'Boetlek Underground Escape' (acrylic on canvas).

Pieter Zandvliet is a Dutch multimedia artist from Nieuwleusen. He started his career as a comic artist, but eventually established himself as a painter and artist, with jaunts to literary and cinematographic projects.

Early life and influences
He was born in 1969 in Leiden as Jan Willem Pieter Zandvliet, and grew up in the Delfshaven borough of Rotterdam. The multiculturalism of this neighbourhood has been a large influence on the themes and techniques of his later work. Other inspirations were comic artists like Eric Schreurs, Windig & De Jong, Hein de Kort, Theo van den BoogaardKamagurka, Dave Cooper and S. Clay Wilson.

'Itam - Make Love Not War', 1992. 

Zandvliet studied at the Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam (1983-1987), but was suspended. He then attended the Free Academy of Visual Art in The Hague (1988-1992), where he specialized in art history, model drawing and fashion. Zandvliet started his creative career by painting murals and graffiti in the Netherlands during the 1980s and strongly explored exchanges with artists from all over the world. In the 1990s, he started self-publishing his own comics, which mostly dealt with Rotterdam street life. He used the pen name Reteip.

Freelook magazine
Cover of Freelook magazine, 1994. 

In 1992 Zandvliet started Freelook magazine with his wife, youth worker Xandra Severien. It was intended as a cultural magazine for and by youngsters from Delfshaven. Zandvliet served as cartoonist and editor, and provided the back cover strip 'Itam'. Among the other editors were Michael Vos, Istvan Gal and Zandvliet's sister Angelique. The team had a rather provocative approach. By lying about their print run, they managed to arrange interviews with several international acts. Zandvliet himself interviewed musicians and bands like Paul Elstak, Public Enemy, Erasure and 2 Live Crew, for instance. A printer from Gorinchem refused to print the second issue, as it contained much nudity and sexuality. At one point, editor Vos, who was sixteen at the time, decided to call the Dutch "Happy Hooker" Xaviera Hollander, who was in her fifties, and ask if he could shag her. He would then write an article about his experiences with making love to an elderly ex-hooker. Luckily, she didn't answer the phone. Zandvliet recalled the editorial meetings as rather hostile, especially towards newcomers.

Flyer for Galerie Slaphanger, featuring a cameo by 'South Park' character Kenny. 

Galerie Slaphanger
In 1994, after Freelook magazine, Zandvliet and his wife opened Gallery Slaphanger in Rotterdam. The gallery exhibited work of national and international amateur artists, including the comic artists Chris Berg, Maaike Hartjes and Barbara Stok. Slaphanger also served as a selling point for underground comix, music and art from all over the world. The gallery, which was first located in the Grote Visserijstraat and then the Rösener Manzstraat, closed its doors in 2003.

Collage comic for BLVD magazine in 1995.

Besides comics, Zandvliet also experimented with other art forms. He had his first solo exhibition in Slaphanger in 1994 with so-called "melted art": melted plastic (mostly Barbie dolls) turned into surrealistic works of art. Painting became his main focus after 1998. His work is characterized by its use of psychedelic and contrasting colors and thick outlines. Zandvliet's art has influences from the underground comic book scene, pop art and from the arts and culture of Spain, Mexico, Africa, Indonesia and the USA. The artist describes his work as an attempt to "shake, mix and transfer his dreams, fantasy, the things that surround him and his imagination within his paintings". Zandvliet makes no preliminary sketches, and works mainly from instinct.

Zandvliet has since done various commissions and participated in expositions and art manifestations in the Schiedam area. He has designed murals and shoes, done body paint and logo design, and took part in several collective projects. He co-founded the art shop Walvis with Frank van der Donk and Ivanna Urbanova in the centre of Schiedam in 2006, and also designed the logo. His art has been exhibited in the Outsider Art Gallery in Amsterdam, and also in Venezuela and Spain. He contributed to the comics/art zine 'Kutlul 666', edited by Joost Halbertsma and Dirk Verschure and published in April 2017.

Paintings in comics format, starring the character 'Benito' (2006).


Series and books by Pieter Zandvliet you can order today:


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