Beyonderground 2015 - Design Festival Hasselt

by Inge Vanhees - June 11, 2015

Beyonderground is an indoor festival in Hasselt that took place at the beginning of May 2015. Although it was hot outside, a lot of creative people gathered to listen to motivational and inspiring colleagues from around the world. These international speakers are active in the fields of graphic design, illustration, typography, fashion and filmmaking.

Here are some of the inspiring designers and artists that spoke at the festival:

The first talk in the ‘Club’ was from Rick Berkelmans, an illustrator from Breda who runs his own design studio, ‘Hedof’. To control his nerves, he started by making some cocktails for the audience and himself. Rick has a unique style that he applies to all of his work so if you contact him for a job you know what illustration style you’ll get. His technique is also interesting. First he makes a line drawing by hand and scans it. On the computer he erases the lines and colours the shapes. He loves to screen print, and uses a colour-layer technique to compose his drawings. For example, he starts to fill in some shapes in yellow, then he fills in all the magenta and then the blue. It’s a fascinating approach to digital illustrations. In this way you can balance everything carefully without any unnecessary colours. Another reference to silk screen is his use of structures. He creates his own textures by scanning objects, like denim, bricks or even sandwiches. He creates every aspect of his illustrations and runs the whole creation process.

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Next up was Studio BamBam. Their talk started 45 minutes late and they rushed through the presentation. Which was a shame, because they have some really interesting projects. Benjamin van Oost is a promising, multidisciplinary designer who seems to have done a lot, despite his young age. He has worked on the decor of some fashion shows from major designers, like Jean Paul Gautier and Hugo Boss. He makes sculptures, graphic design, illustration, interior design, drawing, paper craft, … Doing so many different things and excelling in all of them definitely makes him a designer to watch!

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Louise Mertens is a graphic designer who lives in Antwerp. She is very young but she has already found her unique passion: editing photographs. She uses pictures of women and assembles them with (digital) paint effects. Even though this was the first talk she has ever given, she easily explained her work and her creative process. It’s great to see somebody who is both a graphic designer who makes fantastic work for clients as well as a visual artist who does what she loves.

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We Are All In This Together (WAAITT) is a multidisciplinary design studio located in the centre of Copenhagen. They had an unexpected presentation. They are all graphic designers, but mostly work on videos. They like to discover new things and are very inventive. Most of the time they have to be so creative because they are not trained filmmakers and they only have a shoestring budget. Their ‘making of’ movies may look very DIY, but they are more interesting than the end results. WAAITT collects the materials they need and fiddle them together to achieve a nice looking movie. They could rework the movie and add digital effects, but they choose to work with physical objects and real effects. This is how they create unexpected results. Just like Rick Berkelmans, the guys at WAAITT like to give the whole project their style. For instance, when they made a movie of a building, they recorded noises from the building itself and used them in the sound track.

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Studio AH-HA consists of two women from Lisbon who started their business by making images which represents their style and vision and placing them on their website. Their contemporary style has resulted in some nice projects, but even the most viral of projects don’t pay the rent. Hopefully they can soon find clients that really love their work and are willing to pay for it. Unfortunately, the economy in Portugal, where they’re based, isn’t doing so well at the moment. During their talk, the ladies spoke a lot about how much their friends and people who share their passion mean to them. They use this as an opportunity to collaborate with people from different creative areas.

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Rizon Parein had a troubled youth. He dropped out of school and did a lot of different jobs. From a young age he was really into graffiti, especially typographical work. A couple of years later he was asked to make some flyers for concerts. That is how he found his love for design. A significant job for him was a poster where he made the letters from neon lights. The client was not convinced, but Rizon saw something in it and worked it out on his own. After this project he was reading comments on the typography used for the title of the movie ‘Drive’ and wanted to do something with it. He made a new neon poster, which went viral and is now his most famous (non-client) project. From that point some large companies asked him to make neon posters and other digital 3D-installations. He has also been very influential for other designers. His neon work has popped up all over the internet and he has showed dozens of images for different people who all used the ‘little pin’ – that he introduced – to clean up the wires. Now Rizon makes 3D, real-life objects, that look interesting from every angle. He wants to make every project to look like it could be a real physical installation or object. He definitely succeeds, because sometimes his clients even ask him if they can come and pick up the installation.

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Attending this type of festival to hear speakers like these motivate creatives like me to be more inventive and think outside the box. They show us that passion and dedication does pay off. I’m looking forward to the next edition!


Inge Vanhees

Designer

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