Illustrated Tapes 122: Let’s Get Old

Curated by Ellis Tolsma

Ellis is an illustrator and animator based between Hilversum and Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Hey Ellis. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

Hi! I really wanted to make a tape about growing up and getting to know and accept yourself more – accepting who you are, how the world is and enjoying the small parts in life. I’m 24 now and I realized that a lot of people struggle with finding their place in the world at this age. I picked out some songs that fit the idea of growing up and finding yourself. Or that’s at least how I interpret the songs. Some are more upbeat and fun and some feel more nostalgic. I think that’s a good mix of feelings to have while growing up and getting to be an adult. There’s a lot of freedom and nice experiences that come with it, but also a lot of self-doubt and worry. I wanted to make a playlist that captured both.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

I really wanted to make a layered illustration. I thought it would be nice to feature a dancer in the middle who grows outward. I wanted to experiment so I printed a lot of riso-layers on top of each other, and afterwards I scanned in all the riso-layers and edited everything in Photoshop. I really wanted the layers to symbolize growth and growing up, someone who grows outward with experience. The older you get the more confident you get and you also go through a lot of new experiences. All those experiences make up the new you, so I wanted to make a cover that reflects that.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

I really love all the videos from Faux Real, those are super fun and not too serious which I really like. I love the videos from the new Marina album as well, I think her art direction is always really strong.

‘Kindred Spirit’ [music video] – Faux Real
2020, Believe Music
Dir: Faux Real

Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land – MARINA
2021, Atlantic / Crush Music

The cover for Unfree by Ella Grace is really beautiful. I also love @meinhass_archives on instagram, who designs a lot of strong music covers. I recently came across this amazing video clip, made by printing a lot of riso frames! I really loved that, since I’m also experimenting with animated risoprints. It’s also one of the songs on the playlist!

‘Unfree’ [single]– Ella Grace
Artwork: Meneer Heirman

What did you listen to growing up?

When I was growing up I listened to a lot of music. Not really anything cool, a lot of kids music when I was really young and when I got older I got to that ‘emo’ phase so I listened a lot to those kinds of bands, haha. I’ve also always liked 80s music a lot, which is probably because my parents played that in the living room.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

At the moment Aurora’s new song ‘Cure For Me.’ I really love the message and Aurora as an artist is really great.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

At the moment I'm working on a colorful, illustrative campaign for a client. As for personal work, I’m really liking creating items for my webshop ( I would also love to bring out my own tarot deck, but at the moment I'm really busy with other projects so that project is now delayed. :)