Maaike Canne is an illustrator and artist living and working in Breda, the Netherlands. Her work boasts bold colours and tells stories that leave a lot to your imagination. Canne is also heavily involved with mural work, having done her first mural two years ago. We spoke to the artist about her life and work along with her creative process.
"I grew up in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands. It's a small town near Breda where I'm currently living, but I'm moving to Rotterdam in a month! It's very exciting. I studied a mixture of graphic design and fashion and trends at Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam, but this didn't quite do it for me... I finished it but it didn't feel satisfied at all so I went to art school AKV St. Joost where I studied illustration and graduated in August of 2017. I've always known I wanted to work in the creative field but not specifically illustration. As a kid, I was always drawing and I remember taking my little red suitcase filled with coloured pencils everywhere I went. I also have many creative people in my family so I got introduced to some forms of art at a young age. My dad is a graphic designer and I enjoyed painting with my grandmother at her studio and hearing stories from my uncle who is a sculptor. Nowadays I see myself mostly as an illustrator but I also like to work more abstract, especially when I make murals!"
Canne's body of work boasts a lot of bold colours, patterns and her experience with murals. "My work often comes in bold colours. The scenes I illustrate tell a story but it's not very clear, it leaves a lot to the imagination of the viewer. A lot of the work looks like there once was a character involved who just left the scene. I don't use characters much in my work, it's more about the surrounding and the feeling that comes with it. This can also tell you a lot about the character who isn't visible. My first mural was two years ago and it was quite a big wall, it was 20 meters long. You can see a video of it on my Instagram. I enjoyed it very much so I've done a few more over the years. I recently made quite a big one at Pier 15 skatepark but I like the one I made at a friends house the most! I feel like this one turned out really nice and it's cool to see it as a part of a pretty interior!" In terms current favourite artists, Canne mentioned David Hockney as a big inspiration as well as Nathalie du Pasquier, Ed Bats, Ekta, Esther Stewart, Josephin Ritschel, Zebu, George Wylesol and Jonas Wood.
"It often starts by seeing something I like, this can be a house, or a shape of something more abstract or maybe a story I read somewhere. Then I create a world around it."
"This year I've been painting mostly, I love the brightness of the colours and the feeling of working with a brush. I use gouache on paper a lot lately. I'm not sure if I have a specific subject I often portray, but there's always some kind of emptiness in the work, it maybe feels a bit lonely but not in a sad way, does this make any sense? When an idea comes to mind I keep sketching and altering it. I change compositions a lot when sketching. Then I start painting on top of it. I use photoshop to do some digital touch-ups or to change some colours. It often starts by seeing something I like, this can be a house, or a shape of something more abstract or maybe a story I read somewhere. Then I create a world around it."
Alongside doing murals as a way to express her art, Canne also uses wood as an artistic medium. "Someone I know organises a monthly music event in Breda, he asked me to make the posters but also do the decor for this event! So I made some large banners that hung in front of the windows to give it more of a club feeling. When I thought about decorating the stage I wanted to make a layered composition out of wood. The wooden pieces can be placed in front of each other to create depth and the colors change with the different lighting in the club! I also worked with wooden pieces for my graduation project, I created two scenes that tell the story of what's called the most romantic dutch crime, 'de botersmokkel', the smuggling of butter. I definitely want to do more wooden pieces in the future."