Profession: Concept developper / Art director
Origin: Dutch
City: Amsterdam
Education: International Fashion & Branding


Why do you do what you do? Ever since I was young my favourite way to spend time was visiting different worlds and inhabiting unlikely characters in my imagination. It might sound cliché, but what I love most about concept development and art direction for film is making my imagination come alive on camera.

Could you describe your style and how it developed? Over the past years I’ve brought a vintage circus alive, celebrated stereotypical nineties high school rebellion, reincarnated  Elsa Schiaparelli and visited the darkest corners of the insane mind of a tortured artist. My work can be darker than black or coated in glitter. I love to research as many different time periods, (sub) cultures or cultural icons as possible, and then create my own hyper stylised version of it. I think I could work with every style as long it has distinctive hallmarks and potential to be dipped in a surreal sauce, but I have a natural preference towards the theatrical aspects of life and lavish distaste.

Where do you get inspiration from? I believe inspiration is a state of mind. Inspiration comes from within, but you sometimes need external stimuli to drive it to the surface. When you open yourself up you can find them everywhere. An art house movie or a literal masterpiece can be very inspiring. But sometimes an elaborate google search session, a random object in my living room, or being locked up with my own thoughts for thirty minutes in the shower can bring me the best ideas.

What is the best part about working within the creative industries? Being able to make something come into being with a group of likeminded driven people. It’s always a hell of struggle to find funding, the means and the right talents to create something that only exists in your mind yet. But you’ll always find yourself ending up in the most unexpected situation that make life worth living and you come across the most generous people that restore your trust in humanity. I live for those rare moments when finally everything comes together and you’ve given birth to something that grew out to be more beautiful than you could have imagined in your wildest dreams.

What do you wish you knew about your business before you got started? When I was still in school I lived in an idealist bubble, where the world is a playground for creativity and feasibility did not exist in our vocabulary. Being more familiar with the struggles of the commercialised creative industry, I might have done some things differently. However I’m also glad I went through my education with nothing but my personal development as a creative in mind and took advantage of this environment of artistic freedom with the naive optimistic self confidence I needed to exceed my boundaries and discover new talents and interests.

Has your style develop/change over the time being active? If yes, how? When I started my fashion education, I mostly worked from a stylistic point of view. I let my visuals scream by adding too many extravagant elements and had the tendency to overdo things. After I learned about film I realised that a strong visual tells an interesting story and every visual element should support this story. My work became more about visual storytelling. The most simple juxtaposition of two opposing realities can reach a stronger uncanny effect than any amount of extravagant layers.

Who would you like to work with? There are so many people I would love to work with. I wish I could have been in the art department of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain, for example. Even though I never worked with theatre, I wouldn’t say no to a collaboration with Robert Wilson. But for now I feel very blessed to work with my dear insaturable and contagiously passionate Dogs of War.

What is your idea of success? Something simple as buying props for a film project and not having to beg people for a 75 percent discount when they already gave a 50 percent discount, would already make me very happy.

Is there a message that you are trying to portray through your work? I think my work is mostly about finding yourself through an escapist journey of visual storytelling, enchanting juxtapositions and uncanny humour.

Do you believe it is important to raise artistic awareness in your country? The Netherlands is not the most ideal country to be in for anyone with artistic ambitions. There’s very little support for authorship and integrity. What I see happening is that many creative talents either flea abroad or give up and try to fit their ideas in a commercial shape.

In your opinion, how important is it to culturally educate through art? I feel that a lot of people are looking without actually seeing, hearing without actually listening and consuming without tasting. Art triggers your senses, it helps you to unlock emotions you weren’t even aware off, it takes the ordinary out of context and places a magnifying loop in front of everyday life. Art helps us understand the past and leads us to a new future. I think it’s very important that people get the time and stimuli to express their critical view on life and invent an inspiring presentation form for it that has the potential to trigger society.


Agency: The Cry Havoc Foundation
Twitter: @juliettesijnja
Instagram: @juliettesijnja