“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. Draw the features of an animal on damp paper in jagged lines and in minimal shades using watercolor or ink. With black details such as the nose, eyes and hooves are applied. Puts wet graphics aside, after which the colors meet each other. He refined this technique in such a way that the animal transformed into its very essence. The squirrel is primarily 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 there are watercolors flowing into each other 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 a Rorschach test, the 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. Unconventional parrot. Or a panda because… well, everyone loves pandas.
It lets the colors flow 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 of a relay.”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 is still untamed and is still paper hunted. Untamed and recognizable at a glance. Although he certainly does not design only 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 illustrations and in 2010 he published a picture book under his direction 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. International recognition follows, and 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. Although 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 Brand includes bed linen, pajamas, gift wrap, mugs and socks. For recognition, only one animal is selected. What is the obvious animal: the tiger, the first drawing ever drawn by Van Mierlo. Tiger merchandise is released in stages with dropsA marketing ploy from the streetwear 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 the fine craftsmanship and the precision of the digital textile machines of this world-famous laboratory, it was decided to make decorative blankets. Which is then loosened so loosely that it is steamed into the 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, loops of colored wool are fired into the fabric using a computer-controlled precision gun, giving the appearance of a stitch embroidered carpet.
Bed linen, wall hangings, mugs, posters and, coincidentally, also a new book: bench players, with materials from the “reserve seat”. In the end, it doesn’t matter what Van Mierlo’s wild animals are depicted on. or what they are made of. Gravity is not in the perfect end, but in the motion. It only takes a few watercolors to unlock childish fantasy worlds. A lion looks down. Naughty owl. They are wild and lovable personalities.