Interview with Open Call winner Floor Milou Smit

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Making a mural on the Wallspot in May and creating an actual Blind Wall in July: things went fast for Floor Milou Smit, who applied for our Open Call. Together, we take a look back on this adventure. 

How did you experience these last months?
“Good! It all went smoothly. Two weeks after the painting weekend at the Wallspot I received the briefing for the mural at the Mertersempark and a month later I was standing there with a brush in my hand. I like being handed a piece of local history and having the freedom to create a design in my own way.” 

Can you tell us more about the Blind Wall you created?
“I like to depict fruits, vegetables and flowers, kind of like contemporary still life. From the history of Sint-Maarten and the holiday named after him, I found out that lanterns used to be made from hollowed out beets and tubers. 

I have fond memories of the paper lanterns I made as a child during Sint-Maarten. When I discussed this with project manager Stein, it turned out that there used to be a sugar factory situated in Breda. Sugar beets were processed there and sometimes fell out of the wagons during transport.” 

How did you get to work?
“I started putting all my ideas on paper in the form of quick sketches. I played with the shapes by repeating, turning and stretching them. Looking at which ideas and shapes appealed to me the most, what references I could make to the history and what would fit well into the environment. Then I switched to digital drawing, using a photo of the wall as a background. This way I can keep a good view of the wall’s characteristics and the connection of the design to its immediate surroundings.” 

You have already created several murals, what do you like about this art form?
“What I think I like most about murals is that they are always linked to a place. The location, history and the size of the wall are the frameworks I can work within.  It’s these frameworks that, in my experience, are very conducive to creativity. I also find it very satisfying to work on such a large scale.” 

Is it difficult to work on such a large canvas?
“The biggest challenge was to make the lines run neatly across the deep joints of the brick wall. That took a lot more time than I expected. Fortunately, there were a number of people who helped me.” 

You spent five days in Breda, what was that like?
“It was super fun to get to know Breda better and to experience the daily life in the city. In the (then closed) Mertersempark, I had a lot of time to concentrate on work, and also talk to residents about the history and renovation of the park. Without this assignment, I probably would never have spent so much time there, but now I did! I loved experiencing something outside of my familiar bubble.” 

Next year, you will be part of the Open Call jury yourself, do you have an idea what you’ll be looking for?
“I’ve never judged anything as a jury before and have no idea exactly how I’ll go about it, but I trust my experience and intuition, and thankfully I won’t be the only judge there.” 

What does the rest of the year look like for you?
“I’m going to continue making murals and illustrations, and I also do tattooing. I would like to start painting more autonomously on canvas, hopefully I’ll have more time for that during Autumn.” 

Read here more about the Blind Wall Floor made and watch the making of video. 

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