Every big city has their own street art / art champions. Team Blazin in our opinion is the new generation of champions in Amsterdam. Other than being from our hometown, we were introduced to him on the streets. Indeed, very reminiscent of calligraphy champion Shoe, Daan's Team Blazin vision has been growing a lot recently. After being introduced to the clothing brand and the bigger body of his work, we felt a very big urge to ask him for an interview to find out whatsgood. He was nice enough to take some time out for us as well as make a special whatsgood. piece for us:
A former Dutch snowboarding champion, turned into street artist / calligrapher! Wow. Tell us about the moment that you decided to focus on your art? Why and when it happened,and how it all plays a role (if it does) in your work?
I think it played a big role for me and started at a young age. At the age of 10, I was totally in love with graffiti and skateboarding; the tricks, the scene, the decks, the art, the lifestyle and everything involved. Especially the art/movement/passion which made this scene what it is today. At one point I started snowboarding while I needed to be in school, but listen to this; Holland is flat! So I took part in competitions, in the mountains of Europe with the support of my family and sponsors - to be able to do what I like. When you drop into a halfpipe it's your art in the air, and your skill to land it, same for skateboarding or music, its art to me. It all comes from the heart and the creative look you have on ’things’. After my snowboarding experience I had several jobs and I started to organize my own parties called BlazinBeats - making flyers in photoshop, shirts, stickers and all that comes with promotion. That's how I started doing graphic design while still living with my parents.
It’s clear from your style of work, as well as previous interviews you’ve done, that Dutch calligraphy champion SHOE played a big role in your development. Our understanding is that you’re self-taught – How do you go about from wanting to become a calligrapher to teaching yourself to do it? Tell us about the first few years?
Well, I never planned or wanted to become a calligrapher… It started about 6 years ago when I got bored of sketching graffiti or tags on paper, while working on my graphic design work. It was an escape from digital to analog. For Christmas my dad gave me the book CALLIGRAFFITI by SHOE… I still love it! The first years I was writing with Edding markers and just ‘tagging’ calligraphy styled letters, or trying to figure out how it all works, the techniques and different approaches to words. After two years I was still infected and searching for other materials and new ways. Around this time I was already hooked to ‘calligraffiti’ and I started posting pictures of my lettering. With the feedback I received, I got myself a new full-time hobby and realized that this part of my career was a new chapter. I didn’t wake up one day being/feeling/saying Im a ‘calligraphy’ artist… this grew a sort of way to what I do today, and Im still learning.
You’re obviously open to doing custom lettering for anyone that’s interested – what’s the coolest project you’ve done to date? A project or piece of work that really reinforced your love for your work? Give us the background of the work?
Tough question! But all work done so far for clients I really liked doing, if it’s a big mural or just a logotype, I love it all. Most people want a logo from my hand, and it feels pretty good when the client is happy with the end result. But most recently I started doing workshops for StreetArtMuseumAmsterdam.com This is also really fun to do, teaching kids at school how you can go about with lettering. These days… all kids do is app and sit behind computers or games instead of paying attention to handwriting, but hey, it’s 2016 you know! Most of the kids are blown away btw. And this is priceless…
You recently made the step to develop your own brand. A brand which sells clothing and designs that you produce. That’s an admirable step, one that’s often made my artists – explain why this step was made? And also what the TB. brand stands for? What’s the message behind the brand that you’re creating?
The brand stands for a never ending movement, like all. But ‘Team Blazin’ is a vision that I have to create ‘Mainville’ in my hometown. Mainville is a totally different story but basically it is an area with impulses for kids (or grown ups, what ever that means) to catch that vibe what caught me when I was a kid/youngster/grown up. And it’s for the community. In the end I hope it will be a real platform for a certain life style in this community. Back to the brand, I call it Team Blazin because it’s not just me behind this brand. Sure, I do the lettering, some ideas, but I have so much support from friends and family who believe in what I do. Much love for these peeps!
Like what you see? Want to know more? Team Blazin's work is as of recently available at Go Gallery (Amsterdam). Otherwise you can order some of his beautiful canvas' on his website here - where you can also purchase a few apparel items.