In front of a capacity crowd, Amsterdam graphic designers fought it out for a place in the New York international final of Cut & Paste. The winning edge? Play to the crowd!
The auditorium at the Paradiso swelled to capacity as the final four 2D competitors took their places on stage for Amsterdam’s first Cut and Paste finale.
From the heats it was obvious that the eventual winner, Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, understood the format the best. He plays up to the audience, involves them and, like a DJ, gets them going.
Currently studying graphic design at the Royal Art Academy in den Hague, Van den Nieuwendijk started the final by scribbling a note on the screen addressed to the audience. It asked them to text ideas to his cell number.
“I received 280 texts, and I tried to use as many as I could,” Van den Nieuwendijk said later. “They texted me things like ‘the great white whale’ and ‘a samurai sword’ and when I drew it, you could hear roars from that part of the audience.”
Van den Nieuwendijk describes his style as bright and happy. “I like to make images that make people feel good,” he says. “It sounds stupid, but I don’t take this too seriously. I just draw characters mostly using the same palette … from there, it is just a matter of trying to create worlds around them.
“My influences are Nintendo games, contemporary art and 10 000 other things. It is just about my life. “
Van den Nieuwendijk is cautious about the win but still thrilled to be getting the chance to travel to and compete in New York. “To really judge a designer, of course you need to talk to him and then to look at his portfolio,” he says. “But I’m still happy I won.”
Judge Rob Huisman of the BNO agrees: “This has been an interesting and inspiring evening,” he says. “The format works, it’s like an idol for design. And even though we shouldn’t take it too seriously, lots of attention for graphic design is always a good thing.”
Van den Nieuwendijk himself attributes his success to his more interactive and audience-friendly approach. “Some of the other designers maybe came to prepared,” he says. “They already knew exactly what they were going to do whereas I really didn’t.”
One criticism Van den Nieuwendijk and some of the designers had after the show was that they would have preferred to be given the themes of the challenges (“change” in the heats and “icon” in the final) a few minutes before rather than a few days before the event.
“It’s annoying to feel like you need to really prepare and practice,” says Van den Nieuwendijk. “I fiddled around to see what was physically possible in fifteen minutes, but then left a lot up to the atmosphere. What I did was more spontaneous.”
Jordy van den Nieuwendijk will compete in the Cut and Paste international final in New York on June 20th 2009.
Amsterdam’s other winners who are also headed to New York were in 3d Drausio Fonseca Tronolone, and in motion design Tom Geraedts.
Video footage here.
Images: main Jordy van den Nieuwendijk at work, Rob Huisman reads Van den Nieuwendijk's plea for ideas, judges Femke Hiemstra, Jochem Leegstra and Huisman, the enthusiastic crowd,the winning design.
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