Johan de Lange

Tell us a bit about yourself…   Im a graphic designer and illustrator. Born in Louis Trichardt, but spent 23 years in Johannesburg. I moved to Amsterdam last year Feb, until August this year. And Im currently based in London. I studied graphic design at Wits Tech (UJ) during the time that Anton and Mark Kannemeyer were lecturing there, and that had a big impact on me. The campus was in a big grand but decaying building with marble floors in the JHB city centre, which was amazing. Gabby and I decided to move overseas because we felt we should do it before we get too settled down. We want to travel, and see what kind of work opportunities we can get over here.

What are you working on at the moment?   I just finished a really cool job for the Screaming Beans in Amsterdam, they are opening a new branch next week, and needed some illustrations for their identity upgrade. It was art directed by Joachim Baan, a very cool Dutch designer. But right this second, nothing else too exciting.

What’s on your wish list?   1: To publish my first children’s book 2: LP cover for The Shins 3: Joh Del museum and theme park.

Do you collect anything?   Yes! I’m a big collector. I collect vinyl records, books, mainly classic children’s picture books. comics and natural history books, DVD’s, tiki and pacific island tropical furniture and stuff, African artifacts, pipes, old toys, fossils, skulls and mounted insects. Oh, and beer coasters, I have a very big collection of those, I love them, I can never have too many.

Who are your top 5 artists/designers?   1: Hayao Miyazaki 2: Rui Tenreiro 3: Lorcan White 4: The Eameses 5: Herge

Are you planning on returning to SA?   One can’t always plan these things, but Im pretty sure yes. South Africa is home. But having moved to 2 different countries in less than two years was a bit taxing on the body and mind. So Ill try to stay in one place for a bit.

Where are your favorite spots in JHB?   Bean There at 44Stanley, The Ant Cafe in Melville, Marks Park for a walk with the dogs. Rosebank Sunday market, some of my favorite Joburg places have closed down in the last few years.

Best places you have visited while living in Europe?   Neuschwanstein castle, Rothenburg ob der Tauber medieval town in Bavaria, Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin (biggest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world, insane), Paris: Le 404 restaurant, the Moroccan tea garden at the central Mosque, the Eiffel tower, its bloody amazing! Loos American bar in Vienna for an “old fashioned” and had a coffee at the Kleines Cafe, Munich, Brussels, Budapest fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert. Awesome city.

Netherlands: Volendam, Zaanse Schans, Utrecht: The Village (best coffee place) and Dick Bruna huis, Amsterdam: The most beautiful town I have ever been to! The places I have been to: Van Gogh and Rijks Museum, Screaming Beans, Salon Serpent, The Otherist, Pijpenkabinet Smokiana pipe shop and museum, Lambiek – famous comic book shop, De Nieuwe Anita, Cafe Chris, Cafe ‘t Aepjen, Spang Makandra the list can go on for ever! Too many good places to mention. London: Pacific Social Club, Yum yum caribbean cuisine in Lower Clapton Rd, Nobrow, Lucky Chip at Sebright Arms. Snoopers Paradise in Brighton- thrift store on roids.

See more from Johan here.

Portrait by Douglas Bower


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