“He who does creates”
Perfecting his craft since 1997, DOES is a multidisciplinary international artist recognised for his dizzying choice of colours, clean style and eye for detail.
Taking root in graffiti art, traditional letterform is Does’s primary love. He maintains that different hand styles betray elements of their owners’ emotional landscapes, putting personality traits subconsciously on display. Only using the letters D, O, E and S as a foundation, he continues to elevate these etchings to new heights. Through an explosion of colour and shape, letters assume narrative.
Does’s continuous search to innovate and perfect his style display his disciplined nature. Dedication, focus and self-restraint are engrained in him after living the life of a professional soccer player until the age of 28. This path was set at the age of 9 when he was selected to train with the youth selection of one the Netherlands’ professional soccer clubs. As an outlet to his existence in the public eye, he lived a double life as an aspiring graffiti artist.
While home alone, couch-bound and recovering from numerous injuries, his talent continued to develop in elaborate drawing sessions. When he was forced to give up his career as a professional soccer player due to injury, it presented a new opportunity: the chance to focus solely on his art. Having already committed many underground years to the graffiti scene and style, he quickly carved out a reputation as one of the best exponents of the craft.
Although his style is very pure and true to its cultural roots, Does doesn’t want to be bound by what some call the graffiti rulebook. Self-taught, his inspiration is derived from memories not only from his native country, but also extensive travel abroad. His art is now also featured in collections across the globe.
Back home, Does is co-founder of the LoveLetters crew, a creative collective of ten European writers, and a member of the Ironlak Family. Ironlak, an established Australian paint brand, named a colour after him: Dieci Does. This name is a direct reference to the shirt number he wore as a professional soccer player – number 10.
Over the years, Does’s work has diversified into illustrative drawings, prints and canvasses. No matter the medium, his work breathes exuberance – bright, dynamic, and full of energy, Does’s meticulous craft and worldly attitude make for instantly recognisable artworks.
Born 1982, Veghel, The Netherlands
Professional soccer player and artist. What was your first love, passion?
My first passion was soccer. I started when I was 5 years old and until I was about 25, I completely focused on soccer. I didn’t attend many classes in school and my dad even did my homework. At some point I was forced to give up my carreer due to several knee injuries. Luckily, I was able to fall back on what had until that time been my secret passion: graffiti and drawing. During my soccer career my interest in graffiti was related to a certain relief that I needed from the routine and discipline in the soccer industry.
When did you start?
I did my first piece when I was 14 years old. It was a black and silver piece that said DOES. My best mates were on the lookout for me. A few weeks earlier we had founded our own crew, unofficially known as the Pancake Rebels South crew. We were four typical adolescents looking for some excitement.
Does is a powerful word. What was it about the word or the letters, D, O, E, S that drew you to using this as an alias?
I first heard the name DOES during a soccer match and it appealed to me because the word suggests taking action: ‘He who does creates’. Besides the meaning of the word, I choose DOES as I like the shapes of all the individual letters.
Your graffiti style is pretty remarkable, there’s so much energy, a great color mix… I love every piece. How would you describe your style?
I think my work and style is best known for the bright colour combinations, the details, the clean and strong lines and the balance in the letters.
Is your approach premeditated or improvised?
It’s a mixture of preparation and improvisation. The only guideline that I generally bring to a wall is a rough outline of the letters. The rest evolves while working and the colours are often a mixture of what is available and what seems most suitable in combination with the design and the surrounding area.
From drawing to murals, your work is very detailed and meticulous. Can you describe your approach to each medium?
I very much enjoy using different media. It’s a challenge to use and experiment with new materials. When I work with acrylics, brush, pencil and marker my work tends to become very detailed, which takes up a lot of time. Working with pencil and markers is prone to error; with markers you can’t afford a mistake as you can’t erase or touch up anything.
What’s your favourite medium to work with?
It depends on the surface. When I work on canvas I prefer to use acrylics, for paper I mainly use pencil and markers and for murals I use spray cans.
How do you make sure that your letterforms translate when you’re working on such different scales, from ink drawings to huge walls?
Letters offer a strong basis from which you can experiment freely and discover many different forms and shapes. While I experiment with forms and shapes, I try to stay true to the basic form. I think that is how I try to ensure that the letterforms translate. The principle is the same for small and big work.
How do you ensure that you’re always pushing your letterforms to new heights?
I try to develop my style and push the letter form by sketching a lot.
How do you pick your locations ?
I am always on the hunt for good locations. When you travel the locals are usually pretty good at taking you to incredible locations.
How important is location?
The location can make your piece more interesting. For example, to me looking at a piece in on old abandoned church is much more interesting than looking at a piece on a standard wall.
As an artist from the Netherlands, how do you feel your country’s landscape has played a role in your artistic practice?
My work is always a product of my surroundings and therefore I imagine that my work is somehow influenced by the Dutch vibe and landscape. On a conscious level, it’s mainly travelling to other countries that has really broadened my mind and perspective.
What inspires you?
Traveling is a great source of inspiration.
What gets you fired up?
Train tracks in the moonlight.
What would you say that keeps you permanently creative?
It’s become a way of life, I wouldn’t know any better now. Every year there are new grounds to discover.
What’s the best thing about your job?
What are the top three skills you need in this industry?
Dedication, perseverance and personal style.
What are some of your craziest experiences while traveling and new meeting people?
A few things come to mind. My top 5:
1. Glue sniffing kids who trying to steal my bags and cans in Bogota, Colombia.
2. Painting next to a big tigersnake in Tasmania, Australia.
3. Painting in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana.
4. Painting under a bridge in the Bronx in NYC – I was standing on piles of dirt and hundreds of serringes and I came across the people who lived under this bridge.
5. Another experience that I’ll never forget because it was so terrifying is the earthquake in Christchurch New Zeeland. My girl and I were there when a 6.8 and a 5.4 aftershock hit the city and 60 little aftershocks followed during the next few hours.
What advice would you give anyone looking to break into the field?
Wear your mask.
What’s your best motivational lesson for the beginners?
Practice and sketch. Find that one thing that makes you unique.
Have you been to art school?
I have not been to art school, I learned by doing.
Any shout outs?
Feel free to ask me anything via firstname.lastname@example.org
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