Local Heroes #27 - Marloes de Vries

She has just won another award. She has her own book. She illustrates for the popular Flow magazine and she draws children’s books. She’s a Hand Lettering queen and she lives in Rotterdam. If you haven’t heard of this multi-talented artist yet: Say hello to Marloes de Vries!

Published by Wouter on 29/04/2015

Image to the courtesy of Hanke Arkenbout Photography

It’s quite remarkable that someone from a rural, quaint part of the Netherlands leaves everything behind and moves to a big city like Rotterdam. So, why Rotterdam?

Because it was the biggest difference from the town I'm from. I grew up in a small town in Drenthe, in the North-Eastern part of the Netherlands. I wasn't used to big cities, but I felt ready for a change. The biggest change I could think of, the opposite of a small town, was Rotterdam. So I moved here quite impulsively without really thinking it through. Best decision of my life though.

Did it take long to adjust in Rotterdam?

I felt at home the minute I came here. I had been to Rotterdam twice before moving here so I had no idea what to expect but neighbors and the citizens made me feel welcome. I couldn't find a house at first, because I didn't have a lot of money, and literally over a 100 people helped me through Facebook and asking friends and family if they knew a place I could live. They didn't even know me! This city suits me better than a small town. I've got everything I need right here: friends, art, good food, buzz, inspiration. When I miss my family, I just drive up north. 

I also needed to move because I have the need to feel inspired. So, where I live is essential for me to create.

What are your favourite spots in Rotterdam?

Vroesenpark is right around the corner of my house, and I love walking there, or to have a picnic in the summer. I live in the Northern part of the city, and it has that town-feel to it, which I really like. Also, Lof der Zoetheid is one of my favourite spots to eat cake. The owners, Anastasia and Elena are lovely. I used to go to art school with Anastasia, so I knew her cooking and baking skills were amazing. I love Picknick for lunch, you must try the pulled pork there. Okay, enough about food! I also love taking my bike and just cycle across the city, preferably really fast. There is so much contrast between the different parts of the city, it has nature when you bike up north, and it has the skyline near the south. 

What projects are you currently working on?

A lot! I think I've got the Rotterdam-mentality going on: less talking, let's get busy. 

I'm working on pieces for an upcoming solo exhibition, illustrating a picture book for children, writing my own picture book together with my agent and trying to get it published in the United States. I'm also working on a range of greeting cards for the UK, I make illustrations for Flow Magazine every couple of months, and I'm storyboarding my first graphic novel. And some smaller side projects. I can't sit still and do nothing, obviously.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

People, experiences. I try to travel as much I can to see as much as possible, meet new people, hear their stories. I also read a lot, and music can trigger feelings that inspire me to write or draw new things. I also needed to move because I have the need to feel inspired. So, where I live is essential for me to create.

One of the smaller side projects Marloes started recently is a facebook and tumblr page dedicated to Rotterdam and it’s inhabitants. ‘Met Natte T’ (‘With a Wet T’, it’s hard to translate, let alone explain. Let’s just say that people from Rotterdam are known to pronounce the letter T a bit different then in the rest of the country) is Marloes’ view as an outsider on daily life in Rotterdam.

Besides the ‘Met Natte T’ series, does Rotterdam influence the rest of your work a lot? 

Rotterdam inspires me on a daily basis. There's so much going on here, also in the smallest details. People are openminded, they don't take crap and the city is quite unique. It suits me, so I feel like in my work I have come closer to what I really want to create, because of the city.

Where will you be in 5 years?

I never plan too far ahead. I have plans but I never know where I'm going to end up, I never expected to live in Rotterdam for example. I would like to have a couple of picture books to my name, I hope to do more pieces of art and have an exhibition in New York. I hope I have travelled a lot and maybe I'll live abroad. But I don't know, to be honest. I will see where this ship sails me, but for now I like being in this harbor.

Thanks for the lovely interview Marloes. Truly one of the funniest and most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met. Let’s hope you’ll stay a while in this harbor before you set sail to the rest of the world!

Some links to follow:


IG @marloesdevee

FB /marloesdevriesillustration

All other imagery to the courtesy of Marloes de Vries.

- Wouter -

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