Do you aspire a creative study abroad?
Almost four years ago, Louisa left her hometown Heidelberg, Germany to study Graphic Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy. We asked her to share her story.
Why did you choose the art academy-life?
After high school, I really wanted to study something creative but I wasn’t sure what exactly. I started studying Art History and Philosophy in my hometown, but after three months I had realized that was not for me. I just wanted to do my own thing and not just learn about the creations of others. I needed to create stuff myself and so I chose to apply for an art school in the Netherlands.
Well, going back to my hometown was no option for me because I really liked the idea of starting fresh in another city. The option of studying at an art school in Germany was quickly off the table, considering they don’t pay real close attention to the human behind the work there compared to certain academies elsewhere. I didn’t get in immediately though, since I hadn’t exactly built a portfolio yet. I followed a preparation course in Amsterdam for a year and applied once more and got accepted at the Willem de Kooning Academy.
That’s great! And why did you decide to go to the WdKA?
I really wanted to be in a school system where I could level with the teacher. I didn’t want to be seen as simply a number that needs to follow strict rules. At the WdKA, teachers see you as an equal designer. You don’t experience boundaries between the tutors and students. The teacher has to know you, to be able to help you. If everyone needs to do the same thing, in the exact same way, it is likely not going to work because everyone is different.
So, that was your main requirement, or were there other factors that played role?
The vibe during the Open Day was great and I could actually see myself having a life there. But for me, it was also about Rotterdam, the city. At the time I was living in Amsterdam but I was tired of that fake touristy-thing that’s going on there. Rotterdam, to me, felt more authentic and real. It is constantly changing and is never finished. People have this nice attitude and mind-set: ‘what can we do more?’ In a city like this you can actually be a part of it. You can be a part of making it great.
In a city like this you can actually be a part of it. You can be a part of making it great.
Do you feel like being here has changed you?
Yes, I think Rotterdam did change me a lot. Just because of people being so real and true to their selves. I feel like I don’t need to pretend or behave in a certain way - I can just be myself. As for the academy, they encourage us to find out who we are and make that work. We spend a lot of time figuring out how to be more true to self and I believe that is really valuable. In the beginning you have al l these ideas and stuff but you don’t really know where to put it all or if there’s even a space for that. And then there is this academy with a lot of possibilities and things that you didn’t know were possible. I am constantly thinking ‘oh, I could this, or do that!’ This makes me a lot more hopeful about the future.
Let’s talk about inspiration: where do you get it from?
I don’t force myself to look for something. I wouldn’t go on Pinterest and try to find inspiration. The things in real life intrigue me and my projects are mostly inspired by them. It can be anything. For example, I live close to two sex-clubs and seeing the closed doors of that building has always fascinated me, so I decided to make a project out of that. You can take your fascination and turn it into something that triggers people to think about it and start a conversation.
Will you share your favourite spots with us?
I really like Rotown, it is one of my favourite spots because although it is kind of small, they do organise concerts. I like it when there are songs that I can sing along to. Also, I like Witte de With street a lot. There is this nice vibe from all the people on the streets, especially at night when it is so lively. The Boijmans Museum is one of my favourites, and as a WdKA student I can get in for free. So, when there is a new exhibition I kind of live there.
Do you see your future in this city?
When I first came here, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to stay after the four years because I like living in different places. But now I start to doubt whether I actually want to leave or stay for a bit longer, to build something up first before I move on. For my internship in February I would like to go abroad, to Japan. That would be great. The culture is so different. Going to the other side of the world and seeing totally different visual cultures is something that attracts me.