Painted Stories XL | Selected by...

Painted Stories XL | Selected by...

I asked some Amsterdam people to curate my first series Painted Stories XL Prints, for which I made an illustration of something significant to them.

'The Elephant' Selected by Jewaria

“Like every child growing up in Amsterdam I went to Artis a lot. And of course I always stopped at the elephant enclosure. Which was quite modest at the time. Now I go there with my son, I’m happy to see they’ve since had a really nice upgrade.

I remember getting a Volkskrant subscription, because I really liked Anne’s illustrations in it. So I’m really happy with this large elephant.”

Why an elephant?

“It’s for my son, when we move into our new house. As soon as he could talk, everything was ‘elephant’. And that never  went away. Now a few things  have been added: dinosaurs, volcanoes and meteors. But elephants are definitely always his number one. He also has 30 elephants that he displays in his room to  play with.

My mother jokes that he must have been an elephant in a previous life, just like my sister. His father’s from Rwanda and at his grandparents’ place they have a lot of wooden animals, like zebras, giraffes, and of course elephants. So he’s absolutely going to love this.

The elephant’s on the piano now. This way my own passion and my son’s nicely come together. I’d love to have a grand piano  one day, but I believe you really have to earn one. And have a big house too. But this is a Kawai, which is quite funny too, I think. Because in Japanese it means ‘cute’.”

'Terry' Selected by Georgy Dendoe | Founder clothing brand Sumibu

Sumibu is a clothing brand from Amsterdam. Sumibu is a corruption of the name of the neighborhood I grew up in, the Bijlmer, which is also known as Bims. My friends and I started calling it Smib, Bims spelled backwards. And when I started studying Japanese, it became Sumibu. That’s how they would phonetically spell Smib.

The idea for the brand was born in 2015. Ever since I was young I was interested in fashion. Starting my own fashion brand felt like a logical step. At some point you need more and more people in different places, so before you know it you’re running a business with employees. At  the moment we have ten people working on Sumibu, one  of whom I’ve known since I was four years old.

Our first store was Zeedijk 60, a shop we founded with Bonne Suits, The New Originals and Sumibu. Now we primarily sell online and at several stores throughout the Netherlands, but we hope to have our own shop in or around the Zeedijk, where it all started.

Why this illustration?

“It’s based on one of our own characters, Terry. Terry’s based on the god of the dead. You could call him  a sort of grim reaper, but more of a kids’ version. He  appears in a lot of our designs.

In Anne's version it’s translated into watercolor. That looks really cool, because of its scary eyes, but also  sweet because of the wavy lines. And that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be like. A mix of scary and cute.

I draw a lot. And through short mangas about our characters Terrence, Maceo and Devon, we tell the story of Sumibu. Like the story behind a collection or how our customer service works. Devon, a devil/angel, Maceo, an alien, and Terrence, a grim reaper with a 9-to-5 job. Each one with his own role and character.”

Annelijn (owner/founder webshop Dappermaentje) and her son Dapper

“After  studying Fashion Management at the HKU in Utrecht I started a webshop for kids’ accessories. Besides that I also create content for interior and fashion inspiration. At home I’m also regularly changing things in our own interior. I was actually able to make my dream come true and turn my hobby into my career.”

Why the dino?

“When my oldest daughter Maen was born, Anne illustrated an owl for her. She still has it hanging in her room.  Because Dapper just turned five, he got a larger bed. But he also got to pick something for his wall, so he chose the T-rex, his favorite dinosaur at  the moment. Of course it’s a scary animal, but the way it’s illustrated, and because it’s watercolor, almost make it cuddly.”

“For Dapper it’s totally unimportant of course, but I’m really happy with the quality of the work. The rough texture of the watercolor paper is clearly visible at the edges, which make it look like an actual, original aquarelle. I also like that it’s detached from the frame, like in a museum. So when Dapper doesn’t want it in his room anymore, we can always hang it  somewhere else in the house.”


Nina Varga, Art Director The Next Closet, a marketplace for designer clothing


The fashion industry is extremely polluting, which we hope to counter with The Next Closet, a tech platform with secondhand clothing, but then with lovely designer pieces. You can shop through individual pieces, but also browse through ‘wardrobes’ of famous and less famous people.

Nina is responsible for the visual identity of The Next Closet. In the beginning it was quite decent and clean, and now it’s a lot more colorful and playful. The shop with a green facade and pink interior stands out in the row of shops  on the Bilderdijkstraat. It’s a counterpart of all the sandy tones and black-and-white interiors. “You’re in the safe zone with those, but as soon as you start playing with more colors and it’s the right combination, then you can really hit the sweet spot. And if it’s not right, you simply start over again. But now it’s right. That’s how we got to this color combination for The Next Closet’s branding.”

Why this bag by Celine?

“I chose an illustration of this Celine bag, which was once in our secondhand selection, because of the colors. I love bags as an item and Anne  often works really beautifully with color.

Celine is quite a classic brand. But I chose not to go for a classic black or brown bag, but one with very distinct colors. That makes me really happy. Plus it looks great in the shop, because the same colors  are reflected back.

It is actually a very graphic bag, with graphic shapes, but because it’s an aquarelle the graphic part also fades a little bit. The stark lines and the fluid style of the illustration make a really nice blend. Plus it goes great with this Viktor & Rolf dress of course.”

Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings

“In my job I’m involved a lot with print art. For centuries, artists have been searching for the best ways to  expand their work  to reach a larger audience. And to do that in the most artisanal way possible, to preserve the soul of the  artwork. Just like in this print, where the feeling of the original  watercolor illustration   has been preserved by printing it on beautiful paper.”

Why a bat?

“There are a lot of bats in IJburg, where we live. I would really love to once find a mummified bat, to hang from the ceiling. I really love this print because it doesn’t have too many colors, but it does have some subtle purple tones in it.

We started out with an empty hallway, but we don’t like that. Less is a bore.The paneling is a leftover from an  exhibition in the museum and I  was able to take it home. It immediately got a little bit cozier. And for the last ten years we’ve been  bringing things home from different adventures. A hodgepodge of paraphernalia, but we’re at a point now where we can replace the lesser stuff with more beautiful things.

We love to mix all kinds of natural elements in different materials and we were missing a large illustration.

A very beautiful high quality acquisition.”


Photography: Lin Woldendorp

Text: Chris krabbendam

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