Erik Kessels

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Be ridiculously creative – get inspired by Erik Kessels.


During this talk we will hear Erik Kessels discuss his theory that work is no longer spontaneous. It’s all about order, rules, and executions. Don’t you remember why you started doing what you do? Because you felt an inescapable and burning desire to do it. What was that feeling? Your gut or instinct? Either way, your actions led to success. Beginner’s luck? No, that is pure amateur right there. What happened to it? Why’d you lose it? Amateurism is a muscle that needs exercise. If not, you lose it. A gym for the mind. No structure. No order.


Erik is a dutch graphic designer, advertising manager, editor, collector, exhibition curator and artist. In his projects, Kessels pays close attention to the most popular or trivial forms of photography. Such as family albums and commercial documentation, which would normally be rejected by canon-defining museums. But, by taking advantage of the extraordinary amount and availability of images, Kessels sifts through and recycles materials that are no longer needed.


He has been Creative Partner of KesselsKramer in Amsterdam/London for over 25 years. He has won many international awards with his work in communication. Kessels has published over 75 books of his ‘re-appropriated’ images. For example, Wonder (2003), in almost every picture (2001-2019), Shit (2018) and Read Naked (2019). Since 2000, he has been an editor of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography. Erik has also written the international bestseller Failed It!