A City Exposed #3 - Milou Neelen

As part of the third edition of A City Exposed, in collaboration with PUP creative agency, we proudly present Amsterdam-based freestyle illustrator Milou Neelen.

Published by Mio on 16/12/2014

Milou was born in the scenic port city of Hoorn but set her heart on Amsterdam when she moved here for college eight years ago. She rediscovered her love for painting and drawing while finding her way in the big city. Her art works didn't go unnoticed and soon got picked up by ELLE, Scotch & Soda and PUP Creative agency where she is now part of their brilliant pool of creatives. Milou took us and our friends, photographers of on a hazy morning, on a tour through Amsterdam to show us what parts of the city inspires her the most.

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-1 1. What’s your perspective on the creative scene in this particular city?

Once certain creatives get discovered you suddenly see them popping up everywhere, there's a hype created around a specific group of people. I'm glad to see that agencies like PUP offer more room for different creative influencers that extends beyond that group. Many Amsterdam-based companies like to work with creatives for various purposes and use them in many different ways, which is awesome. The creative scene in Amsterdam is very collaborative.

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-2 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-3 2. How does Amsterdam influence your work?

Well, to my point of the creative scene in Amsterdam being inviting and collaborative, I'm always working with very different people on very different things. Their unique views inspire me to keep re-inventing myself, which is very important to me as an illustrator. Amsterdam has a lot of hidden gems when it comes to vintage items, like ex-libris, packaging and typographical stuff, it influences my visual style and taste.

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-4 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-5 3. What are your favourite places for inspiration and thinking?

It's a combination of various places that I like to go to for its own unique inspirational reasons. The palm greenhouse in the Hortus, is a beautiful serene spot that allows me to think in quietness, while the Zeedijk for example is a great place to inhale the vibrance of the different people, cultures, colors and exotic food, I love the area! Then you have the OBA (public library) where I flick through piles of printed magazines and scribble down notes in my notebook.

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-6 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-7 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-8

For fashion illustration inspiration I visit certain shops for its awesome range of products, the interior and the whole experience of the store itself. My favorites are Six and Sons and the Lovestories Boutique, the fitting rooms are hidden behind the doors of an old walk-in closet. And antique store Kok, I love this building from the inside and out, it stores big old books with the oldest ex libris.

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-9 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-10 4. Could you name five objects, buildings, sculptures or pieces of art that are a must-visit phenomenon in Amsterdam?

It's difficult to restrict myself to such a short list with so many great options. But here are my five favorites: - The palm greenhouse at the Hortus. (both inside and out.) - De Plantage. (including the outside seats on the Artisplein overlooking the flamingo's.) - Entrepotdok. (is an awesome warehouses turned into living and workspaces. When the wind is blowing in a certain direction you can hear the animals in Artis.) - De Ceuvel. (a creative area in north-Amsterdam. Old boats turned into creative offices with a beautiful wooden curvy road in between and an awesome sunset.) - De Hallen. (crazy beautiful renovated old tram depot turned into indoor food market.)

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-11 5. What would the ultimate city be to perform your arts and where would you like to live next?

I'm planning on a USA trip in 2015, I would love to see what's happening in cities like Portland in Philadelphia, the creative scene plays a big role for underground- as well as commercial arts. New York would also be an awesome city to perform my arts, it's better to dream big right? As to where I wanna live, I would go any place where the sun shines. I'd like to believe I work better getting kissed by the sun while sipping on some fresh coconut water (smile).

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-12 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-13 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-14 6. Was there a specific moment in time that you fell in love with Amsterdam?

I must have been around 10 or 11 years old, when I was sitting on the back of the 70's Vespa scooter of my aunt, cruising the city.

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-15 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-16 7. How does creativity flourish among youth culture in Amsterdam?

To be frank I don't really have an answer to this question. I'm not part of the youth culture anymore and I'm not working with the 'younger' generation (yet).

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-17 8. What is unique about the creative scene in Amsterdam?

That it's very social, people really connect with each other and work together to create something awesome. Creatives can be narcissistic in nature but here I find them very professionally working in unity with others.

Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-LANDSCAPE-18 Citinerary-PUP-Milou-Neelen-by-on-a-hazy-morning-Amsterdam-PORTRAIT-6 9. What is the most memorable/typical moment you've experienced in your city?

I think the most memorable moments I've experienced in Amsterdam are a sum up of my previous answers. There's not a typical moment in particular but more the energy that I receive from the inspiring and creative people I get to work with over and over again. They open doors for me and help me walk new paths and learn new things. The whole journey of getting connected. But also the other way around, for me to help people get linked up for the perfect collaborations.


Thank you Milou for sharing your personal inspiring parts of Amsterdam with us and thank you PUP creative agency for the courtesy.

LINKS: milouneelen.com pupcreativeagency.com onahazymorning.com -Mio-     

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