Instagram: @wereoutofoffice Website: www.weareoutofoffice.nl
1. What's your story? Where are you from?We are Winneke & Felix and we work under the name ‘We are out of office’. We live and work from our house which is part of an artist accommodation in the middle of a cherry orchard near Utrecht, The Netherlands. We both studied Graphic Design at the School of the Arts Utrecht (HKU) but after graduating we both felt we needed to do something else and decided to start making work and sell that instead of the other way around. We came up with our name during the first project we did together. We went to New York for a couple of months to design in exchange for food and goods. This was a reaction to the lack of jobs for graphic designers at the time. We want to show people you can do things your own way. This made us decide to move to the city where its the most difficult to make some money and start making a barter based living (which of course didn’t really worked out that way).
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.Our aesthetics is really a mix from both our ways of working. Felix doesn’t have patience and works fast and bold and Winneke is a bit neater and is really into patterns. And we both are really fond of fresh and bold colors. We think the work we make should be cheerful. The fun thing is that the work we make separately is way different from the work we make together. We think that’s what makes it so interesting for us to work together.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?We don’t really use one medium. We paint, we cut, we tear, we draw, we print etc. Most of our work ends up being screen printed or riso printed. We have an own screen print and riso area in our studio which gives us a lot of control. Sometimes we make 5 prints of the same design with different color schemes before we pick the best one and print that one in edition. We’re really font of these printing techniques as we can use so many (bright) colors and even mix them ourselves.
4. What is your artistic process like?Most of the time we work on a couple of designs at the same time. We like to make series of prints with the same theme and format. This allows us to make a lot of stuff and shuffle it from ‘artboard’ to artboard’. This is also the reason why some patterns and shapes keep on coming back. We are really bad (and also to impatience) in sketching. So we talk through what we want to make and start trying some things. Drawing and cutting forms, make some patters, shuffle the whole lot a bit around until it gets the feeling we are looking for. Then we just repeat the whole proces with bigger numbers until we get a couple of designs we like as we print them mostly a couple at once.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?For inspiration we try to travel as much as we can. We collect all sorts of weird stuff from around the world. Product packaging, small toys, weird fruits, Asian color schemes etc. All this things are a big inspiration in our work and you can find a lot of these things in our designs. Besides the traveling we really interested in product and packaging design. Ceramics, chairs, toys, stuff like that. We think the work we make is a way to deal with the fact that we can not make all these things in real life ourselves. Besides artistic inspiration we are also a small business and we like to watch and think about how other people manage their business. That way we can apply some of the things we learn on our own business.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?Art plays a big role in our life. It’s what we do for living. We wake up thinking about it and go to bed still thinking about it. We try to collect art from other artist too, paintings, products etc. We like nice things and we like our house to be filled with them. We think it affected our way of seeing the world. If we look around we are always looking for things we can use in our work. We’re more focussed we think.
7. Where did you study?We both studied Graphic Design at the School of the Arts Utrecht. (Which is Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, HKU, in Dutch)
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?No. We really don’t see ourselves working in a agency. We like this way of working. Creating own projects. Be our own boss. Start working at when ever, stop working at when ever. Work in our sweat pants, take time of during lunch for a swim in the summer. Leave 2 months for traveling. We are way to happy with this freedom. What we do see (we hope) in five years is to do some commissioned jobs where we will be asked because of what we do, because our style and way of working. We would love to create patterns for clothing, design a rug, a pair of sock, do huge murals, things like that. Before we didn’t really want to do that sort of work because we weren’t ready yet. And now we are… We think.
9. What about in ten?Same, we hope we will still do projects which are exciting. We hope we still be improving by then, still having fun. It would be terrible if the things we do get boring. And 5 months of traveling a year would be great. We also want to live in New York for at least a year and in Sydney or Melbourne.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?It sounds a bit lame but we just want to make nice things which make people happy if they look at them. We want to show people how we look at the thing around us, make them aware there are still some pretty things around.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?We try to eat healthy most of the time but we are both really really really into eating burgers.
12. Favourite book?That’s a hard one. We both read quite a lot. Both into Scandinavian thrillers. Travel books make us happy as that means we go away soon while reading. At the time of writing this Winneke is reading ‘Judas’ a book about Willem Holleeder, he is one of the people who kidnapped Alfred Heineken (yes the beer Heineken). And Felix is reading ‘De ontvoering van Alfred Heineken’ which is actually about the kidnapping of Alfred Heineken. And Felix is a real big Harry Potter fan.
13. Favourite genre of music?From hiphop to punk to sing&songwriter to indie to new wave, you name it. At the moment we Listing to Parquet Courts Quite a lot
14. What are your hobbies?We have a kitchen garden which we like quite a lot. Empties the head and put (free) food on the table. We like to travel, meet up with friend, watch series, watch terrible television shows (the really bad ones) and we both really like thrifting. Besides that, Felix is brewing beers and loves surfing. Winneke started with throwing pots a few months ago.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?Product designers, which was not really the questions. So Felix would be doing something with wood or a car (oldtimer) mechanic. Winneke would be a pathologist or a chemist.