#GreenLabelGallery Curator Vonik Gives Us Her #PiecesOfMind

This year Green Label Gallery returns to Amsterdam for the #PiecesofMind exhibition. The focus will be on bold typographical works and quotes submitted by a global community of artists using the #GreenLabelGallery and #PiecesofMind hashtags. All submissions will be sifted through by the exhibition’s team of curators, led by illustrator and designer Vonik.

We reached out to get her #piecesofmind. For more information about Green Label Gallery and how to submit, see here.

Most artists work with images. Why were you attracted to letters?
When I was growing up my parents didn’t own a car, so every time we had to get somewhere we went by train. I loved it. My face was stuck to the window most of the time because of the endless amounts of graffiti next to the train tracks. It was colorful, it kept changing, and I liked how those people made letters more fun than they usually were to me. I think I was 11 or 12 when I started sketching letters in my first black book. Two years later, I was lucky enough that the graffiti-writing-brother of one of my friends took me under his wing so I could experience some first-hand spray paint adventures.

What’s the most important thing to remember when creating a new letter design?
I think that’s different from person to person. Some people focus a lot on technique, a steady hand, traditional styles, and they produce some truly amazing work that way. But I know myself well enough to acknowledge that I don’t have the steadiest hand and that I’m more attracted to letters which are bit goofy, which show some character, and somehow portray a mood or emotion.

So to me it’s important to create letters that match with me. Oh—and never just stick with one idea! I always try to sketch something in at least three different ways; then you’ll always find new and interesting solutions.

A photo posted by vonik (@vonikdesign) on

When in your studio or creative space, what are some of the tools you cannot be without in order to execute to your best ability? My number one tool is a Rotring 0.5 HB refill pencil, haha. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel most at ease when I’m sketching. When it’s lost I tend to frantically buy a new one right away, which leaves me with at least five of the exact same pencils, ’cause they always show up again (under the couch cushions, in my agenda, stuck in my hair, you name it). Besides that, I always have a Posca Uni 0.7 mm, tea, internet and dotted paper. Spraypaint kinda disappeared from my repertoire because I just really enjoy the feeling of a pen or pencil going slowly over paper or a wall. If you’ve ever been mentored, what was one thing that was instilled in you that you would pass on to an emerging artist? Hmm, hard one. My art school (I studied illustration) was quite commercial and focused on “the client”: the client should be happy, what would the client like, listen to the client’s feedback. That resulted in making stuff you knew the teacher (“client”) would like and would get you a good grade instead of making something you could actually be proud of. With time I learned that you don’t always have to do what the client asks for; you’re the artist, you’re the expert, they should also have some faith in your knowledge. Find a middle ground.

A photo posted by vonik (@vonikdesign) on

How have you used the internet or social media to advance your career, and what have been some of the outcomes?
Facebook, Behance, and Pinterest have been my favorites for a long time, but I can honestly say I was a bit skeptical about Instagram. I assumed it would just be one big #duckface and #foodporn showdown, and for that reason I just stuck to my website and Facebook for exposure. Somewhere around two years ago I was talked into Instagram, and I can’t say I regret signing up. It has brought me some nice assignments, I found a lot of designers I love following, and every once in a while I even start doubting whether or not I should post a picture of my food. Haha, how awful—I’m hooked.

Why would you encourage people to submit to Green Label Gallery using the hashtags #GreenLabelGallery and #PiecesOfMind?
The place where we are hosting the exhibition is really great, located in the city center of Amsterdam. It’s two floors, a bright, lovely place—who wouldn’t want their work or quote hanging there? And I already love seeing the designs that came in these past few days, so keep it going.

Last of all, can you give us a piece of your mind?
Try never having to regret things you didn’t do.

A photo posted by vonik (@vonikdesign) on

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