Art Portrait | posted 23.02.2021
Vincent de Boer
Like Jazz With Brushes
Dutch artist Vincent de Boer has become a regular band member of the British jazz band Ill Considered. He draws record covers based on the grooves he hears. For »The Stroke«, the process has now been reversed.
Text Björn Bischoff
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One year ago, on August 30th 2020 to be exact, Dutch artist Vincent de Boer sat in a studio in London and was overwhelmed. »And also so nervous at the same time, because I didn’t understand what was going on.« Yet he triggered the whole thing himself. With 4056 hand-painted images that make up the animated film »The Stroke«. And it all came about because of one message.

Via YouTube de Boer found this band four years ago, his band: Ill Considered from London. Freely improvised music with groove and melody. Experimental jazz, but it sounds far less experimental and often comes across as much more pleasing. »I find this great music and look after listening: This is from 2017! And it was just posted two weeks ago«, the 32-year-old says today. »I felt like I was already a part of it right away, just from finding that out.«

He ordered a record directly from the band – however, the record came with a white label. No cover art. »So I asked if I could do it for the band.« Since then, de Boer has been considered the only non-musical member of Ill Considered. »All it took was this one message on YouTube and then a call via Skype with Leon Brichard. But I didn’t know then what an incredibly productive band they are.« What followed: nine albums in three years, for each of which de Boer designed the cover. Today de Boer is sometimes the first person to hear new tracks from Ill Considered.

A strange gravity always emanates from de Boer’s paintings; his drawings clearly carry the influences of urban art and calligraphy. Just with brushes he creates a groove that pulls into his art. Everything wears an enviable simplicity. But what looks simple, must not always be simple and in this case demanded patience above all.

Just with brushes he creates a groove that pulls into his art.

Because de Boer and Ill Considered turned the creative process around. After a year and a half of preparation and nine months of creation in his studio in Utrecht, de Boer and his cooperation partner Hans Schuttenbeld were able to show »The Stroke«, the animated film of more than 4,000 hand-painted images that de Boer presented in London a year ago in August.

In the studio there, the band saw the film for the first time and improvised directly to the images that flickered across a large screen. On it played out the abstract story of a brushstroke that transforms, wanders, dissolves, emerges. All in strong, powerful drawings.

On storyboard, de Boer and Schuttenbeld were always 30 seconds ahead of the production. »We put a lot of thought into it, but of course it was difficult because we were just making guesses: If we do this now, maybe the band will be quieter«, de Boer says. But any sudden change in the film will not be sudden for a musician. »They would react to it, but of course they would always be late.« Which is why the animations build up the climaxes.

There is a twist in the film where Schuttenbeld and de Boer thought the band was going to make a big splash. But the exact opposite happened on the first take. »They got really quiet and changed the keynote. That was completely unexpected. And I was insanely happy with it.« For the band, the recording was not difficult, de Boer said. For them it was just more complicated to look at the screen while playing. Simply because musicians sometimes close their eyes or move.

Vincent de Boer – 2021 (02)Webshop ➽ Vinyl Box Three takes of the recording now appear as an EP – and each of the 338 discs comes with one second of the animated film. One drawing serves as the cover, and the other eleven drawings are in bundles inside the sleeve. One or two albums de Boer will keep for himself – so he can keep his favorite moment. »But the thing is, maybe this second deserves to be in someone else’s living room rather than mine. I don’t know yet.«

Soon the band’s next album will already be released, again with a cover by de Boer. »The way you haven’t seen before, that’s creativity for me«, he says. There is no better description for his art, vibe and energy. Ill Considered, by the way, is currently recording music again. They’ve already sent de Boer their first tracks again.


You can find the Vinyl Records of Ill Considered in the HHV Records webshop

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