Interview with the Dutch illustrator, Old de Bruin
Who are you Olf?
My name is Olf de Bruin, currently living and working in Amsterdam. I grew up in a small village called Schalkwijk nearby Utrecht. And I’m an illustrator.
Can you introduce your project “Van Bollebast tot Voortprinter”?
‘Van Bollebast tot Voortprinter’ is a book about a wonderful future of mankind. Fascinated by transhumanism, the movement about merging humans and technologies to enhance the human performance, I thought to myself; can we also go instead of better, go different. With that in mind I looked at social and technical developments and created six new human species.
What does this title mean?
That’s a hard one because 50% of those words are made up. ‘Van’ means from and ‘tot’ means till. Bollebast is a word combination of fatty and belly, which at the same time uses is a different word for bark. And Voorprinter is a play of words on Dutch for procreate and printer. So the best I can do for you is ‘From Fattybelly till Proprinter’, which doesn’t sounds as good as it does in Dutch.
Can you tell us more about some of these 6 new human species your created?
Each specie is adapted to an individual setting. So for instance the Bollebast created a new skin for itself because of world hunger. With this new skin it can live from sunlight instead of sandwiches and pancakes. Or the Zeekopje (which means something like seahead), lives from plastic soup and created a new stomach for itself so it can digest plastic. Which is based on a process called pyrolysis, which turns plastic into useable oils. And the Baronest is a freaky new type of human which expands her brain by using her own babies to connect to her central nerve system. Somehow the same how you use extern hard disks on your computer.
What songs can we listen to while looking at this incredible future world?
Oh, never really thought about this. Well I listened to a lot of hiphop creating it, so I would suggest: Kanye West, Thaiboy Digital, Travi$ Scott or MHD.
What’s the size of this book and how long did it take to create?
The book is about A5-format and I think it took half a year to create the whole book, maybe longer. The whole concept of a encyclopedia of future human species came relatively quick, so after that it was only producing a lot of drawings. But what I didn’t realize was that the writing, graphic design, selecting, etc. would also take a lot of time.
The whole project obviously reminds me the great ‘Codex Seraphinianus’- is it one of your references?
Yes, most definitely. What most inspired me about the Codex was the convincing world that is created in the book. And what I also like from this book is that it has the right amount of weirdness for me personally. This spread where two people who are making love turning into an alligator is just perfect.
What are your other sources of inspiration?
One an artistic level my biggest inspirations are nature itself, evolution and I love old biology-books. ‘Kunstformen der Natur’ is one of my favorites. Oh, and I love the work from Paul Noble, I remember I visited an exposition from him while I was making the book.
But also people like Tyler, the Creator are very inspiring to me. Seeing someone young who I can identify with making it big keeps me going.
Which illustration is your favorite and what’s behind it?
It’s hard to say that I have a favorite one. But a in the book there’s a spread about a baby Baronest climbing out of the vagina and connecting to it’s mother’s brain I’m very proud of because of the narrative of those illustrations together.
What’s the future of this book?
For now it is what it is. But sometimes I dream about a part 2 or some extra chapters. This transhumanism-thing really got me so probably also some more of that. Or maybe another encyclopedia about a different subject, we’ll see.
What’s next for you?
Currently I’m working as a freelancer on all type of illustration stuff. Made some albumcovers in the past and I do a lot of editorial stuff for different kind of Dutch journalistic platforms. Also made artwork for a Dutch festival and some magazines. And I’m selling prints through my webshop. So trying to do a lot of stuff. Also, I’d like to design Kanye’s next albumcover and get my illustrations printed on a plane.
What books did you like when you were a child?
One of my favourites was about a little mole who had a quest to find out which animal had shitted on his head, I believe a dog did it eventually. That one was so funny at the time!
What are you going to do just after having answered to this final question?
Probably playing darts with my homie Niels (we’ve recently copped a dartboard for the studio and we’re hooked) .
Thank you Olf!