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Rop van Mierlo wasn’t the easiest student at the Design Academy Eindhoven.  Under Anthon Beeke in the Man and Communications department he was protective of his ideas and rarely comfortable talking through his process in detail.  “They got irritated with me,” Van Mierlo says, “because I never said much and preferred to just show up with work.”

Given his affinity with art, Van Mierlo spent most of his time in the academy workshops and Compass programs, which are designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to flourish in their chosen speciality. 

“There was a strong focus on drawing,” he says. “My teachers taught me the value of not thinking too much first or at least to work and think at the same time.”  

Van Mierlo started out at the academy making weird and funny things. “I was trying out all options, all possibilities and I even made a trailer for a snuff film,” he says, “but Anthon told me to quit it.  He said I was a sweet guy and I should stick to making nice things. It was good advice.

“I also learned to work hard. I knew it was going to be tough there and Anthon would often scream that we had to design day and night, that we had to hurry up because we were being overtaken by the Koreans. I have thought about this comment for years.”

During the upcoming Dutch Design Week a lot of exhibitions will focus on revealing what goes on beneath the surface in design. “Unlocked” challenges visitors to look beyond their own limits (“Unlocked” by Driving Dutch Design at Zwaanstraat 1 – Strijp T). Van Mierlo will present with at the Klokbouw two projects that unravel his own approach. He will also show a new animation based on his wet paintings at gallery space Magda (Bergstraat 41, Eindhoven).

Although Van Mierlo is inspired by renowned illustrators like Dick Bruna and Jockum Nordstrom he says making books for children is not how he defines his work. “My books probably are childrens’ books, but I never think about children when I am making them,” he says. 

10 000 copies of “Wild Animals” in three languages and 3000 copies of his follow up “Some Logic” have been distributed.  He started experimenting with the technique he uses in them  - applying paint to wet paper - at the Steiner school he was educated in before coming to the academy. “Of course kids are the best audience to show my work to,” he says. “They give honest and direct answers about what they see and think about.  Adults rarely tell the truth or they say something too considered.”

And although Van Mierlo claims to not be focussed on what his work means on a deeper level, his gentle asides reveal much: “While studying I was interested in the urge of humanity to control the world,” he says. “But when you think about it, it does not make any sense to make everything perfect. You can try really hard to get the details right, but then look at what happens.”

He clicks play on his new project – an animation that flips through paintings that he has made carefully on wet paper. But when a wet page is stacked on another wet page the paint runs blurring and smudging the lines into a rougher and messier whole.





- One of Van Mierlo's main inspirations - Jockum Nordstrom
- Images form Van Mierlo's Wild Animals and Some Logic books
- Stills from the new animation Van Mierlo will present during Dutch Design Week 2014 revealing the murkiness of life


Published: 08-Oct-2014 12:21
  • DAE alumnus Rop van Mierlo during #DDW14

    Rop van Mierlo at his recent exhibition and book signing in Amsterdam

  • DAE alumnus Rop van Mierlo during #DDW14

    One of Van Mierlo's main inspirations - Jockum Nordstrom

  • DAE alumnus Rop van Mierlo during #DDW14

    Image form Van Mierlo's Wild Animals and Some Logic books

  • DAE alumnus Rop van Mierlo during #DDW14

    Van Mierlo's Wild Animals and Some Logic books

  • DAE alumnus Rop van Mierlo during #DDW14

    Stills from the new animation Van Mierlo