Meet'em: Hedof


Nando introduced me to Hedof’s work some years ago, more or less when we both started appreciating street art, differentiating it from graffiti. We were of course super excited to see Hedof collaborating with the Portuguese artist Akacorleone as well! Visiting my friend Job in Breda, I had to go and visit Hedof as well, right? Specially because I’ve been dwelling on illustration lately. As so, on the 23rd of May the Dutch illustrator welcomed me into his toy-filled studio for a chat.

Street art mural by Hedof and AkaCorleone
Street art mural by Hedof and AkaCorleone, Lisboa, Portugal

CHIMPAN: I know you stepped into your creative career through skateboarding and graffiti. Do you still ride?

Hedof: Yes! I ride occasionally. Lately I’ve been teaching my 4-year-old son how to ride as well. It’s great to have this to share with him. I remember as a kid seeing this powerful image of a skateboard. I saved up and went for it! Skateboarding was great for me, [it was a] way to make friends anywhere in the world. Plus, it made me less afraid of stuff, including owning a style. It’s all about presenting yourself.

C: Did the name Hedof come from that time?

H: Not at all. It’s actually not that of a funny story. Me and a friend also named Rick created our studio after we graduated. We wanted a cool name and looking at the music we like, we thought it cool to play around with the name of the song “Head/Off” by Sebastian.

C: Hey! Not bad at all. They say that Childish Gambino got his name from an online name generator, right?

C: Big question for me here… How Important is screen printing for you?

H: Me and some friends used to organise some parties and we made the posters as well. I tried a lot of techniques but It was after that first pull that I saw how professional it looked, still being and feeling tactile.

[It was] like finding my voice.

The screen printing colour method was so in my head that it started influencing my way of working as an illustrator: the limited colour palette, the lighter-to-darker colour layer organization… I’ve even painted murals painting all the yellows first!

C: Man VS the Machine question. Hand-drawing or computer?

H: I always start something by sketching on paper. Looking at some of my other projects and other sketched helps (he shows me his yellow binder filled with drawings of diverse characters,  fun actions and objects).

I used to do mostly everything by hand. However, it was my project for Lotte World Mall (a mall in Seoul, South Korea) that tipped the scales over. The project involved a huge (and he really means huge!) outdoor print and some physical objects that required the digital approach.

hedof instalation at Lotte World Mall, Seoul, South Korea
Lotte World Mall, Seoul, South Korea

C: Do you still have trouble saying No to some projects? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done for money?

H: I always have trouble declining projects (he’s in fact crazy busy!). However, before taking a project on, I always ask myself: Is this something fun? Will this help my career? – something that I can put in my portfolio to later make more stuff like it.

(Hedof laughed pensive at the weirdest job question) The weirdest was probably a poster I made for a friend’s Queen’s day party. It had a realistic head on a cartoony body, some box gloves and some knocked out opponents… Oh and a black eye and she was missing a tooth as well!

C: Leave me with your inspirational flavour of the month.

H: I’ve been looking at Cinema 4D stuff, especially something along the lines of El Grand Chamaco’s and Superfiction’s work. Plus, I’d love to create a toy! (remember when I said his studio was filled with’em ?) I also want to explore some line illustration. I’ve been looking at some good illustrators like Xaviera Altena and Rami Niemi.