Artist Profile: Don Drawings
Meet Alewijn Don, also known as Don Drawings, an Amsterdam-born autodidact artist and conceptual designer with a background in Art History and History. He has developed a profound passion for the constructivist movements of the early 20th century, a source of clear inspiration for his artistic style. His work seamlessly incorporates elements from Suprematism, De Stijl, Cubism, and Bauhaus.
He is also the local artist bringing character and personality to our flagship Bob - Bob W Amsterdam Noord, creating over 200 pieces of art that bring in the local Noord neighbourhood, ready for you to enjoy.
Amsterdam is known for its rich cultural scene. Are there any hidden or lesser-known art galleries, studios, or creative spaces that you personally enjoy and find inspiring?
If you are in the very core of the city near Dam square or ‘De negen straatjes’ go to gallery OODE. This is one of the places where I started showcasing my work years ago. So good memories for me. The gallery is very welcoming, unlike many of the white walled fortresses you normally see when it comes to modern art. OODE is also not your typical gallery since they bring the work of young Dutch designers together with orphaned art, this is art from closed museums and art institutions. This way they create an awareness about Dutch cultural inheritance by giving them a ‘new life’.
Another good example of a welcoming art gallery is NO MAN'S ART GALLERY in the western part of the city. They host several exhibitions each year to help young artists in the early stages of their careers. A nice touch of this gallery, is the fact that they have their own bar, which is open daily for drinks and bites to eat. If you have seen enough Rembrandt’s at the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh’s at the Van Gogh Museum or Mondriaan’s at the Stedelijk Museum go and explore these galleries and many more that Amsterdam has to offer.
As a local artist, you likely have some favourite spots for seeking creative inspiration. Where do you head to when you need to be inspired?
Simple, I go to ADE or Dekmantel festival. Both happen just once every year but if you visit during that time (First weekend of August or October) you should go there, period! They both offer the best of the best in the electronical music scene. For me these events are a perfect way to clear my head. And a cleared head, means I am free to be creative. A clear mind is the perfect ‘tabula rasa’, a starting point from which I’m open to come up with new ideas! Go visit these events and you’ll know what I mean! You will come back for these festivals time and time again, no doubt!
What is your favourite Amsterdam neighbourhood and what makes this so special?
De Plantagebuurt is my favourite area. I was born here, and lived here for several periods in my life. It offers great architecture, quality bars and restaurants (some of them haven’t changed for over 40 years, which is longer than I’ve been alive), splendid parks, lots of things to discover and see and simply a relaxed vibe. This area is my home, even though I don’t live there anymore. It is both chic and adventurous, quiet and alive, and it has a very rich cultural history from the 16th century until now. Go visit this area!
Exploring the local culture can greatly enrich the artistic perspective. Are there any festivals, events, or community gatherings in Amsterdam that you believe offer valuable insights into the city's creative spirit?
Well, I told you about the electronic music and festival scene in the Amsterdam, a huge source of inspiration to lots of people here. But I would say the broad variety of cultural options is the main source of inspiration for the people living in or visiting Amsterdam. You could visit classical concerts at the Concertgebouw, which is famous for its unparalleled acoustic and diverse selection. You could visit theatre plays in the heart of the city in Delamar theatre, Bellevue or the majestic Carré, alongside the Amstel River. The gastronomic scene in Amsterdam really improved over the past years, apart from great restaurants there are some lovely food festivals as well. Go visit De Rollende Keukens if you are visiting Amsterdam in May for instance. If you visit in August, you could attend the gay Parade in the heart of the city. I could go on and on. All because Amsterdam is a tolerant, vibrant, culturally layered city with a huge historical awareness. There is something for everyone!
Could you recommend a unique or off-the-beaten-path place that visitors might not find in typical travel guides but is something not to be missed, an authentic experience of Amsterdam's local life?
There are some off the beaten track things I already mentioned earlier. But let’s focus on the interior for this question. My love for interior design is directly linked to the graphic elements in my own body of work. So, I love to stop by home interior stores throughout the entire city. If you’re in the city centre, you should try to visit ‘Enter the Loft’. This is a web shop, but they have the most amazing loft where they host viewings once a month. Visit their website and you’ll get a glimpse of this wonderful interior. Another treasure is Casa Gitane, which is not that far away from the Loft. This is also a remarkable interior store full with unique finds. If you don’t intend to buy anything, it doesn’t matter. Both shops are a lust for the eye, so you’ll leave inspired.
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