Merijn Hos has experimented with many styles during his creative career; from his early days doing graffiti in Twente, an eastern region of The Netherlands, to his rapid progression into paintings inspired by German expressionism. "My parents took us to a show of Der Blaue Reiter, Wassily Kandinsky and friends, and I was hooked on that for a small period and tried to make my own versions within that style,” he says. Later finding his way onto an illustration course at the Utrecht School of Arts, he says it took him an extra two years to graduate because he tried to practice fine art instead. “It wasn’t really a match,” he jokes.
A scan through his work since then reveals a diverse and ever-changing portfolio. Returning to a focus on illustration, Merijn’s projects boast mastery of different styles and aesthetics. From minimal botanical sketches to much brighter, bolder drawings, it seems as though he’s done it all. “I love going in different directions as it gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to explore new things,” Merijn explains. “It keeps me focused and work never feels like work because bringing experience from one field into another is super refreshing.” For the last few years he’s been sating this hunger for new and experimental processes by creating grains and gradients with an old photocopier from the 1980s. Feeding his distinctive colour palettes into it, the finished products have a beautiful warmth to them.
In more recent years Merijn has also been taking on more commissioned work for the likes of Nike, Apple, Dropbox, Dolby and MIT Technology. Amongst them are publications like Anxy, for which he applied his abstract style to the cover of its SS18 edition, and Wired US, for which he created an editorial piece to accompany an article on Google’s AI-powered war on trolls. But personal highlights for Merijn include designing a mug for Scandinavian homeware brand, Iittala, and making a small animation for Disney.
The latter forms part of his newfound interest in moving image. Working alongside his brother Jurriaan, he has been exploring film techniques to incorporate into his practice. The duo have already got a lot under their belt, including an interactive installation piece for STRP, an art and technology festival in Eindhoven, and several motion design projects for clients such as Down The Rabbit Hole, a Dutch psychedelic music festival which Merijn art directs every year. In these works, he says the goal is “to translate the feel of my illustration and artwork into real life objects and situations.”
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.