Instagram: @creepcaptain
Twitter: @sleepcaptain
Website: www.zoevandijk.com


1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I am a tall and loud human and illustrator originally from the woods in Grass Valley, California, a very small very liberal very folksy gold mining town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Since then I’ve lived in Washington and Missouri but at the moment I reside in Brooklyn, NY with my partner and dog. I mostly focus on editorial and publishing illustration but sometimes I also do really weird projects like fake book covers for comedy show sketches.


2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I like pleasing shapes, patterns, heavy shadow and light play, visual puns, grainy textures and iconic compositions.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Ink all the way. Other than the fact that I’m extremely indecisive and have a hard time deciding on colors at the beginning of an image, value structure has always been the bedrock of my visual vocabulary and was a very big part of my education as an artist. Ink is incredibly versatile, allows for building up of layers without loss of any information, and can also add an organic and unpredictable element to painting. There is nothing I love more than watching an ink blot spread across wet paper.

4. What is your artistic process like?

I like making lists and really spending some time thinking about a visual problem without any drawing first, just to make sure I understand the core ideas and overall theme. I do a lot of conceptual portraiture, so for me it’s research, learning about the subject, studying photos to understand their posture and how they talk with their hands, etc. Then I usually try to extrapolate thumbnails from my word lists and research. From there it’s pretty standard: sketches, value studies, painting, scanning, and then digital painting under and on top of my traditional work.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi as a kid…like…………a lot. And I still do. I’m definitely always trying to find and emphasize magical realism in my own work, however mundane the subject. Obviously all my contemporary peers in illustration influence me as well. Some people try not to look at other work so it doesn’t influence their own but I go for the blitzkrieg approach, which is just to say I am constantly consuming all the time. In addition to current illustration, I look at video games, anime, Mucha, Klimt, John Singer Sargent, Sorolla, early 20th century printmaking and German Romantic era painters for inspiration.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

My mom is an illustrator and a painter and my brother is a studio musician so in many ways art in various forms has always been very integrated in my day-to-day life. I suppose I’m not sure how else to live or view the world because I don’t know anything else.


7. Where did you study?

I finished my BFA in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts but I also spent time at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Gage Atelier in Seattle, WA.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?

Ideally still doing what I am right now. I would like to start branching out my knowledge into coding, animation and motion graphics because as we all know The Future Is a Gif.

9. What about in ten?

I’m pretty much planning on uploading my consciousness to the internet, abandoning my earthly vessel and existing as consciousness made entirely of WiFi as soon as that technology is available. I’m not sure if we’re 10 years out from that yet.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

Escapism, both for myself and my viewers.


11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

Butter. Only God can judge me. And I’m an atheist, so, actually…no one can.

12. Favourite book?

Oh that’s so hard. I have a lot of favorites but there are some books that blew my mind and I will never forget.
Highbrow: “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy
Lowbrow: “Snowcrash” by Neil Stephenson
Nobrow: “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by Mary Roach

13. Favourite genre of music?

Disco. Yes, I like Disco and Butter. I am a real person. (I also like all the other genres, but FAVORITE? disco.)

14. What are your hobbies?

Quilting, watching movies, reading, Googling how tall Tom Cruise is (he’s taller than you think!)

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

A forest ranger, which is the degree I pursued for a moment between art schools and then I was like, “lol jk gotta go draw brb”.