Pretty Profiles: Ruud Hendriks
Tell us about yourself and the kind of work you create.
My goal is to create work with the sole purpose of being FUN. No deeper meaning, no political statements. Just unadulterated fun for all ages. Life is serious enough on its own. If I can make some people laugh or smile, I’ve done my job. Common themes are being lazy, loving snack food and video games. Straight from the heart, autobiographical stuff.
What is your typical day like? Are there any challenges that you face on a consistent basis?
Even though I work one hundred percent freelance, I try to emulate having a full time job as much as possible. This helps keeping me from slacking off too much and being doomed to live a life in a cardboard box.
I try to work 9 to 5 like Dolly Parton in a separate office space a good walk away from my apartment. By surrounding myself with hard working people, I tend to get more stuff done myself. I am very susceptible to peer pressure, it seems.
Working on tight deadlines is the hardest thing for me to handle. In my personal life I might be a total klutz with my head in the clouds most of the time, but professionally I am a total obsessive perfectionist. Because most of my work is pretty minimal and clean, everything there needs to be absolutely perfect for me to be happy with it. Time you don’t always get. The best way to deal with this is simply to negotiate better timelines for yourself and stick to your planning. Do the important things first before giving yourself too much time to sit around editing something that nobody ever is going to actually notice. It’s a struggle, still.
Where do you find inspiration for the cast of colorful characters in your work?
Pretty much all of it can be tracked down to a handful of sources of inspiration. First of all, my Pinterest boards are filled with 50’s cartoon modern art. This is the stuff that got me into illustration in the first place. There’s something about the quirky whimsical way people worked in this era that is really inspiring to me. Limited colour palettes, fun characters and crooked lines makes my heart beat faster. A top favourite in this category for me is Abner Graboff.
Another thing that i really enjoy looking at is the art of Japanese mascots. As you might know, every city, park, organisation and whatnot has its own hyper-cute mascot walking around for promotion. They have their own personalities, but in general they are just there to radiate happiness and joy. Some of them are just ridiculous like a half hard boiled egg on skis or a talking and smiling castle. I love them and I want my work to resemble the same amount of weird cute ridiculousness.
Your mascot influences come across strongly in your work. Could you tell us a little bit about your own dog mascot and how you approached branding yourself?
It’s been my dream forever to create a character with its own unique personality and world built around it. About two years ago I started drawing this little hat-sporting dog fella named Momo. Ever since then he became my alter-ego. We share the same passions for unhealthy food and coffee, being a lazy bum and video games. Momo likes to be more in the spotlight so I use him for most of my social media activities.
Every character you create is so obviously yours. What challenges did you face when it came to refining your style?
First of all, I feel that is the best compliment I can get, so thank you very much!
Actually, it came pretty natural to me. Unlike lots of artists I know, I never really dabbled much in other styles. I have always had a big passion for these kind of cutesy, minimalist characters and designs. And I am sure I will continue doing this forever. Sometimes people ask me to draw in different styles, but if I can, I will refuse. Call me stubborn (I am very stubborn). So, most of my illustration career so far is just making this one style better, more original, more my own. When I started off, I was a little bit too influenced by others, and people noticed. This felt really bad, and being (or trying to be) original now is about the most important thing in my work.
You’ve moved around a bit, how has living in different countries and cities impacted your work?
It’s the little things in your day-to-day surroundings that influence and inspire you as an artist. I would say different surroundings definitely have an impact on your work. One of my latest pieces is an abstract version of the city I currently live in; Porto. There’s so much about this city that inspires me. Traditional tiles on the houses, bright orange rooftops, cutely shaped tiny pastries and much more. In Scotland I think I was way more inspired by inside activities because of obvious reasons, so I drew loads of food, video game related things and overall inside coziness. Also seagulls. Living in seaside towns for years now you will always see many seagulls scattered throughout my work. Love those cheeky guys.
What is the prettiest picture you’ve made recently?
I am really happy with my homage to Porto I mentioned before. People over here seem to like it a lot as well - I’ve sold out a whole bunch of prints already! There’s not many things more satisfying to see than people genuinely loving your work. That’s what it’s all about!