“Just do it, without thinking too much,” is how Rob van Mierlo describes his “wet on wet” painting technique in which he organically nurtured an entire animal kingdom. On a dampened sheet of paper, he draws the features of an animal in jagged lines and in minimal shades with watercolor or ink. With black details such as the nose, eyes and hooves are applied. He puts wet graphics aside, after which the colors meet each other. He refined this technique in such a way that the animal was reduced to its essence. A squirrel is basically a long curly tail. crocodile? Pointed jaw. Even in animals with the same characteristics, the differences are striking. The giraffe has a long yellow neck with enlarged brown spots, and the leopard has an amorphous body. The zebra turns into a black and white stripe pattern, the cow is just black and white spots. You never confuse them.
But if you look halfway, you will only see an abstract color combination. Especially up close, when you let the watercolors flow into one another in whimsical, almost psychedelic patterns. Am I looking at an elephant or at fifty shades of gray? This tension is exactly what makes up the attraction of these animals. It’s like looking at the Rorschach test, abstract drawings of identical ink cartridges, but without a psychological final sentence. Van Mierlo’s graphics are a delightful party game. Everyone chooses his favourite. proud rooster. Funky parrot. Or a panda because… well, everyone loves pandas.
Leaves the colors flowing on intuition. Driven by the wheel – another thing that most designers don’t like. After all, the drawing must be completed before the paper dries. You think a child can wash clothes. Perhaps this is also why adults in particular are so fond of Van Mierlo’s work. They are automatic children’s drawings, made by a professional illustrator, because many of them are clear at a glance.
His style is much less than succession.”happy accidentsApparently. He’s been mapping and sanding for over ten years now. Initially as a student at the Eindhoven Academy of Design, where he had to give an illustration about the human desire to control animals. But how can he draw animals without taming them himself in silhouettes Solid and simplified colors?So remember the watercolor lessons at Waldorf School.First try the tiger. Immediately† The animal remains untamed and is still paper hunted. Untamed and recognizable at a glance. Although he certainly doesn’t just designate predators, he still uses the name to this day wild animals for his painted animals.
Van Mierlo immediately sees the potential of his literal animal graphics, and in 2010 he published an illustrated book, under his own management, because children’s book publishers were not interested. After a small pop-up-like presentation during Dutch Design Week, things are going really fast. A year later he won the Dutch Design Award with her. Following international recognition, his books are now sold in prominent museum stores, such as MoMa in New York. This is followed by several trips to well-known luxury brands such as Marni and Hermès, as well as the underground trading company Pop Trading Company. As a former graffiti painter, Van Mierlo also has street cred. For those who can afford it, it sometimes immortalizes a pet. Designing a linoleum floor for flooring manufacturer Forbo is just as easy.
His career takes a turn when Remko van der Velden, a classmate from the Academy of Design, takes over his business. in 2020, wild animals A brand that includes bed linen, pajamas, wrapping paper, cups and socks. For recognition, only one animal is selected. Which animal is obvious: the tiger, the first drawing ever drawn by Van Mierlo. Tiger merchandise is released in stages with dropsA marketing ploy from the street fashion industry. There was also a guerrilla marketing campaign in which Van Mierlo published a series of posters for Party for the Animals. Children’s drawing has become a trademark of adults.
When Van Mierlo and Van der Velden knocked on the door of TextielLab in Tilburg to manufacture a line of tea towels, the collection once again took an unexpected turn. Impressed by the possibilities of fine craftsmanship and the precision of the digital textile machines of this world-famous laboratory, it was decided to make decorative blankets. which are then unscrewed so large that they are fumigated in a wall hanging. In an exclusive edition of twenty pieces, three mohair and merino wool sprites were produced: a butterfly, a dog and a mandrill for 2,500 euros each.
Thus, the wild animals were liberated from their small sizes. But even with the huge size of 205 x 180 cm, the interesting wet colors remain the same. A large portion of the credits for this go to TextielLab. In addition to woven wall hangings, there’s a series of three tufted rugs here, too. In this technique, colorful loops of wool are fired into the fabric using a computer-controlled precision gun, giving the appearance of a stitch-by-stitch embroidered rug.
Bed linen, wall hangings, mugs, posters and, coincidentally, also a new book: bench players, with materials from the “reserve seat”. In the end, it does not matter what wild animals Van Mierloo depicted. or what they make. Its appeal lies not in the perfect ending, but in the proposal. It only takes a few watercolors to unlock childish fantasy worlds. A lion looks down. Naughty owl. They are wild and lovable personalities.