1-on-1: Lindert Steegen

We love Lindert Steegen’s bold graphics. Coming from an architectural background, so far he’s focused on decorating whole interiors and exterior walls in his bright, abstract style. As part of our 1-on-1 interview series we caught up with the Ghent-based artists to discuss his methods and inspiration. You can catch Steegen and his work at MERGE FEST ’18, a day of live art, progressive music and community building around ‘play’ taking place in Amsterdam on September 29. 

Tell us a little bit about your background as a graphic designer, when did you start and how did you develop? I don’t really see myself as a “graphic designer”. It’s a segment of visual arts that I practice but have not yet mastered. I guess it all started when I went to art school (the Pikoh in Hasselt) in my 3rd year of high school. After doing visual and architectural arts I discovered that my interest lay in graphic design and I’ve been exploring that interest ever since. Right now I’m studying graphic design at Luca school of arts in Ghent. I see it as a good base to develop myself as a creative individual. You also describe yourself as a ‘muralist’, what is it about the mix and match aesthetic that appeals to you? Before working on the murals my work/drawings were more figurative but always with an abstract touch. I found this clash between abstract and figurative elements more interesting because it gives more depth to a work. It’s much more fun to create something new than to recreate what already exists. So that evolved into what it is now which is more abstract with a figurative touch. With murals everything is possible, there are no limits. It’s more like painting a feeling for me instead of a script or a story that’s literally told. I’d like to give the viewer with an open ending so that there’s room for their own interpretation. What tools and materials do you usually work with? When working on my murals I always use Montana cans. At the moment mostly Montana black cans. With them, a meter, some chalk, and a plumb level are essential for me when sketching the design on the wall. Other tools can come in depending on the project but these are the main ones I use. Which other artists and designers inspire you? In the beginning I looked up to Tristan Eaton. Also the guys from Cyrcle had a big influence on me, not just because of their work but also the way they work. Lately I’ve been really into “graffiti futurism” due to an instagram account called @graffuturism. Let’s just say I would be very happy to be featured on there. I also discovered Nelio on that page, a great artist from France with a unique style; Something I hope to achieve one day. Are you also inspired by your surroundings and ‘non-artistic’ things in your general environment? Yeah for sure. Mostly just color combinations I see in streets or whatever catches my eye while walking. I’m always looking for certain patterns in my surroundings. Besides that I also get a lot of inspiration from the stories my grandparents tell me. Knowing that they didn’t have a lot of opportunities growing up, I feel very humble to be able to do all this. They really paved a path for my parents and, therefore, for me. They inspire me to always keep on going and to keep developing myself into the best version of me I can be. You work on exterior walls, interior design, and 2D pictures – which medium is your favourite and how do they differ? At the moment I’m really exploring what is possible and how I can have an effect on the spaces around me. By painting exterior walls I think I’ve found something that works for me and has an influence on others who see it. That last part is a key feature that is really important for me. Right now I found a certain style that fits me but the plan is to keep experimenting and to keep evolving. I’m trying to find more ways to translate this style into more 3D-objects and installations. My belief is just to keep on exploring what is possible because there are no limits. There’s no guide that you can follow to achieve whatever it is you want. In the end you just got to do it yourself and figure it out. You’re based in Ghent, which seems to have quite an exciting creative scene, what can you tell us about the city and its influence on you? After a year in Brussels I decided to make a change and moved to Ghent. A decision I definitely do not regret. While being here I’ve met a lot of great people. There’s a really good energy in the city. Everyday you can find inspiration by going to a speaking event, museum, or a good party like Splén or Thrillers. The city is alive and you can feel that daily so it keeps you going.