Decorating the baby room is serious business. Well to me it was. Because I absolutely didn’t wanted a standard baby room with boring white furniture or a copy of a picture as seen in a magazine or on pinterest. I thought: common mommy let’s be a bit more creative and style it your own way.
As I didn’t know what gender my baby was (the father and I called him/her BUD: baby under development) I chose colours that are not typical for a boy or girl. And as I love nature (especially mountains) I wanted to make a little mountain house for my baby, so with nature colours. After going to the construction market for I think a hundred times wondering which colour to pick, I eventually painted (well ok the dad did most of the work) Buddies room green and orange. It looked awesome in combination with the wooden floor.
The next step, getting furniture, was even harder. I went to many drift stores in the city to look after a cool closet and commode. It took me hours and a lot of frustration and I almost decided to buy something online at one of the well-known stores, but luckily I got paid for my patience, because eventually I found a super cool vintage commode at a temporary vintage store of De Verbaasde Ree at Zwaanshals and a small closet at Spullen voor in je Huis, an awesome vintage store in Blijdorp. And guess what, both furniture where the exact same style, but bought in different stores. I was utterly trilled by these finds: score!
The dad thought the closet was way to small, but I wasn’t suppose to buy a lot of clothes for the baby as they will fit in it for only a couple of weeks. So and guess what, eventually everything fits in the commode and closet. I mean a baby doesn’t need hundred of shirts, pants and dresses. My neither, by the way. I really try buying a little less. And when buying, most of the time I buy vintage or something that is made/produced locally. It’s not because it’s trendy or something, but I just like stuff with a story behind it. Because I love, love, love stories.
So let me tell you the story behind Roenoe Art. I found out about these cute little drawings for baby and child rooms after I finished Buddies (btw it was a she and her name is Rosalie, or just Roos) room, but I think it’s a really cool gift for friends that are expecting a baby. And when you know the story behind Roenoe, I’m sure you like the paintings even more. And also you have a cool story to tell when you give a Roenoe as a present :)
Like me Renee van Drunen (31), the girl behind Roenoe art (Roenoe is a nickname friends gave her), would love to live in the woods one day (well actually I would miss the city to much I guess, but I would love to have a second house in the woods on a mountain in France) But for now Rotterdam is fine as well. Renee lives in a characteristic old house in Rotterdam-West that she totally styled in her own way.
We meet on Saturday morning. Renee opens the door: blond hair, baby blue eyes, a million dollar smile, wearing a black tiny summer dress with pineapple and watermelon pattern, her nails red painted. Although we are almost the same age and have common Facebook friends we have never met before. I have ‘heard’ about Roenoe art via Instagram, because some of our mutual friends shared pictures of Renee standing at last weekends Swan Market selling her paintings. As I thought they where awesome I contacted Renee via Instagram for an interview. And here we are.
After handing me a glass of water we sit down in her cosy backyard. Renee: ,,As a kid I always made drawings together with my sister. I’m not a good learner but as I thought I needed a diploma I followed the crowd. Eventually I did a lot of studies and didn’t end one. So I end up working and had a lot of different careers. I never really knew what to do until I started drawing again.’’
She posted some of here drawings on Facebook. Marco Buitenwijk, manager of the famous café Witte Aap, saw one of them and asked Renee 5 years ago to expose her drawings during the festival Wereld van de Witte de With. These days she painted woman portraits but also famous Rotterdam buildings like the Euromast, Kubuswoningen and de Hef. ,,I was surprised seeing people really liked my paintings.’’
It’s a little girl’s dream come true for Renee, because give her felt-tip pens, markers, drawing pencils and a blank sheet of paper and she is as happy as a child. She already starts drawing from a young age. Formerly with her sister, now a lone at her own drawing table. Totally absorbed in thought, she can spend her creative thoughts on a sheet of paper at home for hours and hours while listening to good music. “Once I am busy, I can even forget to eat, I go all the way.”
The wall behind her drawing table in her home studio is covered with her own work. From a portrait of Jules Deelder drawn with felt-tip pens, to a toucan with a colorful sombrero on his head. Thanks to a huge babyboom in her girlfriends group, Renee nowadays mainly draws colorful animals. ,, Really all my friends gave birth in the past six months. I was looking for an original gift and then I decided to make paintings for the baby’s room and my friends where actually very enthusiastic about it. ”
The child paintings like the hand-drawn rabbit wrapped in a yellow skirt, a panda bear with a straw hat on his head and an owl with a scarf and hat on his head are digitally manipulated by Renee herself after leaving the drawing table. ,, Before I wanted to finish the drawings, I scanned them, because I was afraid to damage them. Then suddenly the idea crossed my mind adding graphic designs with a drawing program. That makes it even more original. ”
And actually it’s true. The graphic designs give the paintings a little extra. Renee’s funny animals are not to childlike and not goody-goody in my opinion. I hope she will find a store soon where she can sell her Roenoe’s, as you now only can order them online. But I like seeing them in reallife. So store owners, give Renee a cool spot in town so she realy can make her dream come true.
(Renee was futured in my weekly column Nultien Eigen Kweek of AD-Rotterdams Dagblad, 4 augustus 2018.)