Maaike Canne is a 26-year-old illustrator who just moved to Rotterdam, Netherlands. She has always had an interest in collecting, organizing and drawing. Her bold painting always expands people's imagination. Recently, she really enjoys making murals.
Maaike recently helped JumpFromPaper customized the cartoon bag below.
She named her cartoon bag
We had an interview with this amazing girl! Let's check this out!!
Could you please tell us more about the concept of your cartoon bag?
Maaike: You can see my love for certain abstract shapes and bold colors. The shapes are abstract but are based on parts of Asia. The red circle refers to the Japanese flag or a Chinese lantern. Red is the color of good luck in Asia. The 3 identical shapes refer to the Japanese and Chinese language. The pink shape is based on the shape of a kimono.
What is the core concept/value of your painting?
Maaike: I graduated less than a year ago and it’s all just taking off on a certain road, a road with a lot of sidetracks that interest me. I’m actually only just starting to understand my own work, but it’s still hard to define. The subjects of my painting vary, depending on what interests me at the moment. There are some elements that I see in a lot of my work, whether I integrate it on purpose or not. It often gives insight into the surroundings and/or feelings of a character who is not in the picture. It's a fantasy world that touches reality, you can relate in some way but it also feels somewhat isolated. It’s like the painting is the moment after a moment. Or as if a moment still has to occur. The concept of my painting also depends on the type of work I make, because next to figurative illustration I also love to do more abstract work.
Your work “Kodokushi” seems like you are telling a story of a social issue. How do you choose the subjects when painting?
Maaike: It’s definitely a social issue, ’Kodokushi’ means lonely deaths. This subject derived from my interest in Japan. Social isolation is a big problem in Japan. As for "Kodokushi", there’s also a word for this phenomenon of social isolation, it’s called Hikikomori. It refers to people who avoid personal or social contact and live in self-imposed isolation for an extended period—six months or longer, as defined by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. I find it very interesting that Japan has over 127 million people, but is also the country where so many people suffer from loneliness.
Loneliness seems to be a subject that’s more common in my work. It might have to do with some social struggles I deal with myself. I always found it very scary to meet new people or to be at the center of attention, public speaking feels like a total nightmare. But I’m definitely getting better at it over the years!
What is your hobby when not creating your art?Maaike: What I like to do most is strolling around on flea markets and going to thrift stores. My dad always took me to flea markets as a kid because he’s a collector. I’ve always loved everything about it! Going through boxes filled with random things and then finding that one thing you never knew you wanted so bad! I also enjoy going to museums and concerts and now that think about it, I’d like to visit more comedy shows.
Your father is a graphic designer and grandmother is a painter. How does this background influence you as being an illustrator?
Maaike: As a child, I always felt free to do what I wanted, and that thing was drawing. My family was very supportive, they didn’t see it as a strange thing to do as a job. For example, I loved going through my grandmothers' collection of large charcoal portraits or sorting oil paint tubes by size or color and looking at her art books. I remember that when the sun was out when I visited my grandmother, we would draw together in the garden, that was great. All these little experiences probably helped me to see that making art for a living isn’t very far out of reach. It helped me develop certain interests and maybe even getting to know myself a bit more.
Ideas on art usually come from a magic moment like walking on a street that you’ve never been to. For you, where and what is your memorable inspiration?
Maaike: My memory is very bad, unfortunately. So when I get inspired by something I photograph it or get something on paper the same day. This is the best way for me to get an inspirational moment into an artwork. A lot of ideas come when I’m falling asleep when I’m on the edge of a dream. Sometimes I still remember parts of it when I wake up so I make a note. But honestly, I don’t remember one very special moment where this magic happened. Luckily I don’t necessarily need epic moments like a talking cat with human legs eating colloquies at a French restaurant. It can be a stack of red plastic tubes on a building site or a poster blowing through the streets. I’m easily impressed by the simple things in life.
What kind of your characteristics make you insist on illustrating?
Maaike: Like most illustrators, I’ve always had a rich fantasy, and with that, I’m very ambitious about making art. I think for a lot of people that have an imaginative mind comes the need to somehow translate this into art. Whether this is music, theater, writing, or making paintings.
Do you have any advice for people who are fascinated by arts and want to step into this industry?
Maaike: When I was younger I only saw the romantic part of making art, I saw myself drawing whatever and whenever I wanted. But illustration is also about deadlines, battling your insecurities, learning to do business with clients, getting yourself noticed.. etc. You’re going to have to embrace these parts as well. I think you can only embrace this if you love what you do! If you do, go for it!
Who is your idol and how does he/she inspire you?
Maaike: There are, and were so many great artists out there.. David Hockney is an inspiration because he’s in love with making art in all kinds of ways, and he’s still experimenting and learning new things. I think that’s very inspiring. He has a great sense of balancing reality with fantasy. Also, his skewed perspectives, bold colors, hard shadows and isolated landscapes definitely inspire me. Artist from the Memphis group like Nathalie du Pasquier inspires me with their use of line, shape, color, and space. I love the empty cityscapes and isolated themes of Edward Hopper's work. There also are a lot of more recent artists that I like; Antoine Cosse, Jee-ook, Kasper Bosmans, Jd Banke, Ed Bats, Andrey Kasay.
Wall painting at Netherland
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Maaike: I see myself living in a big city, with lots of things to see and do. But having a quiet home with lots of greenery and large windows. A studio where I love working and no longer having a job on the side. And of course my lovely friends around, and who knows, I might even have a boyfriend.
Any big plans/ art project coming up in this year?
Maaike: At the moment I’m working on an illustration for Papier magazine/Dimanche studio to celebrate the 70’th birthday of the European Union. I’m making a design for Mudshirt, they screenprint shirts on festivals, with mud! Doing a collab with JumpfromPaper and I’m going to make another large mural at a nightclub. I’m looking forward to seeing how color shapes and lines react to different lighting.
What advice would you give to young artists?