As a creative, I’ve embedded myself in Amsterdam’s art and culture scene, venturing into the underground to uncover gems worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood. This time I’ll shine a spotlight on five artists, including myself, you should keep an eye on when travelling to the Dutch capital.
The first thing you’ll notice about Amsterdam is how free it is.
The Dutch capital is known for its liberal policies and legal weed, yet the city has been hard at work to improve its sin city reputation. Beyond the red-light district, it’s a hub for cultural and artistic expression. Generous subsidies and the influx of young artists have helped create a flourishing – and yet still incredibly untouched – arts scene in the city.
Dialoque is an electro jam band that connects the divides between dance, jazz, funk, and electronic music. With a range of musical talents – think bass, sax, percussions, vocals, and live beats – the sound is a lovely conversation of melodic phrases that blur the lines between genres. The band has a very strong sound yet, when performing live, they let go and invite the crowd to collaborate in an improvisational experience.
What does Amsterdam mean to Dialoque as artists?
“There’s this feeling that things are happening” says Jasper, the band’s beatmaker. “For such a small city, a lot of things are taking place. It means that we can move around (as it is a rather small city) to performances or to make music.”
Cycling around Amsterdam becomes a source of inspiration – while biking, you can enjoy the city more than in a car. Also, the community of electronic musicians and producers isn’t really big, so you get the feeling of knowing everyone and therefore can exchange knowledge and experiences.”
Who’s Trippin Jaguar?
Trippin Jaguar is the alter ego of producer and electronic musician Francesco Robustelli.
Francesco, along with his girlfriend, reached a point of awareness by meditating and taking mushrooms. Out of their trip came an entire new way of making music and, for her, a whole new approach to visual art. His new sound is the result of inner exploration through spiritual enlightenment – an auditory trip and a medicinal journey! She, at the same time, developed a (more) visceral way of drawing that complements the music that now Trippin Jaguar produces.
This feline moves a lot around the globe though, but if you’re lucky you can catch him playing live while you’re in the city.
Merel Corduwener Illustration
This lovely and very talented lady draws humans and their oddities in a very meticulous yet adorable way. Her style is full of smooth curves and bright colors that give life to sportsmen, workers, and animals. Find her work either hanging on the walls of a café, published in a national paper, or as the façade of a concert or festival.
What does Amsterdam mean to her as an artist?
Merel moved to the Dutch cultural capital after having finished her studies at the Academy of Arts in Zwolle. She started working for local magazines, writing and illustrating what was happening in the city. Eventually, local newspapers got in touch and published city-related pieces with her work to illustrate each one. Amsterdam has, for that reason, a special place in her work.
Jip Broeks Photography
Who is Jip?
I got hooked on Jip’s photography when I saw a shoot she did called ‘Gender Neutral,’ which blurred the lines between men and women. No need for words, but please do check out her work.
What does Amsterdam mean to her as an artist?
Amsterdam has served as a source of inspiration for Jip because of the city’s diversity. Amsterdam has a dense and wide variety of cultures and diverse people that inspire her photography. She fancies having a coffee somewhere and watching people as they do what people do. Despite this, she’s thinking about exploring other cities in search of even more diverse sources of creativity.
Who is Lola Villa?
Finally, let me introduce you to the latest and an extremely personal project of mine called Lola Villa.
Lola is a cadence maker who, through the pain of an ex-lover and the intense and enlightening trip of ayahuasca – taken in her home country, Colombia – was able to get closer to both her Latin American roots and a borderless exploration of global sounds.
What does Amsterdam mean to me as an artist?
I always thought of Amsterdam as a big village rather than a city and, in a way, the place does give you the idea of it being small, local, and modest (you can move around cycling and get from one side of the city to the other in a matter of 30mins!), yet, within this little global village, there is a vast amount of creativity being put to work!
Sure, Amsterdam ain’t London, Berlin, or New York; the city has its very own pace of doing things and encountering hypes. And at this speed you find space for new creatives to get things done. I’ve got the feeling that there is so much yet to be made in this city, it gives a lot of space to those starting in their artistic endeavors and so it does to me.
Laura Beltrán Villamizar is a Bogotá born, bred in Florida, The Hague, Buenos Aires, Brussels and Berlin. An epicurean traveller and photographer – she also romanticises cities and coffee way out of proportion. Life brought her to Amsterdam, where she currently lives and works. She loves slow travel, slow food and slow journalism and can also have a cup of freshly brewed coffee at any time, any. She can eat her weight in avocados and loves music, nearly all sorts. She embraces dancing, and playing and DJ’ing, adoring beats and drums and hips being shaken.