Dutch Vegan Artist Ronn Kools

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Happy June, Vegalicious Humans!

Docga-Bowie-II

Coming to you from Brazil. This is my interview with Vegan artist Ronn Kools.

N: Hi Ronn, tell my readers about yourself.

R: I am a Dutch artist-illustrator who currently works on a series of animal ballpoint pen portraits with human characteristics in Brazil.

Veganism wasn’t new to me when I decided to stop eating animal proteins. As an artist you need to be open to “new” ideas and information. Some of my friends had been vegetarian and others vegan for years, but it was the documentary Cowspiracy which convinced me that we – people – need to start thinking differently about food.

N: How long have you been vegan? Who inspired you to go vegan?

R: I went vegan (only) about a year ago. It started out as a two month challenge together with my partner, after watching Cowspiracy. I wanted to do it for a while, but it was definitely easier doing it together. In the beginning we thought it might be more expensive, but it wasn’t at all. You simply buy different things. Loving to cook, and experimenting new recipes definitely helped. So, yes Cowspiracy definitely was my inspiration.

N: That’s Awesome! It’s definitely a powerful film! How has veganism changed your life? Any health improvements?

R: Veganism made me look at animals as other beings. I have always loved animals, but the human mind is so programed to see certain animals just as product providers instead of seeing them as our fellow beings on this planet.
Going vegan definitely had a positive impact on my health. I lost weight to start with. I sleep much better. And I don’t feel so stuffed anymore after a meal. I feel much better.

Skateroo

N: Tell us about your art? Has it changed since you went vegan? Did you draw animals before?

R: In 2015, I had my first solo exhibition (“Till Death Do Us Part”) in Recife, Brazil. It was a collection of realistic oil paintings about the feeling of missing people in our lives. The show was successful and got a lot of attention, but right after the opening I knew I wanted something different for the next step in my artistic career. The theme of my show was heavy, and I decided I wanted something lighter; something with a message, but still something that would put a smile on peoples faces.

Punk-Panda

I experimented with some ideas, but when I started sketching animals with human characteristics it all came together for me. The idea was, and still is, to present animals as other beings, with the hope that people will start treating them better. Most people simply smile when they see my animal portraits, and won’t have this direct connection right away, but I believe that subconsciously it will have some influence.

I experimented with some ideas, but when I started sketching animals with human characteristics it all came together for me. The idea was, and still is, to present animals as other beings, with the hope that people will start treating them better. Most people simply smile when they see my animal portraits, and won’t have this direct connection right away, but I believe that subconsciously it will have some influence.

Suusi-Kahlo-II

It’s also for this reason that I stepped out of the world of art galleries, and started looking for bigger platform to reach more people with this concept. This resulted in my portraits being printed on t-shirts, posters, stickers, mugs, pillows, and other products, which are now being sold by online stores such as Society6, Curioos, Redbubble, and DesignByHumans.

Strangely enough I wouldn’t say me going vegan has changed my art. I would say my art has helped me find veganism. It was the process before starting this series, as finding something close to my heart, something true to myself, and an idea I wanted to share with the world. Before this series the models for my work were mainly people. I did draw animals before, but never with a concept like this one.

N: I love your work and the playfulness of adding human characteristics to these beautiful animals. It also serves as a wonderful way of seeing ourselves in our animal friends and perhaps will give someone pause to think, “Hey, he/she looks a lot like me! Maybe I ought to not eat someone I have so much in common with?!”

N: What has the response been from your friends and family?

R: The response to the animal portraits has been amazing. Many people who buy the t-shirts send me a photo of them wearing them, or tag me when they show them wearing them on social media. Even actor-singer Hugh Sheridan send me a photo of him wearing his Pantherasta t-shirt, and actor Rafael de la Fuente send me one of him wearing his Don’t Pussy Me t-shirt on a night out in Hollywood.

Dont-Pussy-Me

R: The response I have received for going vegan is very mixed. A lot of narrow-minded people walk around with the idea that it’s not healthy, or bluntly joke about eating meat because they simply don’t want to accept what is happening to the animals before they have that dead piece of them before them on their plate. Other people respect it but say it’s just too difficult. I always tell them it’s one of the easiest things I have ever done in my life. But of course the best response you get is the response from people who are genuinely interested and want to try it for themselves; even if just for one or two days a week. It’s a start after all.

N: I completely agree with you. Even if it is just one or two days a week. That is a great start! How is it being vegan in your part of the world?

R: Being vegan is Brazil is not as easy as in some other parts of the world. I used to live in London, and my friends there tell me there are lots of options for vegans now. There are many vegan products for sale in supermarkets, and vegan restaurants everywhere, such as the very popular pizzeria Picky Wops.

It’s different in Brazil. The meat industry has a lot of influence in every corner of this country. They have established a very strong meat eating culture. You will hardly find any vegan products, except from your regular fruits and vegetables, in supermarkets here. For these products you will have to go to specific vegan stores. They sell everything a vegan could wish for, but they aren’t cheap. Far from it, but it is definitely a growing market. The meat industry might be strong in Brazil, but the free mind of the people will always be stronger.

My favorite place to get some vegan deliciousness from in Recife has to be Pizzeria Vesuvio, which has a few amazing vegan pizzas on their menu.
In a few weeks I will travel The Netherlands. I always look forward to seeing what different kind of options my home country has to offer.

N: That’s a great point, Ronn, “…the free mind of the people will always be stronger!” I’m about to head to Denmark, I always look forward to seeing what changes have been made in my home country since I was there last in the vegan department.

If someone wants to purchase your art or see more of your work, how can they get a hold of you?

Here are some links:

instagram: ronn.kools.artist

Tumblr: http://ronnkools.tumblr.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ronnkoolsart
Curioos: https://www.curioos.com/ronnkools

Society6: https://society6.com/ronnkools

To those out there who have questions about my work, or being vegan, or to those who would like me to create a portrait of their favorite animal, please send me a message on Facebook, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Finally, to those out there who still believe it’s to difficult to go vegan, just give yourself the two month challenge. Everybody can do two months, right?!

Enjoy the experience.

Yours,

Ronn Kools

N: Ronn, Thank you so much for sharing your Amazing artwork and thoughts with me and my readers! I greatly appreciate it!  

If you’re interested in reading more stories like this one go to “search” and look up “Two Years of Plant-Based Interviews”

 

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About urbanveganchic

I'm an urban chic woman, who is passionate about educating others about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based vegan diet, cancer prevention & survival, as well as art & life. I love adventures and travel. As an artist and a teacher, I care deeply about healthy living, being a conscious steward of our planet, and being kind & respectful towards animals. Learning about a vegan plant-based diet has been like discovering a new country and falling in love with it, so if I sound like I'm enamored you now know why! As a world traveler, I truly wish I had discovered this beautiful new country twenty years ago! Better late than never, as they say, cause there's no going back now! Born and raised in Scandinavia. Proud owner of a tripod cat & a foxy little pup. Speak four languages...some better than others. Working on the fifth one. We are all either part of the problem or the solution! Health & Happiness to you! ~UrbanVeganChic

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