Harmen Liemburg

When beginning his work for this collection, Harmen Liemburg stared down at the two blank slipmats he was invited to design and saw the north and south poles. Not a surprising vision from a man who began his career in the art world with a degree in cartography and geography. These days you won’t find Liemburg’s work in any rest stops or gas stations, but his keen mapmaker’s eye for detail is more than apparent in his work as a graphic designer and silkscreen printmaker. Take a quick stroll through the Amsterdam-based artist’s catalog, and you’ll find yourself at the strange and beautiful intersection of nature-inspired traditional Japanese woodcut prints and modern Japanese Kawaii [Cute] culture. Adorable smiling characters frolic in the waves with whales and giant squid in Liemburg’s prints, which owe as much to Japanese print master Katsushika Hokusai as they do to the creative minds at the Sanrio Corporation. As disparate in scale as it is in influence, you can find Liemburg’s inimitable printwork silkscreened onto the glass façades of two buildings inhabited by the Dutch tax service, as well as printed on special charity stamps commissioned by the Dutch postal service. Most recently Liemburg has been lecturing to rapt American design students as an artist in residence at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and at Northeastern University in Boston.