Vincent van de Waal is a graphic design artist based in Amsterdam. Besides designing printed media, he also started working with Patta designing their in house label. Van de Waals designs stand out for their direct and uncut nature with an always present undeniable graphical sensitivity. He is obsessed with drawing, addicted to visual incentives and hungry to show the world another aspect of his visual ability.
We talked to the Amsterdam creative about his artistic work and also about his commercial work as the creative director the Patta brand.
1. You have an interesting name, does it mean something besides being your name?
Actually it’s quite a common name, de Waal is a big river in the Netherlands.
2. You live and work in Amsterdam. Why Amsterdam? What is your connection with the city?
Amsterdam is easy going. Great diversity of people. Not too big but got everything I need. I have to say for me it’s the only city I ever wanted to live in Holland. It feels sometimes like a little village and I found out that I kinda appreciate that. You can just hit the city without a plan and always find some friends or situations going on. Also the fact that it isn’t crazy expensive, gives room for a pretty nice living standard.
3. How would you describe your work, what makes it unique and stand out?
Quite bold and straight forward, black and white with the use of a lot of symbolism. I don’t think about standing out, it’s up to the people who observe it.
4. You used to work designing flyers and posters for the Amsterdam club scene.. In what way did that influence your creative style?
When I graduated from academy, these were the kind of jobs you could do to earn a little money and still be almost free to do and more importantly try what you wanted. In that time the flyer/poster scene in Amsterdam was very alive. I saw and learned a lot from great people like Parra and the guy’s from Machine. I think the most important thing this period gave me is, trying out so many different things that after some time I started to see, feel and believe where my strength was and very important where it wasn’t.
5. You are a studied graphic designer. Do you mainly work with your computer?
I’ve never been fully focussed on the computer. And still not that good with it. Always used a lot of handwork/drawing in my work. And since my focus now is more and more towards uncommissioned work, I use it even less than before.
6. If you listen to music while you work what kind of music would that be? Does music inspire you?
Music is always there. Really important but hard to choose. It really goes all directions with a deep love for rap music. I guess what inspires me the most is a certain attitude in music and lyrics and than it doesn’t matter if it’s Neil Young, Gucci Mane or the Jewish Folk singer Theodore Bikel.
7. You play an important role at Patta, being the creative director of the brand. What does your role exactly entale and how would you compare your commercial work at Patta with your uncommissioned work?
My role within Patta grew from designing several shirt graphics to designing the collection together with Gee (co-owner of Patta) Also we are in charge of the whole production process. At Patta we work as a team, so we always get a lot of great input from other Patta crew members, finally almost all the creative output passes our eyes. The work I do for Patta is more framed by certain restrictions than my uncommissioned work. Because we work with factories, suppliers, etc. we do more depend on external factors, which sometimes play a role in the outcome of the product. I like the sport of it, to still reach the right style and feel within these rules.
8. Tell us about the connection between graphic design and fashion design. How do your two worlds connect?
That happens quite naturally, I never think about it that much. I approach the process more or less the same. In the end it’s both about the attitude I want to carry out. Whether it’s paper or fabric.
Vincent van de Waal’s “Did You Think Of Me Today?” exhibition at the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum opens this Friday. To accompany this event, Patta has produced a limited run of long sleeve shirts featuring van de Waal’s graphic sensibility. Only 50 pieces have been produced and will be available September 6th, only at www.patta.nl.
See Vincent’s work and pictures of the limited edition Patta Longsleeve in the gallery above.