10 Most Promising Students of Dutch Art Schools Class of 2017

Siobhan BurgerNews

Arttenders is always on the lookout for new talents in the arts. One of the obvious ways to find them is by visiting the annual graduation shows from different art schools in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to visit them all, but this year we peeped at Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (HKU), Royal Academy of Art (KAKB, Den Haag), Willem de Kooning Academy (WdKA, Rotterdam), and Gerrit Rietveld Academy (Amsterdam). We were pleasantly surprised by most of them, only the Rietveld disappointed on all disciplines, especially after last year’s amazing show.

Since we are specifically looking for talents that we can collaborate with in applied art projects we have a slightly different approach when it comes to scouting new talents in comparison to most other ‘scouts’: We tend to look at the durability of the materialization, the common denominator in the work, the mind-is-blown factor, the feasibility of the execution within certain time limits, new takes on proven methods and the versatility of the artist within his or her signature. Not all disciplines fit our objectives, but that does not necessarily mean that they don’t have potential, it is just that they are no match for our Arttenders type of projects.

We do like to share what our most memorable finds were during our visits to the schools. Hereby 10 promising artists of the class of 2017 that inspired us the most:

10. Iiris Sointu | The Language of Rage (2017)

Willem de Kooning Academy | Fine Arts


Image by Arttenders

We love the size, materialization and bold color of this giant red lacquer plastic object. It has something eerie about it, looking like a huge organ or alien like creature. Due to its shiny finish it has a comforting esthetic that gives us a luxurious feel. We could imagine Liris’s (28) work would add on after the legacy from household names such as artists Atelier van Lieshout and Arne Quinze. The depiction of rage is very well executed, there is a tense feeling that communicates directly to the audience and its surroundings.

9. Jan Kees van Kampen | Lingua Franca (2017)

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague | Art Science, MA


Image credits: Jan Kees van Kampen

A very intriguing sound and water installation in the outskirts of the building attracted our attention. The movement of the water drips and the hypnotizing sounds from the speakers created a poem-like oasis for reflection. A mesmerizing experience even though de complexity and magnitude of the different elements were hard to comprehend for us simple art viewers. With some extra information from the artist himself and an additional stroboscope sideshow to visually delay the water falling down in complicated patterns. We saw great potential for future fountains in public indoor spaces such as stations and lobby’s where passers-by could experience their few minutes of peace and calmness before rushing to their destination.

8. Andreas Sahl Andersen | Everything at the Same Time

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague | Art Science, MA


Image by Arttenders

We love KABK for their great spaces. Via a small corridor we found the work of Andreas in a dimly lit wide space. Placed in the middle was this drum kit/ festival setup like installation, producing hypnotizing sounds. The lighting, materialization and choice of space added to the experience that seemed like an intimate concert for one. The ingenuity of all the separate elements working as one instrument worked very intriguing together with the stage lights and soundscape. All elements had a clear function to provide an immersive experience, we love it when all elements are tailored so carefully that you can see the work and love of the artist for the installation shine through.

7. Babs Bleeker

Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht | Fine Arts


Image by Arttenders

The abstract graphic paintings in black and white attracted us immediately because of the depth and boldness of them. The size and changing perspectives in the different paintings make them feel dynamic. Further along we also find more colorful work by Babs and are very much intrigued by her already loud and clear autograph in her imagery and use of colors. Her paintings stand out amongst her fellow students works, we can’t wait to see where this career will lead to.

6. Sanne Weekers | Terra (2017)

Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht | Product Design


Image credits: Sanne Weekers

Flora placed on pedestals just as nature should be viewed by its inhabitants. Sanne places plants in their own unique glass houses that seem to grow just as organically as plants do. The wooden framework gives the socket that fits a modern perspective on Art Deco. Since the recent flora lover hipsters of the world adapted plants invested air space, they’ve been watched carefully by architects and property owners. Hopefully Sanne’s take on this trend will take over the world, since her plant embracing sculptures add that unique identity and bring a moment of reflection to contemporary interiors. Big fans here.

5. Johnny Theodorus Wiekhart

Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht | Fine Arts


Image credits: Niek Hendrix

Wondering if the artist used Anish Kapoor’s blackest black. The black round objects glisten towards you whilst moving in opposite circles of each other. It hypnotizes us and lures us towards the installation. The simple language of the objects and color add to its mystery, to reinvent new imagery in these basic ingredients is a skill that will be of great asset to the artist. Would have loved to read more about the work, but unfortunately there is not much to find on the web. We’ll try to keep track of Wiekhart’s next steps.

4. Folkert Koelewijn | Paarse krokodillen bestaan niet (Purple crocodiles do not exist)

Willem de Kooning Academy | Photography

Image credits: Folkert Koelewijn

Folkert (25) really has an expert eye for finding grotesque, cliché driven Disney themed children’s parties and capturing their bare essence of lack of imagination and taste. The sheer abundance of screaming colors, plastics and popular iconography result in a remarkable collection of hysterical eye-candy that in a weird way reclaim their esthetics. There is something wildly attractive to them but you can also detect the emptiness of forced happiness and celebration. We predict him to be our Dutch, melancholic David LaChapelle.

3. Werner Konings | Poise (2017)

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague | Fine Arts


Image credits: Werner Konings

What caught our eye was the minimalistic imagery of the objects and its demand for attention. The solid, masculine materialization and the lightness of the shapes intrigued us, it looked like a welcome translation of the decades of dictated modernism to a more playful future for minimalistic statues in public spaces. The very much hated (by us) obligatory vast shapes of metal placed on roundabouts throughout the world are done, we long for the days of Werner’s take over with his playful and light approach of intriguing art objects.

2. Mattia Papp | L’arco e la Lancia

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague | Fine Arts


Image by Arttenders

Wow, we love this project so much! The modern icons are amazing, full of references and imagery to old masters and art historical segments of time. So much to see, the subtle digital animated movement on the canvas makes it a contemporary twist on ancient iconography. The vibrancy of the intense color pallet adds on to the monumental feel of the works. You can feel Papp’s Italian roots oozing through the renaissance and baroque references depicted on 2.0 canvas a.k.a. digital paintings. We’ll definitely keep track of his career.

1. Funs Janssen | De Laan – De Cavalier

Willem de Kooning Academy | Illustration (Social)

Image by Arttenders

We Love, love, love this! stained glass in a less expensive material, but still durable and sustainable! The potential of this material usage is huge and hopefully Funs is able to scale up his production, because we expect big things to happen. Besides his excellent choice for materialization (PU/wood) we also love his illustrations. His idea to put normal people on a pedestal by depicting them in a monumental, but still contemporary way is very appealing to our sort of clients. We expect a collab with this artist in the nearby future. Keep up the good work Funs!