The first thing someone might notice about Martijn Rijven is that he has a very Dutch name but also a pronounced cockney English accent, reminiscent of Bert from Mary Poppins. No telling if he gets the same ribbing Dick Van Dyke did for years about his accent for that role, but it seems to have similarly ambiguous roots.
Martijn was born in Rotterdam to Dutch parents but his dad's job moved them to St. Lucia when Martijn was less than a year old. His formative language years were spent with West Indian nannies and listening to BBC World News, which is his theory behind his distinct way of speaking. It's unclear if BBC World News also gave him his colorful vocabulary of curse words, but likely not.
Martijn is a illustrative designer and the man behind Boltgraphics, working for a range of clients on graphic design, typography and art direction. He's a skilled illustrator as well, which is a reflection of his "unavoidable, almost compulsive passion for drawing. I spend a good three hours a day drawing," he says. He began drawing at a young age when, as a slight "problem child," his parents would send him to his room and he was perfectly content with a piece of paper and a pencil.
Otherwise fairly stoic, his utter glee is clear when you get him talking about drawing - his true passion and pleasure. In fact, he hand drew the illustration for every single Cropbox label today, meaning you each get a unique, special-edition drawing to accompany your lunch! He didn't complain once either.
But, charmingly prone to circuitous tangents, he spoke to us about much more than just drawing. Below are some of his thoughts on life, laid out in true Martijn style, that is... kind of all over the show :)
On how to approach solutions to problems:
"The solution has to be in the problem. When it comes to my work [of developing brands for companies], I really have to research the client, what they do and how they do it. It all has to come from them. You have to figure out who they are and what parts of that you want to show them.
"And you can't really work from an archive. If you consider every problem to be unique, they all have a unique solution. Of course you can learn from experience but you don't want to repeat yourself because it's boring. If you try to simplify your work too much, you kill it."
On the type of art and artists that inspires him:
"I like anarchic kind of stuff, art that undermines the very idea of art. The Chapman brothers for example. Or Damien Hirst with his crystal skull - "For the Love of God." He took a human skull and encrusted it in diamonds then sold it for a ton of money. He was sticking it to rich people in a sense, like 'Even with all your money, we're still all just skulls, we're all going to die anyway.'"
On why more artists should be pricks:
"There's nothing more boring than a safe, loveable, huggable artist. Who gives a shit?
"If anyone can be outside any sort of social norm, I think it's almost obligatory for an artist to do that. I mean if you look at David Bowie, he wasn't just trying to do something really cool, he was also trying to do something really cool that no one had ever done before. He was trying to be outside of everything, looking for that space outside. He did whatever the fuck he wanted, with no apologies.
"Don't get me wrong, no one gets special permission to be a dick head. But I think if there is a role for artists it's to stretch the boundaries of acceptableness because that gives society space to grow into. I think it's part of their job.
"Weirdos are important. I really appreciate other people having the courage and the drive to just go for it."
On Dutch liberalism:
"There is a misconception about Dutch people being liberal. They used to be a lot more liberal but now it's more indifference than anything else. It's not so much that they would like to see people express themselves, it's more like 'You can do whatever the fuck you want, just don't bother me.' It's not really the same thing."
The idea getting him through life right now:
"Nothing is eternal and everything flows."
In the box today:
Black and white colors reflect Martijn's view that much of life is black and white; Caribbean flavors are inspired by his childhood spent in St. Lucia; the classic Dutch cheesy baked witlof is a nod to his Dutch hertiage; and the sensual, juicy avocado and fig salad is because he loves drawing curvy, generous lady parts.
Savoury black rice pudding with braised purple carrots, leeks and rum-soaked raisins
Topped with crunchy West Indian dukkah
Caribbean "lobster tail" aubergine with jerk sauce
Witlof met kaas uit de oven
Voluptious avocado, fig and rocket salad