“Hello, my name is Chris Versteeg, born in 1977 in a small village in Holland. As a kid I loved to skate and draw strange images, later I started to paint graffiti and there I found my true love.
I attended the School for Graphic Design in Rotterdam and later the Willem de Kooning Academy, also in Rotterdam. I currently work as a graphic designer and illustrator for Projekt C and still try to go out painting from time to time with my Lastplak brothers.”
Chris was on the beach for the first ever GromSearch stop in Netherlands. He was the chosen artist to custom the surfboard, and he did well! Here comes some more infos about this blue lover...
* As a Dutch boy, what was the first pictures you saw as a kid?
As a kid we got a lot of American and English TV shows, but also Czeck cartoons like Krtek and animation like Pat a Mat. From the American series I still remember the A-Team, the Dukes of Hazzard and all Sunday morning cartoons like Spiderman, Scooby Doo etc. The best show as a kid was without a doubt Rembo & Rembo, just google it, it can not be explained.
* Netherlands was very innovative in graffiti, how can you explain that?
I guess we we're just very lucky to have had guys like Delta, Zedz, CES53 and Sender who all developed their own unique style and not followed the wildstyle fashion at that time. Their work inspired so many kids to start painting too, it was just everywhere you looked! Most of the works they made in the late 80's and early 90's still looks so fresh, like it was made only yesterday.
* Could you say that the country accepted graffiti as a culture?
Hmmm... That's difficult to say. Maybe Amsterdam accepted graffiti at an early stage, but the rest of Holland still considered it as vandalism and would rather see grey walls then colourfull stuff. Since a few years it's getting better though, some schools are even giving graffiti workshops and people now also see the positive side of graff. Damn, now I sound like an old man...
* About you, how did you decide that making pictures will be your life?
It just comes naturally, for me it's the easiest job to do. In school I was more interested in drawing and skateboarding. The only courses I loved were History and French - ah oui -.
* You do a lot of corporate works, but also a lot of personal projects, do you separate both
I don't really seperate them. I try to work in the same way for both corporate as private. With corporate work you sometimes have to listen to the client, but mainly they let me work in my own way. I love to have the deadline in corporate work, it makes you work much better, just that little bit of adrenaline. With private work I don't have that, so sometimes it takes me ages to finish a painting.
* When you paint on walls, how it happens?
Ususally I already see the end result in my head and from there on it's just a matter of staying focussed and concentrated to get the drawing on the wall. If the basic sketch is done, I usually open up a ice cold beer and start colouring. Good music is also important, that can really set the right mood for painting.
* You do a lot of small characters, do you have names for them?
Not really, I mostly call them ghosts, turds or olesserinhos!
* What kind of music is inspiring?
I like to listen to a lot of different music: funk, old soul music, roots reggae, 90's hip hop, as long as it's funky! If I have a job to finish and not a lot of time, I'll choose some more up tempo with a harder rhythm. If I can take my time and paint all night, I prefer old soul stuff, as long as it's not too cheezy. And when painting with friends, I prefer stuff like Parliament, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins etc. And I'm a secretive fan of Russian music, old and new. See me walking in Moscow ;)
* Could you names a couple of artists that you like, and draw some characters too...
Ouf! There are so many good artists out there today... I like the work of Daan Botlek a lot, he's always so sharp and innovative. I like the humour in the work that Dave the Chimp makes, I love the flow in the pieces from Caver, and Aryz from Spain is great. SatOne from Germany mixes tight graphical design with the looseness of graffiti wich is also amazing.
* You use different tools to create, which are your favorite?
I've tried so many tools, but I always come back to the same three: spraypaint, acrylic paint and paint markers. I need the paints to dry quick so I can keep working and they should give a nice flat finish and these three do exactly that. Love 'em!
* What could be the best project for you as artist?
This may sound very boring, but a nice wall, a piece of wood or a canvas are still my favourites. Of course we can put the wall somewhere on a tropic island, close to the beach. Now thát would be great.
* You put out a magazine a couple of months ago, SAM, could you introduce it to us?
Yes, sure! I'd been thinking of making a magazine for some time and in october 2013 I just started. In my job as a graphic designe I had been making magazines for over 12 years so I kind of had an idea about what it had to look like. I first made a list of artists that I wanted to interview and I called and mailed everybody I knew and asked them to send pictures. Then I put the magazine together and was lucky to find some cool advertisers to cover the start up costs like printing and shipping and we were rolling.
The magazine is called SAM wich stands for Street and More. It features a wide range of street art, graffiti and illustration design from all over the world and we plan to make 4 issues a year. So far things are going well and if it's up to me I'll keep doing this till I'm to old to paint or operate a computer.
* It's kinda rare that artist give space to others artists...
Yes it is. I think it is really important for artist to cooperate and help each other. It better for the vibe and artists can learn from each other. I mean, we're not on Wall Street or something, so there's no real need for harcore competition.
* To conclude, if you have to choose a color, which one it could be?
Ha ha ha, are you going to send me a box of that color then? No, I always love working with blue. It's a color that usually covers really nice and it has a fresh and strong appearence. Blueeee!