HE WHO DOES CREATES
Where did the name ‘DOES’ come from and why did it come to represent you?
Does originates from the third person singular of the verb “to do”. I first used this name when I started sketching in 1996; I was fourteen years old at that time. In 1997 I did my first piece with spraycans.
Letter structure is something you’re wildly praised for and your style is so definitive to you. Talk to us about your letters, and how you would describe your style.
The basis for my work is still the letterform. From that basis I can go in many directions.
“I would never step away from letters. They are so close to my personality. I’ve used the same letters for 20 years now, I don’t want to throw it away.” My style is a combination of a basic style and a wild style with some graphic influences. I like to play with forms, technics, colours, spaces and effects.
I am still trying to develop my style. I want to get better every week and for me getting better means changing.
Is it correct that you’ve been a writer for more than 20 years?
Yes, I did my first piece in 1997. Last year we published a book ‘First 20 Years’.
What’s been the most dramatic change your creative style has taken from the beginning to now?
Dramatic sounds very negative. I am a positive thinker and I don’t really had big changes in my artistic career. My style developed very gradually over the last 20 years.
Where did your relationship with graffiti begin?
Growing up in Geleen, the Netherlands, I first picked up a spray can at age 14, painting a chrome and black throw-up on an electricity building at a local park. Although I felt that his effort was “a bit shitty”, the sense of excitement that came with being young, doing something “not legal” and getting away with it in broad daylight created a feeling that I have never forgotten.
Do you miss the more illegal aspects of the early days?
Sometimes I still go out. But the feeling is different than back in the days.
These days, do you think your work falls more under the umbrella of graffiti or fine art? And is that something that matters?
I don’t want to put my style in a specific box. I try to reach people with my work and don’t really which label they want to put on it.
Incredibly you now support and fund yourself, your family and a rigorous travel regime through your creative career. Did you ever think when you first started that you would find this level of success from graffiti?
Not at my early age, but I always followed my passion. I worked hard to come where I am at the moment. I believe that if you are passionate it is easier to reach your goals in life.
Tell us about home?
I am really happy where I live at the moment. It is the same city where I grew up as a kid. The city is called Geleen and it is in the very south of the Netherlands close to Germany and Belgium. I am married and have a relation for more than 20 years. We have two kids together; they are 3 and 5 now.
Tell us about your crew LoveLetters?
I started LoveLetters in 2006 with Nash and we slowly invited artists to join the crew. Nowadays the crew has 12 artist from different countries in Europe.
What’re some major influences to your style and practice?
My style slowly developed over the last 20 years. The letter forms that arise tend to be abstract, but to the trained eye the letterform can still be recognised. I have always been inspired by a diversity of elements that, in the first instance, have drawn me to the world of graffiti; like raw walls, desolate buildings, moonlit train tracks, the anonymity and the suspense going with these elements.
How does the average day as DOES play out?
7.00 Wake up 7.20 Making breakfast for my homies 8.00 Bringing the kids to school by bike 8.30 Getting started in my studio 18.00 Taking the kids from daycare or family 18.15 Cooking 19.30 Bringing kids to bed. 20.30 Back to studio 24.00 Bedtime
Who’re your top 5 favourite writers and why?
I like artist who are active and trying to develop their style and skills. A big inspiration in the beginning, for me, was Dare. We painted several times together. He was the guy I spoke to a lot about doing canvases and stuff, and it was also the first time that I saw graffiti painted with acrylics on canvas.
He was a big football fan, as well as a great person and also a great artist. I think he inspired a lot of artists from my generation. He’s still one of my favourites. I bought a canvas from him around 2007, and he passed away in 2010. That was a bit of a shock.
One memory was when we took a football onto the Basel line, with Sirum from Australia, and Rusl from Germany. We played a little football on the tracks while we were painting.
To a lot of artists, particularly those originating from a graffiti background, leaving a mark on the world is something that’s inherently important. What exactly is it that your ‘marks’ on the world are saying?
What drives me is the desire to leave something behind.
If you were to disappear tomorrow, how do you want the world to remember you?
Someone who always followed his passion; stayed through to himself and made the world a more colourful place.
What advice would you give creatives aspiring to have a creative path like yours? As long as you keep on creating, you will develop yourself. It’s always something I say to younger kids who are making stuff. Maybe it sounds cliché, but it’s not gonna happen in one day. It takes time to get better, and the only way you get better is to work on it and follow your passion.
Famous last words? He who does creates