Dutch typography artist Ceizer shares his inspiration and creative process as we launch our latest collab.
For designer and typography artist Ceizer, text is a medium. From his early years doing graffiti in Amsterdam, to collabs with fashion and tech brands, the written word has always played a key role in his work.
As we get ready to launch his collection The Power of Words, we sat down with the artist to learn more about his process and experience designing for neon. Easy going words like “Peace” and “Relax” hang beside high energy pieces “Love” and “Fuck Yeah” in this six piece limited edition neon drop. Read on for our chat with the man behind these exciting new designs.
Where do you take your inspiration? What inspires you?
There's different ways of inspiration, right? So there’s like one is kind of inspiration that gives me the energy. So that’s probably other people, yeah! If I see somebody that figured out their own way to do everything they want to do or they really follow their own path in life, and that’s kind of my inspiration.
Y: What are you thinking about when you are drawing?
C: When I'm drawing, I think about nothing. I'm just focusing on the lines, on the line work, inside the drawing, … So, I'm in a more of a meditative state, I guess, with my head. And, I am somewhere away from here.
Y: What’s the design process (from A to Z)?
C: In the beginning, I just want to make a lot of different ideas and sketches. I'm just letting my thoughts roll and letting everything out. In the next phase, I start to look at it and be more rational, like : “What could I do with this?” “What could I do with that?”. It's just also a little bit intuitive, I guess. It's like you think, okay, I feel this could be something. And from there, I work it more out. So I go in refining, retouching, and reshaping it.
Y: Who obsesses you the most?
C: My favorite artists are Tom Wesselmann, Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring and Robert Indiana. I aspire to be maybe the new Robert Indiana!
Y: How did you start art?
C: Skateboarding has a big role in my upbringing. When I was around 11 years old, I started skateboarding that formed the most as a person. I saw graffiti guys there, I learned about sneakers, clothing, and graphics! Skateboarding is like a team sport. And at the same time, it's very individual because there is a little bit of a competition in between everybody. It's really a nice dynamic.
Y: Did you do an art school?
C: Yes, two! Utrecht and The Hague. As I started my company, I didn't finish all of them. It was too complicated to combine the schools and work!
Y: What was your first piece of art?
C: I come from the world of skateboarding and graffiti and stuff like that. So my first work was more like graffiti. I used to do graffiti and writing in the streets, on the trams and anywhere in Amsterdam.
Y: What’s the life of an artist?
C: Being free to do whatever, to live life according to my own rules and according to my own boundaries, that's kind of being artist for me.
Y: Tell us in 3 words what your art is about?
C: My art is about words, poetry, colors and empowerment.
Y: These neons are super good looking. What is that about?
C: These neons our from my latest collaboration with Yellowpop. I made six neons. Three of them are more like full art pieces with multiple colors. And then, I have three more simplistic ones in only one color. I've been working with neons signs since few years and Yellowpop made it possible for me to have a more accessible way of working with light.
Y: You’re a typographer as well, tell us a little bit about how do you treat typography?
C: Let's say typography is kind of my medium, so I only work with letters and words. I make a message with words and with this message, I create an idea or a feeling or an emotion inside the reader's head.
For this loved one, I actually outline the shadows and the word itself is gone. So altogether it became a kind of abstract, line work. But if you look at the letter shapes that you see, you can find love back in it.
Y: What about the “Fuck Yeah” neon?
C: It's a logo of enthusiasm! So I made a logo for a feeling. That's kind of what my work is for every feeling or every emotion. I try to make an image or a logo or let's say an artwork. So I really look at the essence of things and try to make it as simple as possible in a way.
Y: What about the “Art”?
C: I took the inspiration from a work from Lichtenstein. And I really love that simplistic approach and also kind of double meaning. So you have art and you call it art. And of course it's a bit too obvious in a way that makes it just perfect. And I really try to make my own version of, of this idea and I'm really happy about it. Turned out in multiple colors!
Y: How did you start to get contact with neons?
C: By living in Paris! From maybe the boulangerie, the café or the bistro where you see all the neon signs in front. So this is the new chapter of that. So a more accessible way of using neon. And I'm also way more colored, I think!
When you put light in something, you kind of make it a life. Light in general is the essence of life. Right? So the sun, it gives you a certain power and light is where all energy comes from.
Light in the end. So there's some magical kind of I think, experience with light. So making art and mixing it with lights has a magic effect, I guess.
Y: Do you think it is escapism or do you think art should always be engaged?
C: Yeah, for me, art is more like a form of escapism. So making things and also the whole kind of, job as an artist, is my way to kind of not participate in society. And at the same time, that's all you're busy on because you're only thinking about your emotions, people's emotions and energies and whatever's going on in the world. And, you’re also trying to be away from everybody to just don't care about nothing and just be you and be free.
What's your favorite place in Paris?
Les Buttes Chaumont
Croissant or pain au chocolat?
Pain au chocolat
I'm going to ask that again. Almond croissant, or pain au chocolat?
Pain au chocolat
What's your favorite drink In France?
Vodka, with ice
What is your favorite club?
Le Ciré Jaune
Favorite art place or museum?
Pompidou, it's beautiful
Are you dogs or cats?
We have a cat. My girlfriend made me a cat person!
What time in the morning do you wake up?
7:30 AM every day
Because we have a lot of stuff to do
What time do you go to bed?
What's your favorite song right now?
Zoom from the Commodores. That's a great song!
Last concert you've seen?
What is your favorite word in French?
What's your worst least french word?
It's hard to hate French words
What's your favorite season here?
April in Paris
Do you prefer holiday at the beach or holiday at the mountain?
Do you prefer countryside or city?
Do you prefer car, walking or bicycle?
What's missing here?
A couch. But we never rest, so we don't need a couch!
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
Maybe Willem Dafoe
What is your favorite movie?
Amores perros, the Mexican movie.
Best place on earth that you visited?
Somewhere in the world you haven't gone, but you want to go?
What's your favorite color?
Everything between blue and green
What is a colour you hate?
I don't like purple, but I use it also because I use colors that I don't like! I mix it, I try stuff with it, and then I suddenly see what it can do. But actually, I like all the colors.