Jun 07, 2018 | By Samuel Trotman
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We’re big fans of The Dutch here at the WGSN. The good folks over in the Netherlands are, after all, Europe’s biggest denim lovers so it’s only right that the denim team makes its seasonal pilgrimage to the denim capital Amsterdam to soak up the indigo culture and catch up with our denim friends.
This year, Amsterdam hosted its third annual festival, Amsterdam Denim Days, dedicated to everything blue. The week-long celebration sees a mix industry fairs, city centre retail events as well as a two-day denim show, Blue Print, dedicated to jeans culture. Held in the stunning settings of Westergasfabriekin in Westerpark, the show hosts a vibrant mix of Dutch denim royalty like G-Star, Denham, and Kings of Indigo alongside some the country’s emerging brands, as well as a whole gaggle of denim connoisseurs looking to get their hands blue.
This year Blueprint invited one of our longtime friends Sven Signe Den Hartogh, to come showcase his creative skills with a live art exhibition at the fair. A known name in the Amsterdam scene, and all-round cool dude, Sven has built a name for himself in the creative world via his previous venture Stranded Sailors, and more recent move into photography and art.
Not your typical artist, photographer nor poet, Sven thrives off creative expression and artistic energy. We spent some time with him to find out what he’s been up to since we last spoke and explore his collision of art and denim:
WGSN: Since we last spoke you’ve gone in a more artistic direction and create via multiple mediums like photography and art. What kind of projects have you been working on over the last year?
SSDH: A variety of different projects, from photography, paintings, poetry, film and even music. I have this endless need for self-expression so I’m always creating, but my main focus at the moment is on photography and painting.
WGSN: Can you tell me about your new project Howl Grey?
SSDH: It’s an alias for different projects, I can’t tell to much about it yet but it might have something to do with more music related work. I really like the idea of a different identity, that we can make up fictional characters for ourselves in which we can create a total new person.
WGSN: You recently worked on a project at denim days festival and also over at Kingpins in NY. What were the purpose of these projects?
SSDH: The purpose was to translate my feelings into a live-performance which manifested itself into a work of art on denim. I think there is gap between artists and people who love art, because 9 out of 10 we only see the end result of the efforts of the people who create art. We never get the feeling of what it takes to create a work. Therefor we came up with the idea to let people be part of the proces, by viewing, hearing, smelling every single step. To feel the energy and to be completely into the proces of the artist.
WGSN: You’ve also collaborated with some denim brands also. What is it that they value about your work thats outside of the traditional denim realm?
SSDH: Maybe it is because I’ve transitioned from the traditional denim realm into art that they value both worlds. Since I can use my love and knowledge for denim but with a more specific or new view on what creation can be, outside the heritage or super manly aspect of it.
WGSN: How do you feel denim and art crossover?
SSDH: I think denim is art and obviously that’s quite a bold statement, but I truly believe this. Apart from the history of the product, the creation of denim or a pair of jeans itself depends on a lot of artistic values in order to simply exist.
That I think is truly magnificent! The other thing is that for some people it’s just a pair of jeans but for others it carries a whole other dimension, same as with paintings or a photograph. Art is different for everyone, which is beautiful.
WGSN: What are the future projects you have lined up for this year?
SSDH: Hence the first answer in terms of a lot of different projects haha!
But we’re currently finishing up my first short-film, working on a new photography book and I have some large scale paintings planned for the coming months. So a lot of interesting and exciting projects, I feel truly blessed that I’m able to live off my art.
Photo Credit: Nina Elise van der Meer
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