Amazing artists I discovered this week #7


First of all I wanted to say thanks to all you visitors, at this moment I get about 60 page views a day. I guess that means that I am writing about something good and you like it. I hope I can make more people happy by writing all this.

YES! This is not about Trump or something else bad!

Sometimes people who inspire you are closer then you think. We live in a terrible small world and in this terrible small world you can meet the best people. This week I am talking about someone who went to the same school as I did and even lived in the same city as I did when I lived there for about a year. Besides that, he was the one who opened my eyes for the whole Roadburn Festival world.
I am talking about Maarten Donders.

IX The Hermit. A new personal work lightly reinterpreting the tarot card with same name. 'The Hermit represents the desire to turn away from the getting and spending of society to focus on the inner world.'
Copyright: Maarten Donders

Peeking into his universe.

"After graduating as illustrator from the St. Joost art academy (Breda, NL) in 2008, Maarten has provided handmade illustrations, logos, designs and creative direction for musicians, bands, record labels, artists, magazines and music venues, in an attempt to combine his art with a passion for music. Most of his work has been in the form of album covers, posters, and clothing. Maarten occasionally exhibits his work, and since 2009 he has regularly contributed art to the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg.

Maarten's primary focus as an illustrator is on personality and authenticity. He uses his sketchbook and personal interests as a launching point, where every idea is equally important, and anything can ignite a spark. His goal: to create powerful, expressive images that are recognizable, unique, and breathe personality. His work is known for its surreal, experimental, almost dreamlike qualities."
Surreal and dreamlike for sure! We walk through mountains and fields and we meet the most weird figures both alive and dead while looking at his artwork. This is an artist for those who love the weird heavy 70's with all their journeys through their own extraterrestrial mindset. I think Maarten does the kind of Magick where Alan Moore talks about in many of his interviews. We artists and designers are the ones who do things to people on a visual level. We can give people a certain feeling or grab their attention and make them curious.
What I can really appreciate in his work is the fact that he keeps it extremely close to the human mind. Where I tend to walk away from what we know and create a complete dystopian scenery he approaches the "self". You can be surprised by what you can see by yourself.

Walk with him through his universe. 

The fact that he walks through his own universe and draws the things he sees around him in some kind of surreal scenery where everything is possible is something that inspires me. Of course everyone knows that we can do everything we want when we close our eyes. Also artists are able to put this on paper or canvas or whatever so that is not that much of a surprise either. But he made me thing about my own work.
Maarten gives a narrative feeling to his characters. You can feel that those characters had more than just been placed in that certain place by the artist. They traveled to that place and witnessed that moment or event at that very time together with you.

album cover: We Hunt Buffalo.
artwork: Maarten Donders

As we can see above it is not always the normal travel business of seeing awesome scenery and mountains. We can see some devastating and scary moments too. Things appear in front of you like in Plato's cave and Maarten is the one who gives you your reality if you want it or not.
The figures appearing from smoke or mist are in a way like a ghost who takes shape in front of you. it surprises you in a colorful way.
While walking through his work and witnessing every event he shows me I was asking myself this following question: In what world do I travel?
I usually make drawings from that place in that time with all the stuff that is telling the story that should be told. But all this time I missed that piece of the puzzle that Maarten already found years ago. I don't think about the events before the drawing and what will happen after this shot.
As an illustrator you work with time without the possibility of using it. We take a still from a movie or a certain scene from the theatre. I need to focus more on the story telling part to create a solid story. Just a little bit more time to complete it all. Why is that guy wearing those clothes? Why is the bull angry? You don't have to give that answer in the same drawing but the audience can think up their own stories. They have a part in the experience as well. We guide our audience so we have the responsibility to give them what they need.

By: Maarten Donders

Screen printing and other comforts.

As some of you know I worked at a factory and I screen printed on full automatic and half automatic machines. So you can say I know what the possibilities are with screen printing. But Maarten is one of those guys who has the knowhow to get the fullest effect from just a few colors. These prints are getting more and more popular these days but I still think he has one of those styles you don't get to see every day.
We all know the vintage type of posters with all the fancy vintage typography that is all hot and sexy at this moment. Maarten seems to do things different from that. No copying vintage hypes but guiding his illustrations towards a poster, created for the medium. I really respect this in his poster art. He uses elements from the 70's but he does not live that. He knows what he does and sticks to it. I don't think I am one of those people who should go for this medium. My heart lies with book printing presses and I would love to explore that spectrum of the word of reproduction. (so keep an eye open, I did it once and I will do it again!)
Somewhere on my bookshelves I have a fantastic book about printing with just two colors. The use of paper, transparency, and even glitter or other type of things are possible when you print with the screen printing technique. Limitations sometimes give you the strongest pictures. It forces you to think about your choices.

Blood Ceremony live at Roadburn Festival poster.
Design by: Maarten Donders

Close to nature

As you can see his lines are working like a frequency. Since I am reading a lot about old cultures and occultism I can tell there are similarities between the occult themes from nature religions, the 70's and the work of Maarten. Since the 70's were all about freedom of mind, freedom and experimentation with both drugs and spirituality and of course living close with nature you can see where I am aiming for. But there is something different. We don't see all love and pease in his work, do we? This is where the darkness of Aleister Crowley comes in and the occult comes in. Satanism, demon worshipping, drugs and obscure practices influenced the whole image of this happy hippy scene. From then things became darker and heavier with bands like Black Sabbath and you probably know the history of your music. But something Crowley looked for was the origin of magick and found some of it in the pyramids of ancient Egypt. I learned from Egyptian history that the snake was not just important since he was Apep, both a god of evil and a god who should be kept close since he was the one who did the bad to you, but also because of the way the snaked moved.
It was like a frequency that could travel through walls and minds and many other things. It was a symbol of spiritual movement. The same thing with the use of LSD and probably other drugs. You get to see frequencies and movement in everything.
You can recognize this in the lines of Maartens work too. They are way more free than mine. I use those really tight straight lines which gives it a way more hard feeling to my drawings. His drawings are way more pleasant to look at, they are peaceful even when there are some terrible images to be seen.
This is something I should be putting some time into. my drawings are always heavy, dark and filled with hard lines and heavy black fields. In my last entry I talked about the will to draw some nice beautiful illustrations without all the symbolism and complex stuff everywhere. Well I think I can learn a lot about being pleasant in my visual communication by looking at a bit less hard shapes then I use. Maybe my work gets a bit more attractive like the image below.

Bohren und der Club of Gore 013 venue poster.
Design: Maarten Donders


Well, what should I do know? Well I think I have to work on my narrative sense in this and practice my communicative Magick. My spell is in my imagery so that is what I should manipulate. Use these frequencies on the audience and maybe work on some what less hard line work. Not every drawing should look like it wants to kill you.

Again, Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed it. Follow this blog for more. Next week another artist and another look into both his or her soul and yours.
Please leave a comment for any suggestions, comments and/or questions!


His official website

Interested in buying some of his work?! click below.



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