used to that eventually.'
Your work is filled up with animals and nature. Why do you pursue these themes?
I love the pure beauty of nature and animals. I don’t have any exotic animals and plants at home, so it’s kind of unreachable for me. I try to reach out to that tangibility through my work.
What’s is the most inspiring place you have ever been?
I was raised in the city, I like the sparks and hectic vibes that are connected with big cities. Of all places, Paris made the biggest impact on me. Its atmosphere is very similar to a fairytale.
What are some of your favorite spots in (and around) Rotterdam?
My favorite spot in Rotterdam by far is the Victoria Serre in the Blijdorp Zoo, I would love to have my workshop in that space. The sounds of those tropical birds, the living plants, it gives me a lot of inspiration. I don’t really like the heat over there, but I’ll get used to that eventually.
You have an amazing workplace and gallery in Rotterdam Noord, can you tell us something more about it?
At Next Gallery I’m helping out with organizing exhibitions, helping out enthusiastic artists and giving them some exposure. I’ve just finished art school myself and by helping out other artists I’m also getting experience in curating exhibitions, and I think that’s great!
Tell us about your favorite food. What are you having when you really want to treat yourself?
Sushi, without a doubt.
What do you consider your own personal masterpiece?
I don’t really have the feeling I already made my masterpiece, and I don’t think I should be thinking about it. The foremost important aspect is that I keep having fun while doing art, instead of having a constant search for that one ultimate masterpiece. You should always be critical towards your own work.
Do you have some hidden talents no one knows about?
Not really [haha].., I think I’ll stick to drawing and painting for now.
What are your materials of choice when you’re working?
I love working with a black fineliner, preferably one with a very small tip so I can do some fine needlework.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A few years ago when I finished my Graphic Design study and I was working full time, my aunt gave me this advice to do another study. It was a period during which I didn’t really draw at all, but I always knew I wanted to do something with it. The big question popped; ‘How are you going to make money with art?’. A few months later I visited an open house day at the art school in Rotterdam and I decided to submit a graphic design project.
I got denied, and their motive was that my personal work was leaning more towards illustration than graphic design. It sparked me up, I realized I only had one real choice to make.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I’m not that kind of guy that wants to know what’s going to happen in the future, but I would love to work in a big studio with other creatives.
Okay, last question. Imagine your house on fire, what are the few things you just can’t leave behind?
I’m going for the big cliches; my drawings and paintings. It would be terrible to see my own work going up in flames. I think I’ll leave some behind though, a few works failed so bad I wouldn’t miss them at all.