I got selected! I will be trained to be a creative entrepreneur!

voor de kunstenaar creative entrepeneur ellen vesters illustrator graphic designer


Prepare yourself…
A big piece of text…
About me.


Woohoo! Two weeks ago I got selected for “Voor de Kunstenaar” (for the artist): a huge crowdfunding project in which, together with nine other artists….


…I will receive intensive training for three whole months on being a creative entrepreneur!


The aim of the project:

“Times are changing, budgets are under pressure, many artists and creative people are not adequately equipped to bring their product or service to the market. Naturally. Still, few art or design schools focus on entrepreneurship. While knowledge of entrepreneurship and business skills are essential in order to function successfully as an artist//creative! ‘Voor de Kunstenaar’ ensures that the artists//creatives who participate can start a viable business. After following the courses involved they will have the tools to bring their product or service to the market in the best way possible, and build a successful creative life for themselves.”
(if you would like to read more (dutch), go here: http://www.voordekunstenaar.nl)


My story:

For this project I had to write some pieces for the website. I really had to open up this time. For my English readers I have translated my bio and my first blogpost:

My name is Ellen Vesters, 32 years old, born in the village of Ulft, in an area of the Netherlands that’s called the Achterhoek (mmm, it actually means something like ‘the rear corner…?!’). A village that’s lovely for building huts and jumping over streams, but also for being utterly bored. I remember hours and hours in which I was doodling: comics, elf-figures and caricatures of my teachers. In my boredom, I discovered that drawing was the best thing ever. All that work is still in a big box under my bed; a valuable possession.

When I was eighteen I went to a view day of art school. My dream. I still see myself standing there: in a gray sweater, my long hair before my eyes, while the students that were there flew along in the most colourful outfits.


I was scared to death and went to study psychology.


Once I had arrived in a good job as a psychologist, my old dream revived. After years of scientific thinking, it took time for my right brain to wake up again. I did a preparatory training at the art school of Arnhem, got my prepaedeutics at the art school of Amsterdam and got accepted to the second year of Fine Arts in Utrecht… at the same time that I was accepted for a postgraduate training as a mental health psychologist.


Again I opted for psychology.


Then I became 30 years old. After completing the training in mental health psychology, now nearly two years ago, I finally admitted that seven days a week as a psychologist in life is not what I want. My creativity is shouting out louder with every day I get older.

Back to art school is no longer an option. As a result of the economical crisis the tuition fees have increased alarmingly for students who already have completed an education. So in recent years I have tried to develop myself as much as possible by making lots of work, following courses (among others the Art & Design College in Utrecht) and training with colleagues.

One month ago, just when I want to take the step to actually move the balance in my working week from psychology to illustration I get the chance to jump on board of the project “Voor de Kunstenaar” (for the artist).

My resume is now a versatile one. I am and always will be someone who enthusiastically indents and tackles many exciting projects. Now that I am open to all creative possibilities that life has to offer, ideas are flowing and want to break out, and I find myself in many inspiring collaborations. I’m mainly working as an illustrator and an illustrative designer, but frequently I also let myself be tempted to work on independent projects.

In my creations you can often find a connection between my artistic background and my experience as a psychologist. In both fields I work from a (positive) naïve perspective.
To make contact with my environment is paramount, in my visual works that often involves laying down tension and making use of humor.

In the coming weeks, the place should fill up with examples of this. My focus within this program should be: to focus. Plus a considerable amount of acquisition.




Why I want to participate in this project?

One month ago:

I get the feeling it is time to make some important decisions. I want to focus more on my art work. I start working less as a psychologist and rent a studio with other creative people. In the same week I see a twitter message from coach Marion Beltman being very enthusiastic about the project “Voor de Kunstenaar” (for the artist). The boot camp feel of the course immediately appeals to me: a kick in the butt towards a more businesslike attitude. Just what I need!

Unfortunately, the spots in this project are already filled. Never ventured nothing gained, so using google + (still nice and quiet there so few competitors) I let initiator Marca know that I really really would like to participate. A few days later everything is arranged. Someone has canceled and in a final selection round I am being chosen.


What an opportunity!


The past year and a half I have put myself out in the creative life as much as possible and fully enjoyed it. I have sought colleagues, initially to learn from them and later to make the most fantastic things together. A dream that seemed impossible went to being real just over night: suddenly a 3D artwork of mine is put up in a huge gallery!


I never thought I was a networker.


Currently there are some final steps to be taken, that I avoid time after time, because they bring me tremendous frustration. Being such a flutter, they feel unnatural to me. Thinking businesslike. Planning. Acquisition. Words that evoke an allergic reaction, but that I would like to learn to embrace. I need them to get to do more of what I like doing the most. I am convinced that Marca’s warm blanket will bring me exactly what I’m looking for.


How nice to begin this inspiring journey with this diverse group of people!


Dream a little dream of me…

Already a year ago, after a decade of deliberation, I decided to finally cut the knot and go for creative entrepreneurship. Since then I have felt more inspired in life than ever before. Perhaps most of all because of all the sweet, nice and interesting people I’ve met.


