About: a portrait series about Base people’s side-projects, hobbies or crazy obsessions.
This month: Sander Vermeulen

B: What is your role at Base?
Sander Vermeulen: Iʼve been a creative director of BaseBRU for one year now. I started at Base three years ago as a designer, then became a design director. Before, I was a freelancer for 18 years but I needed new challenges, to meet new clients. I wanted to be part of a team because Iʼve figured out that this way of working is more interesting and productive to obtain better results.

B: What is your passion outside Base?
S: I really love to create, renovate our house, build furniture, paint… To start form zero and piece by piece, step by step, see a project growing. Doing nothing really bores me.
As a former illustrator, I still enjoy drawing and painting a lot. My aim is to fill up my living room with a variety of medias and styles (photographs, drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures). I imagine what I would like to see in it and then I paint it. I’m prepared to make hundreds of attempts until I obtain the one image I like.

Gerhard Richterʼs exhibition in Centre Pompidou impressed me so much that Iʼve decided to start painting abstract pictures. In the past, I illustrated mostly in a figurative way, so it’s a huge change for me to go abstract. My father is an illustrator as well, his work and way of thinking influenced my work a lot. Now I’m trying different things, things I wouldn’t have done before. I try to tell stories in an abstract way, with color and texture. Quite liberating.


B: What inspires you?
S: My inspiration is very scattered, the world is full of inspiring things.  I like plenty of artists but I’d rather focus on one specific piece – a painting, a sculpture – than on an artist’s whole œuvre. I like Ari Marcopoulos, David Hockney, James Ensor, Raymond Pittebon, Roy Arden and Taryn Simon’s work. But my inspiration also comes from blogs where you can discover fascinating things. And of course, as a designer I love books!


B: What are you the most proud of?
S: My perseverance. I keep on working until I’m truly satisfied with the result. There are different phases while you judge your own work. First you feeI a satisfaction, even a sort of euphoria, but after a good night sleep you sometimes realize it’s crap. Therefore, I would recommend to stick your work on a wall and take a few steps back. Also, I almost never throw my paintings away. As there is no need for immediate results, you can just allow yourself to spend exactly the time you want and set it aside for months and rework it later. At Base, I particulary like what we did for Haus der Kunst, Dandoy, Rives de Saône, Art Collection Fund…

B: What do you like in these projects?
S: For Haus der Kunst, I think that the concept is a good translation of the vision and DNA of the museum. We challenged the usual communication methods of a cultural institution by using a baseline. “Stretch your View”, which is an inspiring promise aimed at a broad audience. We managed to reach art experts ànd young children at the same time. All Haus der Kunst applications are a translation of this concept.

B: How does your outside passion feed your work at base?

S: In the real world, there is no «CTRL+Z». When you paint, every stroke leaves a trace. On the one hand, it makes you think twice before acting but on the other hand, abstract paintings need to be spontaneous. It’s great to get into a «concentration bubble», to work extremely focused but still listen to your gut feeling. I like going back and forth between the emotional and the rational.

At Base, it allows me to take a step back from what Iʼm doing, stand up and look at what I produced. People here used to make fun of me but i still think itʼs important to stop, to print, stick it on a wall, and take 3 steps back and take the time to look. When I make a logo, I love to sketch it first and then rework it. I like it «old school» style.


B: Whatʼs Baseʼs input in your own projects?
S: Working in a creative team with a lot of personalities and their own universe and references feeds mine.