Schnuurt, by Koen Hottentot
'Krankensteen' (Myx #44, May 2007).

Koen Hottentot is a Dutch illustrator and driving force behind folk music events. He was part of the Dutch small press comics wave of the 1990s with self-published comic books like 'Necronomicon' (1994) and 'Schnuurt' (1996).

Early life and career
Hottentot was born in 1968 in Zaandam as the son of an advertising designer. He began his artistic career in the late 1980s, and received some specialist literature and drawing material from a former colleague of his father, the retired illustrator Hans Husslage. One of his early clients was Rob Gonggrijp's notorious hackers monthly Hack-tic, for which he made all the covers during its existence from 1989 to 1994. Hack-tic labelled itself as the first magazine for "techno-anarchists", and informed the upcoming hackers' community about blunders and weaknesses during the early days of the internet. Hottentot was merely its illustrator, claiming he himself had no knowledge of computers whatsoever. In 1993 the people behind Hack-tic were responsible for the first public internet service in the Netherlands: Xs4all.

Small-press comics
Hottentot had by then ventured into the field of small press comics, often signing with KoHo. He was present during the early stages of small press magazines like Robin Schouten's Incognito from Zaandam (1993), and Robert van der Kroft and Tonio van Vugt's Zone 5300 from Rotterdam (1994), and in the mid-1990s also frequented Maaike Hartjes' studio De Zwarte Handel. He also contributed to Prima, the deliverer's magazine of newspaper De Telegraaf, and to Mens en Gevoelens, the magazine of Paul Haenen's Margreet Dolman persona. He quickly stood out as one of the most talented Incognito artists, with comics in a semi-caricatural style, full of outlandish, cynical and at times provocative humor. His expressive, madcap style was strongly reminiscent of Fluide Glacial's Gotlib, although Hottentot has labelled André Franquin, Albert Uderzo, Windig & De Jong and Peter de Smet as his major influences. In 1994 he self-published his first comic book collection, called 'Necronomicon', borrowing its title from the fictional "Book of the Dead" in H.P. Lovecraft stories. It was followed in 1996 by 'Schnuurt', a collection of similar despondent gags. Some of the gags were contributed by Jelle Venema and Abel Schoenmaker.


Return to comics
Hottentot didn't return to the medium until ten years later, when his comic 'De Avonturen van M.C.J. Pietersen: De Verkiezingskast' (2006) appeared online. It was a protest against unreliable electronic voting machines, made in commission of Rob Gonggrijp for the website Hottentot also made new comic pages for the publications by publisher René Dorenbos of Edollandia, such as Sfeerie and MYX. He also contributed to Menno Kooistra's horror anthology 'Bloeddorst' (BeeDee, 2007) and his 'Schnuurt' book was updated and re-released in color as 'Schnuurt Remastered' (Edollandia, 2007). The remaining pages of Hottentot's short stints in comics were compiled in 'Schnuurt - Epiloog' (2010), published by Peter Bonte. This marked the end (so far) of Koen Hottentot's career as a comic artist.


Folk music
Besides his illustration career, Koen Hottentot is perhaps best known in the world of folk music. Since 1992, he has made the tour programme illustrations for the British folk rock band Fairport Convention. One of his most notable drawings was a pastiche of the Beatles' 'Sergeant Peppers' album, featuring all band members past and present - together with their associates and friends. It appeared in Fairport's 1997 tour programme on the occasion of the band's 30th anniversary. In 2002 Hottentot left his hometown Koog aan de Zaan and settled in Grolloo, a small town in the province Drenthe. Together with Dick Barlage and his wife Renate Cuperus, he was the driving force behind the local event Folk Grolloo, which managed to get some of the best British folk bands, such as Show Of Hands and Fairport Convention, to the Drenthe countryside. Koen and Renate Hottentot returned to the Zaan area in 2007, where they continue to organize folk and singer-songwriter performances under the "Roots aan de Zaan" banner.

In 2020, Hottentot spent 42 days in the hospital when he was infected with COVID-19 during the first peak of the pandemic. He coped with his ordeal and its emotional aftermath in the written chronicle 'Stapt een vrouw in de trein - Een Covid-19 ervaring' (Leessst, 2020).

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