Monique Kneepkens [designer-art director]

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The beautiful Monique Kneepkens is one half of the Seven with Another collaborative exhibition series. Just launched, the latest installment, the FIFTH EDITION, (yes, there’s been 5 of these fantastic collaborative events now!), has moved to its new home at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Monique and her good friend, Jessica Huddart of Josephmark, launched the series to encourage creatives to collaborate with those from different fields. The series has now taken on a different life form, and this series sees the first builder join the team! Other combinations include a director and a jeweller, photographer and an architect, surface designer and a musician.

When not planning the unbelievable SWA collaborations, Monique is illustrating, designing and art directing her own OUTSTANDING work by the new brand of Fries Need Mayonnaise.

Monique has just moved into her freshly renovated office space, The Meatlocker, in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, which refers to the building’s previous life as a meat factory. The space is a creative’s dream office with lots of exposed brick walls and open, high ceilings. The building even comes complete with it’s own meat hanging rack, which is now referred to as the office’s art.

Monique’s illustration and design was featured in the 2011 Communication Arts Typography Annual, awarded an Highly Commended in the Create Awards 2011, First Runner Up in the Create Awards 2010, and many finalist nominations in the Create and BAD awards.

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If you have the chance to chat to Monique, you’ll notice her GORGEOUS accent, being born and raised in the Netherlands. Growing up there, Monique went on to study at the Academy for Art-direction in Amsterdam and Royal School of Arts in The Hague.

And if you haven’t noticed the AMAZING piece for Qld Rail at the top of the article, Monique recently illustrated this mural alongside the creative team at Publicis Mojo Brisbane. View more on this project here.

Seven with Another is a free exhibition at the Brisbane Powerhouse, and the pieces will be on display til the 16th May.

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How have you got to where you are today?

After my studies in the Netherlands and a few little freelance jobs there, I really wanted to see a bit more of the world. I arrived in Australia, where I freelanced for a few different studios and agencies, but soon left for New Zealand. I worked there for a just under a year in a great design studio. But by then I had already fallen in love with Brisbane’s sunny climate, so I moved back and took up a job as an art-director at an ad agency. I had a great time there and learned a lot, but the main thing I learned was that my true passion lies in design, more than in advertising.

So after several years there I resigned and took up a job in design. I eventually ended up working for myself, from my home studio, combining my own clients with freelance work, before opening Fries Need Mayonnaise.

In a few words, describe yourself…

I love to read, listen to music, day dream and I love circus. Sometimes I like to talk, but sometimes I like to be quiet. I love nature. I love mathematics, museums, theatre, arthouse movies and bicycles.

I love to draw but don’t do enough of it. I love to cook but I love eating more. I’m quite messy, rather clumsy and I am very direct.

What are you spending your time on at the moment?

Tara Simmons’ latest CD cover. Recovering after the launch of the 5th edition of Seven With Another. Planning the 6th edition for December 2012! A collaborative project with Gilimbaa. And the final touches on the next publication for The Good Guide.

Monique Kneepkens

Do you have a ritual for getting into the creative mindset? Or a creative process?

I always start with my sketch book, away from my computer.

I also like it to be quiet when I do my brainstorming and I can’t be too tired, as it’s blocking my creative thoughts.

Whenever possible, I like to do a lot of research and gather as much information as I can, as I believe that will normally lead to better design solutions. Once I have ideas, I tend to pick music that suits that idea and work to that.

What or who inspires you?

Travel. Visiting art galleries. Different cultures. Smart people. Good ideas. My friends.

What are you most proud of?

It’s early days but I guess I am proud of starting up Fries Need Mayonnaise and having a go of that. I’m also proud of what Jessica Huddart and I created with Seven with Another.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to draw at the Walt Disney studios.

Written by Jenica Smith

Passionate about storytelling, design and creativity, Jenica is a Brisbane-based digital designer and founder of Design Montage. Follow on twitter.