Banana in shoe with butterflies: Tray for Arttenders by Xaviera Altena


Arttenders loves giving gifts and this beautiful tray by Xaviera Altena (pictured below) is one of them. We have a stack of these in our offices as a cute giveaway for everyone we work with.

We talked to illustrator Xaviera Altena, the designer of this banana in a shoe with butterflies. Xaviera loves to create her own colorful world, much like Arttenders does. Read our interview with her below!

Photo credit: Xaviera Altena

Interview with Xaviera

Xaviera Altena is an illustrator from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She creates colorful, ’90’s pop-culture inspired illustrations and has loyal fans on Instagram. Our own intern Giuditta Giorcelli talked to her in her own studio:

“My passion for drawing started with comics”

“I grew up in Rotterdam, in a very diverse, multicultural and rough neighborhood. Meanwhile, I also had a protected childhood. My parents were both teachers and they taught me to observe and take it all in, but not with too much seriousness. That shaped my whole identity, of being in a really safe place and learning to observe: to look at people, to see what they do, to take in their manners and behaviors.”

“My family and I lived in Rotterdam-West and there were regular gun shootings outside. I spent a lot of time inside the house to draw, from a really young age. Meanwhile, I also loved reading comics. My dad is a collector, so we have a lot in the house. I’ve read all of them, also the more ‘adult comics’, even when I was really young. My passion for drawing started with comics and children’s books.”

“As an artist, I want to show the fun, almost comic-art beauty style of women. I like to draw their hobbies, the things they’re interested in. I think I want to be like the women in my drawings a bit because they are cool and powerful girls with pink hair. It is an artistic reflection of how I’d like to be and also how I want the world to look, with people not afraid to show their colors.”

“The truth is, I’m actually a bit of a bitter person. People don’t expect it from my illustrations, because they’re so colorful. It’s a bit of an outlet. I can get pretty sad when I see the world around me, so making it extremely colorful is also a bit of an escape.”

Image credit: Xaviera Altena

Faye and Siobhan from Arttenders are definitely people who are not afraid to show their color, so that’s where Xaviera found the inspiration for her tray design: “They always wear high heels, they love pink and glitter. That why I decided to make a high heel. Also, they are a little masculine in their way of doing business, so that’s what symbolizes the banana. The butterflies are an extra touch of femininity. It’s a symbolic representation of Arttenders and of two badass business owners.

Banana in shoe with butterflies

When the boxes with trays arrived, they simply said ‘banana in shoe with butterflies’. Xaviera never thinks of a title for her work: “I just draw and give it to the client. Most of my works are in magazines or are used for commercial things, so I don’t really have to give them a title. I really like ‘banana in a shoe with butterflies’, I mean why not, it is what it is.

On a certain level, Xaviera Altena and Arttenders have a lot in common. “We have a really good click I think as ‘female entrepreneurs’ or how you want to call it: we want to put the beauty of femininity in everything, to make the world more colorful and more fun and I think we share some pop vibes as well. I think we have the same taste, the same aesthetic.”

Image credit: Xaviera Altena

Arttenders connects business with art: two worlds that used to be seen as opposite. But through a very slow process of change, they’re not considered opposites anymore. We asked Xaviera about her thoughts on this: “It is definitely a trend that businesses want to be more authentic and realize that they need to have a story for their brand. At the same time, there is an entrepreneurial vibe going around the artist world, where people realize that they can never fully grow as an artist as long as they hold on to that extra job for their income. This is why I think these worlds are coming a bit more together.”

“The more people see it, the cooler it is”

We asked Xaviera if she sees herself as an entrepreneur: “Yes, but I see myself unconsciously an entrepreneur, not super consciously like I want to be one. Drawing was what I really wanted to do. Secretly, your passion will always try to get ahead of you and it always pops up. Like, when you feel unhappy at a job somewhere and you fantasize about what you want to do the most. Well, for me it was always drawing.

Lastly, we were interested to know what a dream project would be for Xaviera: “It would be really cool to do the cover art of a cool music artist because then everyone would see it and you’d be related to that music too. Or I’d like to do a very big mural. The more people see it, the cooler it is.”