A)My name is Pepijn van den Nieuwendijk (Alias Cirque de Pepin), age 36, I live and work in the city of The Hague (Den Haag) in the Netherlands.
Q)How did you get started making art?
A)I come from an artistic background, my father is a retired art-teacher, and he paints as well, so at a young age I had access to paint and other materials. I loved drawing very much. I studied Graphic design at the Royal Academy in The Hague, and I found out that Illustration and painting was what I liked most.
Q)How would you describe your art?
A)Contemporary cartoon icons and imaginary heroes encounter one another in a nostalgic surreal world. Painted little stories on canvas, or sculpted in clay. I use to call it Artoonism, because of influences from both “High” art as “Low” art (comic, cartoons etc.).
Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?
A)Inspiration for my art comes from many different sources. But mainly from old children books, religious art, and decorative art. I love old nature prints like the Audubon-bird prints, and the Dutch “Verkade” books (The Dutch cookie-factory Verkade, made a beautiful nature-book series in the early 20th century, you could collect the pictures for these albums by buying the Verkade cookies. It was a great success). I love 17th century art a lot. Especially the Spanish masters, like Velazques and Zurbaran, and the Dutch masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt.
Q)What are you working on now?
A)I work on four large-scale ceramic relief’s. It is a commission for a new building-project, these relief’s will be placed in the walls of these buildings. And I am working on several new oil paintings.
Q) How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?
A)Starting out with many small sketch ideas that often develop over time, I try to pick out the best one and do some extra visual research in the Library, or through Google and so on. And than I start to paint.
Q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?
A)Oil paint, because of the depth in colour and how I like to work with different glazing mediums, I actually like the smell too. But nowadays, since I’ve been working more and more with ceramics, I think clay must be my second favourite.
Q)Do you collect anything?
A)I collect many things, mainly things that has some historical background, especially books, magazine’s and other illustrated printed matter from around the year 1900, and quite important in this collection are many covers from the weekend edition from the Dutch newspaper ‘Nieuwe Amsterdammer’, dating from the World War I era. I’ve been collecting animal skulls and stuffed animals since my childhood.
Q)Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?
A)I use the computer (Photoshop) mainly for sketching purposes, and for illustration. My sketches are often quite detailed pencil or ink drawings that I scan in the computer.
Q)What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?
A)The best: Museum, professional gallery and Art fair. Worst: A Gray office building in the suburbs of The Hague.
Q) What are your artistic influences?
A)Illustration, comics, 17th century painting, and many different art styles from different times.
Q) How are the reactions on your work in general?
A)Positive most of the time, but some people find it a little weird or disturbing, but I don’t agree about that at all.
Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?
A)Spending time with my wife and my son, making long walks in nature, read a book, meet some friends, watch movies, nothing very special actually.
Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?
A)Try to be original in this overwhelming world of visual entertainment, and still try to remain a personal touch.
Q) What is freedom to you as an artist?
A)To have the freedom to express my personal visions, and to do something that I really like and make a living from it.
Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?
A)Heinzelmännchens Wachtparade, Vliegenpaus (painting and sculpture), The girl from… (sculpture),
Q) What it the coolest thing you have seen recently while wandering the streets?
A)I saw a Cormorant bird in the middle of the city, and that’s quite unusual.
Q) Do you carry a notebook? Do you draw in public?
A)I have my notebook always with me. But I only draw in public in the train, sometimes, when nobody is sitting next to me.
Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?
A)Difficult question, there are so many great artists today and in the past. I already named a few earlier. Some well known artists that I like from today are: Chapman Brothers, Maurizio Cattelan. I love the works from Henry Darger and the work of many of the artists presented in the American Juxtapoz magazine. I am a fan of Walton Ford and Julie Heffernan (but I only saw their work on the web). And I have to mention my great fellow Artoonist friends, Luuk Bode, Hans van Bentem and DJ Chantelle. My favourite galerries are: Kochxbos in Amsterdam and MAMA in Rotterdam.
Q) Which do you think make good art good? originality, or style? And, why?
A)For me originality counts most, but a good idea in a not so good style isn’t very good either.
Q) Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?
A)Two years ago my painting “Kaptein Evol” was stolen at a show, it hurts when that happens, I worked pretty hard on that piece. I still wonder where it could be. But I like to sell my work when somebody really likes it.