Where I'm @
Illustration

A Master of Metaphor

Seb Agresti
Fri 23 Aug
Function Freelance Illustrator and Designer
Year 2015
Major Illustration
Practice Social Practices

Henri Winkelman Award 2019

The Second Award

On 29th of May 2019, the annual award show of the Henri Winkelman Award has taken place at the Willem de Kooning Academy (WdKA). The Henri Winkelman Award has been created seven years ago by the Stichting Ondernermersbelangen Rotterdam. This foundation supports young innovative entrepreneurs on their way with two incentive prices of € 10 000 and € 5 000.

Photography: Bas Czerwinski

What is your occupation now?

Freelance illustrator and designer.

What did you gain from your study at WdKA?

Studying at the Willem de Kooning Academy allows you to live in a creative bubble for a couple of years. Even though studying at the academy comes with its challenges, stress, and pressure, it is a place where there are little consequences for failing, which is great for experimenting and finding out where your strengths lie.

Studying at the academy allows you to live in a creative bubble for a couple of years.

Illustration accompanying an article in The New Yorker about the publication of two books on atheism. I often play with scale and surrealism in my drawings. I made the central character lean on clouds, being interested more in the mysteries of space and the universe than in the idea of a deity. 

Favourite WdKA memory?

Seeing so many of my friends developing and growing over the years, both in their work and in their personal lives. Graduating together was a great moment.

What is the future of your profession, in your opinion?

As it has been the case for a long time now, everything will continue to go at an increasingly faster pace, making it harder for artists and designers to stand out and maintain a reputation. The positive thing about this is that artists will have to be inventive and explore possibilities that lie outside of their forte, which often results in original work.

 

This is one of seven illustrations I made for Das Magazin back in 2017. It was a short story about a family falling apart and the central character, a woman, thinking about what her life could have been if she wasn't married to her annoying husband. When she looks at her husband, all that she is seeing is what she has missed out on in life. 

You never leave your house without…?

My notebook and pen.

Any words of advice to future students?

  • Use the assignments at school as a starting point but think in terms of what you want to learn and where you want to go.
  • Don't just go and get the project done, checking off the minimal requirements.
  • Being a good student is not the same thing as being a good artist or designer.
  • I also recommend starting to work in the field while studying, especially in the last year.
  • Your graduation project should be something you just want to get done because it's standing in the way of your work outside of the academy. In my experience, this makes the transition from student to professional smoother and helps to avoid that agonizing vacuum of nothingness a lot of students fall into after graduating.

 

In 2016 I created an alternative book cover for my favourite novel, Hear The Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami. I made this design for a publication and exhibit organised and published by the Illustration Bienalle in Haarlem. It is also the illustration that got me my first couple of assignments.

Name your favourite recent project.

I recently designed the facade and interior for a new Warby Parker store in Houston, Texas. It's the largest project I have done so far in terms of scale and people involved. People will be working in this store daily, and as a person who is affected by my surroundings, I tried to make the designs both appealing and tranquil, contributing, hopefully, to a pleasant space to be in for the employees of the store.

Photography: Sara Essex Bradley

Future plans and hopes.

I will be doing bigger projects in the next year and will take on fewer editorial illustration jobs. I have recently worked on book covers and album artwork and have enjoyed the design part of those projects.
I'll also be making my first outdoor sculpture this summer together with my friend Micha Prinsen, which I have never done before and am really excited about.

 

Magazine cover design for the Brazilian literary publication Quatro Cinco Um. This edition was dedicated to investigative journalism. I had total freedom in designing this cover and incorporated some elements out of old film noir movies,  which is one of my interests. 


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