As a budding young graphic designer, Claudia van Rooijen continues to experiment with Photoshop to create beautifully colorful textures and collages. The subject of most of her collages are the singers that have inspired her throughout her life. She is still attending school in the Netherlands and prefers to practice her art as a hobby rather than making it into a career.

ToonariPost (TP): Who or what are your inspirations and why?

Claudia van Rooijen (CR): Let me start off by saying that I love listening to music whenever I am making something. I am a sensitive person and listening to music just puts me into a special place or makes me feel better whenever I’m having a bad day. Music is the most inspiring thing to me.

To be completely honest I don’t really have a person that inspires me, there are people out there that are really talented but I wouldn’t say that I get inspired by them. I also get inspired when I see good resources, when I see something that is great I imagine in my head what I could use it for. Seeing beautiful artwork also makes me excited to open up Photoshop and see what I can do.

TP: What sort of music to you listen to when you are getting creative in Photoshop?

CR: I listen to all kinds of music from Pop to R&B, Soul and even some Country. I am a huge fan of artists with beautiful voices so I listen to Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Leona Lewis, Melanie Fiona among others. It all depends though, currently I am going through my ‘Carrie Underwood’ phase. I have always loved her music and voice but at the moment she is pretty much all I listen to.

TP: How do different songs or types of music affect the artwork you are working on at the time?

CR: I wouldn’t know if it really affects my artwork to be honest. When I play music I just play an album and you know with albums, one song is going to be uptempo and the next one might be a ballad. I don’t have a playlist with all happy songs or all sad songs. It goes from happy to sad to being happy again.

Perhaps if I would listen to a lot of sad songs my artwork would be a little darker but usually I prefer to listen to uptempo songs when making something because sometimes I just don’t feel like listening to sad songs. I think the music might influence me in a certain way, but I wouldn’t really know how to explain it.

TP: What artists would you consider working with to do a piece? What type of work do you think would come from this partnership?

CR: I have never really thought about doing that, to be completely honest with you. There are a few people out there that I really enjoy watching. One of them is So-Ghislaine. I just love what she is doing, her resources are amazing and her collages are great too. If we were to do a piece together, it would probably be a collage because I think that would be the best type. I would assume that I could learn something from her and perhaps she could learn something from me. Another person I really enjoy watching is Photonica.

Her style just speaks to me, it′s very colorful and lately she has been doing a lot of typography and manipulation kind of things. I think her work is very original and creative as well. I would love to learn typography, I am absolutely terrible with text placement. I think typography is great. I am planning on following some tutorials on it in the near future.

TP: If there was any art medium that you wish you could master, what would it be and why?

CR: I’m not sure what your definition of ‘mastering’ an art medium may be, but I would have to say that I would love to master Photoshop CS5. I am pretty decent with it, but I know that there are a ton of features that I have yet to discover or put to good use. I think Photoshop is just such a versatile program that you can do whatever you want with it. If you have some sort of image in your head, you can probably create it in Photoshop, too. That’s how I see the program, it’s really amazing.

TP: What are your goals in life?  Do you plan to continue art as a hobby, or make it a career?

CR: My goal in life is to just find a job and perhaps start a family one day. I am planning on keeping this as a hobby because I don’t see how this possibly could be a career for me. On the other hand I like not feeling obligated to this. I think that if this would be some sort of ‘job’ for me, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much because it would mean that I still have to come up with something even if I really don’t feel like doing anything.

TP: Do you feel that your culture has influenced you in some way that makes you different than other artists?

CR: I doubt it. I come from a western culture, if that is how you even say that and I do not believe that my culture has had anything to do with the kind of artist I am.

TP: Can you tell me more about your background?  What experiences brought you to be the person you are today?

CR: I had an unusual childhood, quite tough at times. I have an older brother and I come from divorced parents. My teen years were especially hard and I’ve been through a lot of stuff that I would love to put behind me one day. Today I see myself as a strong person that tries to stay positive no matter what. It’s a daily struggle, but I try to get there. Thankfully, I have a lot of things keeping me busy so I think I am going to be just fine.