On less is more, fashion illustrations and police work
He is working full-time as an Operational Expert GGD Juvenile at Police department Zaandam and teacher Safety, law enforcement and supervision at ROC Schagen. His spare time is all about creating the most beautiful fashion illustrations and drawings.
But hold on…a policeman who’s into fashion illustrations? Dick gives me a big smile and chuckles; ,,Surprising right? But it wasn’t in the expectations that I became a policeman either. At an early age I was fascinated by fashion and art. Back then it was like searching for a needle in a haystack, creative jobs where very hard to find and growing up in the countryside (Friesland) didn’t help a lot either. Nowadays, there a so many options in the creative industry”
Being the oldest of two children, his parents rather saw him getting a job and make money. After his military service he got the advice to look for a job in police enforcement. Especially in the bigger cities they good use a guy with his posture and smart brain. Experiencing a not so successful internship, it was all one big blur, Dick got told he had to prove the force to be police worthy and that was the kick in the butt he needed. He got stationed in Amsterdam and his career made a jumpstart. ,,I was totally committed and focused on the job, drawing was not one of my priorities then”
‘Cartoons where the trigger to start drawing again’
After a decade of police work in Amsterdam, Dick came back to Alkmaar where he worked the streets before switching to the level of police detective. ,,At that time, I worked with a big group of people and after 9 months of intensively working together I wanted to do something personal and made a cartoon of each person accompanied with a personal story”. It was in the process of making those cartoons that I felt the joy of drawing again and realized how much I missed it!”
He wasted no time, enrolled into an artist collective and followed numerous paint and art lessons. Here he learned all the different techniques and found out what suited him the most. Even other students with less drawing experience than him formed an inspiration. ,,I’m more of a ‘Just do it!’ type of person, I love to create but it doesn’t have to be that detailed and perfect. Let’s say my work has a frayed edge. There I saw people using beautiful techniques and put their endless effort and heart into their detailed work”.
‘’It’s in my nature and in my line of business that I need to make quick decisions. When I make illustrations I don’t feel the urge to work on it for hours and hours. There’s also not enough spare time for that!”
,,While the artist collective didn’t proceed I kept going. My marriage ended at the time and drawing was almost therapeutically in a way. And of course the more you practice the better and quicker you improve”. Currently his girlfriend, an enthusiastic photographer, also encourages him to continue his illustrator work.
Inspiration and role models
Dick leaves the room and returns to show me his sketching books. Some of his role models are well known illustrators like Vargas and René Gruau but also the younger generation like artist Judith van den Hoek are an inspiration. Looking at his work the love for fashion is not one to miss. They could very easy be advertorials for Voque or Harper’s Bazaar! ,,Fashion is my favorite recurring subject” Dick explains while I discover some fashion books in his bookcase. Especially the 40’s and 50’s for their esthetics, is what Dick loves.
At spare moments, nowadays quite rare, he is always sketching and practicing with pencil or crayons and watercolor painting. He doesn’t need a special room for it. ,,This dinner table will do just fine for me”. I mention to him his open personality. ‘’That’s true and I’m always eager to learn something new, for example playing the guitar. But if you ask me what my true passion is, I say drawing and painting is my outlet but teaching is where I want to put my heart in”. A combination of the two just might be his future…?
Till then only his family, close friends and colleagues will know about his unique talent, and I consider myself to be lucky that Dick shared his story with me!
All photos by me