Chris Versteeg
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Chris Versteeg

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Chris Versteeg, born in 1977, works as a graphic designer and illustrator at Rotterdam based design studio Projekt C and is the chief editor and publisher of Street and More magazine. “As a kid I loved to draw stuff and go out skateboarding and being up to no good. In the early ‘90s, I got in touch with graffiti and that became my true love for years. I had a great time painting, climbing fences, running, ending up in late night bars, sleeping outside and traveling most of Europe, whilst making friends for life. After graduating from Grafisch Lyceum in Rotterdam I continued my studies at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, but dropped out after one and a half years to start working. Best choice ever! Nowadays I spent most of my time in the office, working on illustrations, magazines, books and paintings, but from time to time I sneak out to go painting. My current work, both digital and manual, is a good mix between a clean graphic style, mixed with natural and industrial touches without losing some of those important graffiti and big city life elements.”
INTERVIEW
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
I’d say my style is mix of classic clean graphic illustration with elements from nature and architecture and a bit of surrealism. Most works are mainly aesthetic compositions, but I sometimes try to sneak in some classic symbolism.
WHAT DOES “OFF THE WALL” MEAN TO YOU?
A 1979 record by Michael Jackson, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough! No, I believe it’s a term used by early skaters to describe the moment they’re airborne and thus going off the wall. For me it’s more important to get stuff on a wall, but that is a whole different story ;)
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN INSPIRATIONS?
It may sound a bit soft, but I find a lot of inspiration in nature and its countless shapes and forms. But also in the exact opposite; big city architecture and it’s geometrical logic. I’m also a bit of a sucker for cars, planes and machinery made in the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PAIR OF VANS?
I think it was a pair of navy blue Authentics or Skate Lows, I’m not sure to be honest.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE REACTIONS TO YOUR WORK?
Today people usually express themselves with emojis, so if I get some thumbs up, smiley, big smiley, heart, 100, clapping hands and a double beer, I’m happy.
IF YOU COULD DO A COLLABORATIVE PIECE WITH ANY ARTIST, LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Oh, there are a few! First of all, there’s Charley Harper, an American illustrator who made loads of work during his career of highly stylized nature paintings that still look fresh today. Another is Kawase Hasui, a Japanese artist that made woodblock prints. I admire the way both men work and the way they put so much effort and subtle details in their artwork. But for a collaboration these guys are way out of my league, so I’d rather work with someone with a completely different skill, like making ceramics, clothes or packaging, and combine forces to make something unique.
WHAT ARE SOME FAVORITE WORKS YOU’VE CREATED?
The artwork I made for the Vans Downtown Showdown is still something I’m super happy with, the large mural I made for Brouwerij Noordt in Rotterdam and the size 66 slip-ons are also both keepers.
WHAT THINGS DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR 2017/2018?
I’m planning on winning the lottery big time! Then find a nice house near the forest or the sea and spend the rest of my life painting and travelling with my wife and kids. I’m a pretty easy guy.