April 16, 2015
For talented illustrator Bodil Kleipool, Amsterdam has always felt like a magnet and a big part of her work’s identity. As a part of the local community, she loved the fact of “not getting out of the neighbourhood for days”. She recenty moved from one side of the city to the other and as she says: “I actually like getting to know the whole city this way”.
As a teenager I always felt a bit sad about my parents leaving Amsterdam when I was a baby. I liked growing up in Haarlem, but Amsterdam was like a magnet to me. From the first moment my mother allowed me to go shopping by myself I would go to Amsterdam in the weekends. I loved the crowded Kalverstraat and touristic Damrak. I was so excited about wandering through the city by myself. I didn’t need friends to come with me. I just wanted to feel my Amsterdam roots.
When I finished high school, I didn’t want to study in Amsterdam. By then it felt boring to move to a city where all my high school friends would move. I studied Illustration at the Willem De Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. I enjoyed studying there a lot. It’s such an international city with lots of possibilities and a great creative scene. It felt good to be away from the familiar Amsterdam village. But after studying in Copenhagen for six months, I missed Amsterdam. I missed the feeling of being home, close to my good old friends and family. I was longing for the buzz of the Amsterdam nightlife and the Monday morning flea market.
My new place was located in de Baarsjes, an upcoming neighborhood in the west of the city. Through my graduation project about small food shops I got to know lots of Baarsjes residents and shop owners. I loved not getting out of the neighbourhood for days. Just going to my favorite Turkish or Asian shops, getting my magazines at the local Primera and pander to my sushi cravings at a sad sushi bar next to my place.
After almost three years I wanted to move to a bigger place. I found it in the east. Completely at the other side of the city. I felt sad about leaving de Baarsjes, but I’m getting used to my new neighborhood and my love for it is growing. I actually like to get to know the whole city this way. One of the perks of living in the east is that the Hortus Botanicus is so close to my place now. Whatever city I visit, I always try to go to the botanical garden. I enjoy drawing midst of plants and greenery. Just hanging around in the warm green house with beautiful butterflies.
I think Amsterdam is a great part of my identity as an illustrator. Most of the companies I work for are from Amsterdam. The city is relatively small. That makes it more natural to keep in touch with my clients and keep them up to date. Sometimes I ran into a client while getting some lunch or at a festival. It’s easy to keep things personal here. I feel Amsterdam is perfect for me now. I’m in the right place at the right time.