Amsterdam born typography artist Pieter Ceizer recently collaborated with New Era to produce a Capsule Collection, currently being exhibited at colette in Paris. Ed Little, caught up with him while on his year abroad in Amsterdam to get his views on music, fashion and creativity.
1. You got into typography aged 11 at your local skate spot. What was it about graffiti and youth culture that spawned your interest?
“At the old Museumplein I got inspired by graffiti writers, who did pieces on the back of the half pipe. I liked the fact that they made stuff where, when and how they wanted. Plus I was fascinated by all the letters and colours, by the early 90s graffiti was kinda new and fresh you know.”
2. You been involved in street art for 9 years now, what do you believe to be the core essences of this art form?
“The core essence is the artist’s self chosen-freedom to make what you want, where you want and when you want.”
3. Do you have any interesting tagging stories from when you were younger?
“Once I got caught by the police, while doing a piece, they took my spray cans & sketch and brought me to the police station. The officer put the sketch on the table, but upside down, and asked me what was written. I told him something random like S130, he carefully filled in his form.”
4. Your designs usually seem to be very positive and forward looking especially ones like ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Great’, ‘Chase Your Dreams’ and ‘Wake Up’. Is there any political meaning or social commentary underlying these sentiments?
“To me it’s fun to play with words and make quotes or phrases like that. Basically I think people are mostly driven be fear instead of love, also I want to promote freedom and I want people to think for themselves. But not all my work is only positive or empowering, also humour is important aspect. I don’t want to preach to people, I just want to give them some candy for the mind.”
5. Where do you draw inspiration from and who are your favourite street artists?
“I’m inspired by vintage typography, soap packaging from 1890 stuff like that, way back when lettering was a real craft. Also graphic design was really made to make a product or message more appealing and communicate straight to the client. I like this direct approach.”
6. ‘Anything you believe and your mind can conceive you can achieve’ is beautifully poetic and is reminiscent of books like Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’. Do you have any particular literary interests that aid your creativity?
“Not these books actually. I love the work of Dutch writer and painter Jan Cremer, to me it
represents freedom and believing in yourself.”
7. How did the Pieter Ceizer x Colette Capsule collection happen?
“Colette have been selling my clothing for two or three years now. Last year they asked me to make the first ‘t-shirt of the month’, they sold out within 24 hours, a few months later I came to the store personally and I showed some more of my sketches and ideas, we talked exchanged more ideas and
organically this resulted into a capsule collection.”
8. You’ve described what you do as ‘typofunk’ relating visual typographic elements to music? What kind of music do you like and who are your favourite artists?
“I like funky stuff. I’m fan of Zapp & Roger, Ohio Players, Kleeer and stuff like that.”
9. We have seen the hip-hop world collide with the fashion world with niche brands emerging off the back off Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar. Is it exciting to bring street art to fashion?
“I don’t think of myself as a street artist actually. I evolved from the street into a typographical artist.
I just bring as specific form of typography and philosophy to (street) fashion.”
10. How has establishing a fashion brand helped you?
“Well, t-shirts helped as a medium to spread & share my ideas and designs with others.”
11. Over the last decade street art has become increasingly popular. Pieces are now being sold and exhibited in galleries, documentaries have been made and books published. Is this a good thing for street art or does it denigrate authenticity?
I have no opinion on what’s good for street art, I don’t really care. I guess a lot of subcultures got bigger, so the culture is able to provide jobs and evolve. I guess that’s good. As an artist, fan, lover
or even hater, you always have to judge for yourself what you like and what you feel is original, fun or fresh, no matter how big or small the culture is.
12. Around Amsterdam I have seen some ‘Sellout’ & ‘Fuck Art’ tags. If directed your way, how would you respond?
…………… (No answer – Keep it Hush)
13. Do you still do art in the street? Or is it predominantly commercial now?
I don’t do stuff in the street anymore. My work is not only commercial right now. Most of the time I make only what I wanna make and I don’t care if it will sell big time or small time or not at all. To put
everything out there is my main mission, how or how much is secondary.
To check out more Ceizer street wear check out: http://studioceizer.com/
To read High Snobiety’s review of the Pieter Ceizer x colette Capsule Collection and Exhibition see here: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2013/07/27/pieter-ceizer-colette-capsule-collection-exhibition/