Ellen de Bruijn is Atelier Titi, a Utrecht based illustrator and artist. Her beautiful style is recognizable by her bold and minimalistic shapes and colorful stories. Her illustrations have the power of immediately coming up with a story in your mind, after peering into her colorful worlds.
Hi Ellen! Where do you live / where are you from?
I'm living in Utrecht, where we recently moved into a studio / living complex at a cherrytree orchard, outside of the city centre. It is very quiet and a little like camping sometimes, with chickens walking around and trees full of cherries. I grew up in a little harbor town called Enkhuizen.
How do you think this place influences you as an artist?
Well I think both places have influenced me artistically. I like combining the nice and quiet things of life with a dosis of fantasy, leaving room for the imagination. This certainly has to do with the calm surroundings I grew up in.
What are your finest moments in life?
My finest moments must be when I'm able to work hard, while staying glad and content. Momentarily I'm very happy with my new studio, the space I have there and my little screen printing area. Every day this makes me happy to go to work!
And in your work right now, do you have a special focus?
What I like is having a somewhat naive outlook into the world, I keep working on being able to convey that through my work as well. To put it very simply: good/bad , beautiful/ugly, I want that to look naive, but also just the style of my illustrations. I do this, for example, by looking at the 'naive art' art movement.
Also my focus is on getting a deeper understanding of what type of illustrator I am and which direction I want to take myself.
How do you normally start working on a new artwork?
I like working in certain themes, so usually I choose a theme I'd like to work on and start looking for sources of inspiration. I then choose a short story or poem or even just a sentence to capture the mood I want to work at. I force myself of picturing a situation.
My work is very much a way of telling a story, but I also want others to be able to see it within their own interpretation or context.
A difficult question: how do you think people will see you in ten years time?
I have no idea! Or do I... I would like to have illustrated a children's book by then, so I hope that's how people will know my work.
Lastly, New Chique Gallery is also really about using art for home decoration and interiors, what is your favorite piece of (design) furniture?
That must be the little stool from my sister, Saskia. She's a furniture designer and is currently doing a part time study in upholstery. We are now working together on printing the upholstery in my little screen printing studio so that she can use those. After that's done there's a big chance of it being my new, favorite piece of furniture.