In the past year, among other things, I came across the organization Don’t-do-it-yourself. Don’t-do-it-yourself organises networking events, where it’s not so much about networking, but more about working for each other. For me, it represents a guarantee that I will have the most inspiring day or evening, full of brainstorming and sharing cool ideas. Arnoud and Marcel and their friends always know so well how to inspire people, to make them let go of what they know, let go of fears about a room filled with new people, and to just have a wonderful afternoon. Every time the best new connections arise. (Dutchies: kom op, waar wacht je op, meld je aan!)


When Don’t-do-it-yourself announced that they would organize an evening especially for illustrators, I immediately responded. They were scouting for illustrators to work on a book about the analyzing of dreams. Interesting! We came with dozens of us to team up with the writers. I’ve already showed you before what work I made that night. After submitting it I had to wait for months to know if I was selected and as you’d expect by now…


I did it! I’m in the book!


ellen vesters wat heb jij gedroomd vannacht


The book has turned out beautiful. Dream Coach Nicoline Douwes Isema attracted writer Cathelijne Esser to put all her knowledge into words and they have certainly succeeded. In a very accessible and entertaining way, they discuss how your brain works at night and how you can make the most use of all those nocturnal images. Besides the compelling content the book is filled with the works of talented illustrators.
(Unfortunately for now it is only available in dutch)

Find out more about the power of dreams here:


ellen vesters wat heb jij gedroomd vannacht


ellen vesters wat heb jij gedroomd vannacht


ellen vesters wat heb jij gedroomd vannacht sloth luiaard



Pet’s Marktplaats

A while ago I met a somewhat quirky young artist who told me about his vast collection of collections.


Who gets it into his head to go around the Netherlands to browse collections of others to buy?


That would be Pet van de Luijtgaarden.
Pet had already been looking at his collections for a while  when he decided to spice up part of it. He decided to invite other artists to each take home one of the collections and make something new out of it . Me and 19 others got involved in Pets Marktplaats (Pet’s Marketplace).

In January I visited Pet’s large studio in an old office building. His space was filled with big boxes, full of pins, Batman dolls, McDonalds toys, jewelry and so on, and so on. In one room he had even made an arrangement with all pinkish Barbie stuff, a big bright Mattel world…I barely could constrain the ten-year-old screaming girl inside me.


On the way home I had 40 pounds of sunglasses in the back of my car and a plan in my head to build a lamp out of it.


One month ago, the big news came: Pet was promised an exhibition in the Kunsthal. If, however, he would be able to get everything done within two weeks! And one week before, my home-built frame had collapsed!
I put up a big search for a frame through the lovely world of social media and miraculously, in between all the very helpful posts (among others there was tweep Nancy Kers who spend a whole day to try and help me find alternative materials), I received a message  by Lisette Spapens, glass-artist: “You live nearby, right? I’m coming over right now!”
Lisette built me a beautiful frame of steel lead. It was her first experience with a 3D object! Many nightly hours later, hours of experimenting and building, there it was: my 30-pound lamp!


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


Last saturday the big day of the official opening had arrived: all of Pet’s collections were beautifully displayed and next to it were the creations of me and my 19 colleagues. So proud!


About the exhibition (from the website of the Kunsthal):
Pet is a visual artist who is fascinated by the absurdity of abundance when it comes to ‘stuff’. ‘Shops are getting larger and fuller, but what we need it all for?’ As a collector, Van de Luijtgaarden buys discarded collections of objects such as disposable lighters, frogs, GI Joe action dolls and Flippos (Pogs), all of which have been neatly arranged to create a cabinet of curiosities for the exhibition. It seems the absurdity of it ‘never being enough’ is irrevocable.

As a child, Pet van de Luijtgaarden collected beer bottles and postage stamps; later, when he was a student, it were books that he collected. Nowadays, as a visual artist, Van Luijtgaarden voraciously buys up private collections including caps, porcelain cats, pencil sharpeners, spectacles and milk bottle tops! He spends hours on the Dutch digital marketplace ‘Marktplaats’ and drives all over the Netherlands buying up collections that are often being sold as a last resort, for example in the event of financial difficulties, death, divorce or lack of space.

Sneak peek of Pet’s work:


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


My work:


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


ellen vesters pets marktplaats pet's marktplaats summersphere


A sign said:

Ellen Vesters (1979, Ulft)
Summersphere, 2011
Hanging lamp made with sunglasses
[With the cooperation of Lisette Spapens]

Ellen Vesters incorporated the glass of hundreds of sunglasses into her sculpture to, in her own words: “enhance the beauty of light, to color and reshape her.”

(unfortunately, because of all the backlight the reflections on the walls weren’t as dramatic as they were intended to be)


The other participating artists:
Fenny FaberEls PetitChoi WongJacco de JagerRoos van der HeidenGhita van BergenSylvia Stolan Eva Bullens Tim van de Meer – Jessica de Kort – Malou CohenSarah Gunti Astrid WillemsBritt DorenboschErik FuscoRobin de Wilde.