A chat with

Michaël Jovanović

By day, Michaël is a graphic designer at …,staat. By night, he’s a quarter of creative collective WHATCHAMACALLIT where art, design & experience intertwine. They focus on co-creation, resulting into parties, books and exhibitions.


In 2018 Michaël graduated from the University of the Arts in Utrecht. Shortly after he started as a graphic designer at ...,staat and worked on some cool projects, including the design for the ‘FC Barkas’ football shirts for the movie Catacombe👌

Here's a selection of Michaël's work:

Spasite ot syda by Michaël Jovanović  
Erode the rock by Michaël Jovanović
Mif by Michaël Jovanović
The Saints Have Eyes by Michaël Jovanović
DE DISCOTHEEK by Michaël Jovanović
Sins-'N'-Pains by Michaël Jovanović
Sins-'N'-Pains by Michaël Jovanović
Sins-'N'-Pains by Michaël Jovanović

Hi Michaël, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! For starters, what led you into this creative career?

My dad’s an artist and luckily, my family always really encouraged me to express myself. It wasn’t easy for me growing up, so I used painting as an outlet to get through tough times. In an urge to get a ‘real job’, I actually trained as a chef, but I couldn’t deny my creative side. I don’t think I could handle the uncertainty of the tortured artist life, so eventually realised that graphic design was the perfect combination of creativity and control.


Where do you find inspiration?

The web is the best rabbit hole to fall down. I read anthropology books, 'cause I’m fascinated about societal structures. I get triggered by something and put a pin in it. After a while, I’ll come back and make connections, or forget about it altogether.


Can you show us how your work space looks like?

Here's the view from my desk at ...,staat:


How do you conquer a creative block?

Breathe. Take a step back. Leave it for a few days. At work, deadlines mean that it isn’t always so easy, but going for a walk always helps.


What gives you energy outside of work?

Wandering around the city, or somewhere else, with a camera or someone with a hand to hold.


What are your 3 favourite spots in The Netherlands?

1. Athenaeum Boekhandel, Amsterdam – the best place to discover books and magazines

2. Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam – if you want to question your way of thinking

3. Mezrab, Amsterdam – the most welcoming environment you'll find about anywhere


What are your 3 favourite Instagram accounts?

1. @pouriakhojastehpay – he does insane research into the criminal underworld in Tehran and elsewhere


2. @bylennardkok – a minimalist illustrator with a great sense of humour


3. @bray-kevin – his 3D work is like nothing I've seen before


Any cool projects you're working on right now?

WHATCHAMACALLIT has an event coming up with the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. It's a one-night-only takeover and it's gonna be life-changing. Not that I like to exaggerate, or anything.


What have you recently seen that you think is great creative work?

Bendt Eyckermans is a Belgian painter and his use of colour and light hypnotises me. His work is kind of surreal and full of narrative. I can drown in his paintings.

Bendt Eyckermans, ‘Where we will meet’, Oil on linen, 180 x 130 cm

Can you give one piece of advice to young creatives?

Be your own biggest fan and don't let the man get you down.


Thanks a lot for your time and your answers! If you want to know more about Michaël and his work, check his website or Instagram.