Everybody and everything has a unique role to play in the universe. In every nothing there is a valuable thing. Nothing is for nothing.
Although I started in art school with applied arts and photography as my favorite subjects, my passion for fine arts was not more than a sidetrack for a long time.
I worked with great people like Lidewij Edelkoort in Paris. Li showed me to trust my intuition and make trends. Some years later I met Rattan Chadha and through working with him I learned about branding, plan schedules, meeting deadlines, producing in China and India and the effect of marketing. They provided me with great lessons in the what, how and where of applied arts.
The why quest drove me simultaneously on a more methaphysical path. I studied hypnotherapy, astrology, dreamwork, NLP, shamanism in my free time.
Combining the what, how, where and why lessons proofed to be a good foundation to set up my own business together with Edwin van Wijngaarden who gave me, by providing his commercial skills, the opportunity to create my first own brands Bohemian and Just B.
Designing and producing clothing was not enough for me. So I set up my own concept store in Brussels: Well-being for body, mind and soul. This was the place where I offered people, besides clothing, also herbal teas and tarot readings.
By the end of the 20th century, after years of clothing design, I realized that I must have been responsible for millions of garments and I decided it was time to clean up. I sold my shares in Bohemian and Just B. with the wish to make something more sustainable. Timeless pieces, becoming better while ageing. The opposite of what commerce and the industry required. This resulted in another label: B. YOND; clothes that were made out of recycled garments.
In the year 2000 Li Edelkoort, by then director of the Design Academy, invited me again to join her at the newly set up Masters department for the Design Academy Eindhoven. I accepted and it was a great way to pass on, and share with designers from all over the world, my knowledge about design and well-being so far.
While working with the students on sustainable and social design I found that still very few companies at that time where concerned with sustainable issues. Goods should have a longer lifecycle. It should be made in respect with you and your personal well-being, the well-being of the producers and the well-being of the planet. Simplify. Make more with less. Clean Cotton was born. My next label would not have been there without the sales help of Nanke Bartholomeus.
The more senior I became in the field of commerce and applied arts, the less it spoke to my heart. Just before the turn of the century I found myself spending more and more time with my first love fine art, photography and writing. I traveled a lot visiting artists and artisans in faraway places, working with rudimental materials making soulful objects by hand. Pictures and stories of these trips were published by Hand/Eye magazine and Happinez. Look at my my photo essays and bibliography for more.
After years in the material world making products that sell, I find myself now attracted to NOthingness. I make power tools and installations like the PRESENT during the Marrakech Biennale. Silent products, pictures, places, books and installations just for the sake to soothe the soul.
You don’t have to go anywhere and do anything to be everywhere.