At such a young age of 22, your work has certainly blossomed and thrived in the world of art. Your style is vibrantly teeming with thrill and wonder. Can you tell us about the evolution of your aesthetic over the years since you first started honing in on your craft?
I’ve made art my whole life but started taking it more seriously when I turned 16. I came up with the doodle style you still see today, but it looked way different back then. It just started as quick black & white drawings on the side of notebooks. I detested coloring in my drawings back then, that has fully changed now haha. 🙂 Before I was 16 I’d draw sporadically, there would be days or weeks between drawings. But when I started taking my craft more seriously I promised myself to finish 1 drawing a day. This way I would progress my skills in a rapid way, and I’d also post it daily on Instagram which in turn grew me an audience. People have been able to follow my journey and see me grow my artistic craft and career over the years. For the last couple of years, it’s been my goal to just perfect my doodle style, I have a vision of how I want the perfect artwork to look and I try to get closer to that step-by-step. (Even though I probably will never ‘create the perfect artwork’, the pursuit is the most exciting part). Once my Instagram got around 25k followers, I also started a YouTube channel. It didn’t make sense to me that I would spend hours and hours on an artwork only for people to scroll by it for 2 seconds on Instagram. If I could get their attention on YouTube I could show them the progress behind the artwork for 10 minutes instead of 2 seconds! I’ve also always looked up to a lot of YouTubers and I have a passion for filmmaking, so YouTube came pretty natural to me. I’m super grateful to have to build a community of almost 3M people there!
What has it been like to garner the attention of brands like Porsche, Converse, and Samsung at such a young age? Tell us about your experience working with such prominent entities and what sort of challenges or triumphs you encountered while working with them.
It’s super exciting! I was 17 when I did my first branded project with Fanta. It all came much quicker than I anticipated. Working with these big brands allowed me to be a part of projects that I couldn’t have done by myself. But on the flip side, there are a lot of rules and guidelines you have to follow when working with brands. It’s hard to get full creative freedom, I also think my age comes into play here. Hopefully, when I’m older and more established, brands will trust my vision and just let me take the lead. Lately, I tried to stay away from brand work as much as possible because I want to get back to a place where I’m 100% to create what I want to create. No compromises.
It is so fascinating to view your work and observe the detailing that goes into each visual. An element that is authentic to you is how you incorporate smaller motifs into a silhouette of a much larger image. They come alive like microcosms of pop culture symbolism and other whimsical beings. Describe to us the process of creating such visuals and how you piece together all these details into your art.
When I was young I probably ‘overdosed’ on cartoons. I watched it all-day and all-night and I think I view the world as one big cartoon now. So it became easy for me to come up with these silly characters inspired by pop culture to add to my art. I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that cartoons can convey emotions so well. Especially Spongebob is a huge inspiration, the creativity involved in that animation is beyond this world. I give every doodle in my art a specific emotion that fits them or that I felt at the time of drawing it. I mix the doodles with other cool objects or words from my imagination. And at the end the accumulation of all those elements create a bigger picture. People first see the bigger picture and can then take a closer look and find a whole universe within it. One of the most fun parts for me as the creator is to see people find new doodles days or weeks after they’ve first seen the artwork. People keep discovering new things that weren’t visible to them at first glance.
What is your favorite part about being a self-taught artist?
No one ever told me how I should draw or what I should draw. I think there’s a lot of value in not being shoehorned into a specific way of thinking. I see a lot of art students that end up being copies of each other since they are around the same people constantly and get the same classes and lessons taught. I like to try new mediums and start with a fresh mind on how to go about making an artwork in this new medium. Playing around with ideas and techniques (‘The discovery phase’) is always the most fun to me.
The way your artwork can be transposed to different mediums such as shoes, digital NFT, hats, cars, and walls is truly amazing to see. What can you tell us about the versatility of your style and if any challenges arose for you while experimenting with different mediums?
When I was 16 I purposefully decided to pursue this art style since I quickly realised how much potential it had in so many different ways. The doodles can fit in any medium: Street art, merchandise, car wraps, custom sneakers, … For the past year and a half I’ve been working on releasing my own art toys. That has been the first big challenge when it comes to the art style. You can imagine all the small details and tons of colors are not easy to translate into a 3D physical sculpture. We’re coming close to a final version now which I’m happy with, but it took over a year of revisions to get to this point. This secret project should release this summer if everything goes as planned! Currently, I’m extremely interested to see the worlds of digital art and traditional (physical) art blend. I think it’s fair to say that this year, NFTs have legitimized digital art for once and for all. I’m interested to see how the art medium will change with the implementation of digital screens, programmable art, AI, … I’m thinking of how we can upgrade a simple canvas painting to something much more. I don’t wanna give too much away yet since it will likely be the inspiration for my upcoming NFT drops… 😉
What hopes do you have for the future? If you could send your future self a message, what would it be?
First of all, I hope COVID is no more soon ‘future Vexx’ haha. Travel was a huge part of my life and inspiration for my art, and that freedom got stripped away from me since 2020. It’s been a crazy year with ups and downs and a lot of reflection… I want to tell myself to never become complacent. Stay inspired by life, keep following your gut, pursue your interests. Spend more time with friends and family. And maybe be a little less hard on yourself, past Vexx is proud of what you accomplished 🙂
All images with courtesy of Vexx