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October 21

Talk to: graphic designer Erjee

Talk to

From empty newspaper offices to a florishing creative workspaces, and from dusty construction site to the opening of Volkshotel. Graphic designer Erjee Vroling (32) has seen it all. For more than seven years he’s been working in our building as a graphic designer, creating brand imagery for Volkshotel, Doka, Canvas, Amsterdam Roest and more. Volkshotel’s Ewa asked him all about his career and his connection to our beloved building.

So, you were here before anybody else?
Yes, when newspaper ‘De Volkskrant’ left the building in 2007, the Urban Resort foundation turned the empty newspaper offices into a ‘Broedplaats’ – creative office spaces. Actually, I was the very first tenant, long before Volkshotel was here. Together with friends, we had a whole floor with studios for creatives. I remember the very first day, climbing up to the seventh floor, opening a cold beer, eating Surinam food and enjoying the view. Years later, I’m still here.

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Looking back, when did you became interested in graphic design?
I’m originally from Zoetermeer, a town where nothing happens. Great start of my life, haha. So that’s why I started organizing parties with two friends, combining art and music. That’s how I became interested in images and graphics. One year after finishing high school, I bought an expensive Mac. Although I had no experience, I just knew this was the moment to get a move on. So I worked my ass off, applied for art school and luckily got in at Graphic Design at the HKU (art school in Utrecht, red.).

Your work varies from posters to logos and record sleeves. How do you usually start?
I guess I’m not your average designer. My main inspiration comes from fashion, music or stuff I see on the street; I just like too many things to only keep an eye on design. I usually dive into a concept, using images that inspire me. For instance, Volkshotel is a place that keeps evolving. That inspired me to use a range of different fonts that keep changing everytime.

Music is a big inspiration as you already mentioned, so it’s no wonder you’re a DJ as well. Can you tell us how your DJ career developed?
I’ve been playing vinyl since 1997 and was involved in all sorts of musical projects, in Canvas, Paris for NYE or Gashouder in Amsterdam Westerpark and so on. For the last couple of years, I’ve been completely focussed on my work as a graphic designer, but lately I’m back on track when it comes to music.

Together with Alex Mir (musical programmer at Volkshotel and Canvas, red.), I’m now known as Fox & Mink. Friends call me ‘fox neck’ because I can’t keep my head still while listening to music, so that’s where the name comes from, haha. This summer has been great, playing at Down The Rabbit Hole festival and Amsterdam clubs Disco Dolly and Sugar Factory. We only play shit we love. Musically we are all over the place, but a party is guaranteed.

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And we’re not finished yet, because you’re also a musician and involved with the Joe Kickass crew?
Yes, with Joe Kickass, it all comes together. Joe kickass is a performer / musician that focuses on a raw hiphop sound that distinguishes itself by an oldskool sound. Next to writing press releases and creating artwork, I’m also his back up MC. He’s pretty big in Germany and Poland and has released 2 LP’s and EP’s at record label Project Mooncircle (Berlin), so we do quite some travelling. I’m really glad to be part of their crew and it definitely inspires me on different levels.

Curious to see more of Erjee’s work? Check out www.erjee.net. It hasn’t been updated for a while because we like to keep him busy at Volkshotel. But take a look anyway.

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