Can you briefly introduce yourselves and describe what you do for our readers?
Hi, we are Adrian & Gidi (Adrian Woods & Gidi van Maarseveen), a photography duo based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Besides working together, we are also a couple and have a 3 year old daughter called Ella. We design and build our own photography sets, with a wide range of materials, but mostly focus on paper-craft.
Your works are amazing and colorful and unique. What is your background in design? What got you started creating?
We both graduated in photography at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. Before studying photography, Gidi studied communication design, and Adrian Engineering, design and innovation. Gidi graduated with a focus on fashion photography, and Adrian with abstract still lifes. We always loved working together, even when working on two completely different projects. I guess what we do now is a mix of our interests and studies.
We always wanted to create our own imagined worlds, and that was only possible by creating them ourselves. This drove us towards designing our own sets. It started small, but grew into the most important part of what we make.
How did you acquire your skills? Did you have special training?
The set building part we taught ourselves, just by experimenting and a lot of YouTube. The most important thing for us is to keep challenging ourselves, and to experiment with new techniques and materials.
How would you describe your style?
Definitely colourful, uplifting, and sometimes abstract, but with a wink. There is a natural evolution within our style, which changes over time.
How long have you known each other and how do you work together? Tell us your story
We have known each other since we studied together. During our studies we started helping each other with our projects. We loved working together, and felt comfortable doing so. I think our relationship and work together are really intertwined. Since 2012 we started working together on commissioned work. This is where we started to officially become a ‘duo’. Gidi loves working on details and really finds her comfort in handicraft work. Adrian focuses more on the photography and the technical side (his engineering background comes in handy sometimes). We both love it when the time comes to cut our designs, and that it all folds together into what you imagined!
What happens in your average working day?
There really is no average working day. Because we take on all the parts of a project (art direction, design, set building, photography, and post-production) every day has a different schedule. We even work in different places, sometimes at home, mostly in our studio, and sometimes we just want a good cup of coffee in our favourite cafe whilst working out a concept.
- Do you like the photographic part of your job (style shooting) or designing the most?
I think we both enjoy the photographic part the most. Seeming this is where it all comes together, and that the design takes shape.
Do you have disagreements about ideas or work process with each other?
We are quite well tuned in to each other’s tastes. Considering we also live together, share friends and environments, we have a lot of the same references. But of course we sometimes disagree. Although we both think that disagreeing sometimes helps to keep you sharp, and send you into new directions.
When did you create your first project together?
In the second year of our studies. It was a project where we placed a helmet cam on kids whilst partying. Nothing that had to do with what we do now, but it was really fun!
What materials do you enjoy working with the most?
We mostly work with paper lately, and have gotten pretty skilled at that. This is also to do with the type of work we have gotten the past year, which is focused on paper craft. At the moment we are looking forward to working with other materials than paper, just to shake things up.
What tools do you use for your work?
A lot of different tools. Like half the craft store. It is amazing that you can get a tool for pretty much anything you think of.
What percentage of your work is done in Photoshop?
Mostly cleaning up ragged edges, rig removal, crumbs on set and color correction. We sometimes shoot things separately to paste into a composition, but try to keep it to a minimum, because you see/feel it when it becomes mostly digital. We love to keep a sense of realness in our work. The fine line between perfection and a tactile feel.
How would you describe your workspace?
An area which is in continuous need of reorganising and a clean-up. Little paper bits, and glue wreak havoc on a workspace. Further description would be: white studio space, a sitting eating area with kitchen, and a set building area. Piles of paper, lots of paper crafted objects everywhere, and some art prints.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a project?
That is completely dependent on the size of the project. That may vary from a month to 2 days.
What are you working on at the moment, and is there one project you are particularly proud of?
We started work on a free work project this year, which is something we are really looking forward to. We didn’t have time for free work all of last year, and now we have some time in-between bookings. So we fill up the days that we are not working on commissions with working on our own project. The problem is we have 3 big plans, that seem to get bigger and bigger… but when they are finished, we think it will be amazing.
Do you sometimes get blocked for ideas? If so, how do you overcome that?
For free work we often have too many ideas, but not enough time to do them. Sometimes on commissions, we have to fit a concept within certain guidelines we get from the client. Sometimes these can be so restrictive that it becomes hard to get the full potential of the concept.
What are some of the favorite things you have learned and included in your works?
Every job we figure out how to do something better and faster. We love it every time we discover something new.
What artists have you found inspiring, and why?
There are so many great artists, so hard to name a few. At the moment we are really into the work of Sarah Sze. We love the lightness in her work and how she works with materials.
What are you passionate about besides your work?
We both love to cook! Great food and good music are a must!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
We get a lot of inspiration from everyday life. Patterns, buildings, and shapes that we see around us. We also love installation art which is a great way to inspire us to try different styles and techniques.
Dreams and plans for the future?
We just bought a house, and are now rebuilding. We are so looking forward to making it our magical space. I think our dreams are mostly focused on that at the moment.
Work wise we would love to keep surprising ourselves. Our worst scenario would be that our work becomes repetitive.
What’s your dream project?
A project that we both think is absolutely perfect. Which will probably never happen!