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Hotels with big beds and magical white sheets. ALWAYS.

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Louise lives in Antwerp. She is a visual artist / designer and shared some of her dreamiest artworks with us. We talked to Louise about her daily rituals in her freelance life and sleeping habits.

MAY 2015
ANTWERP, BELGIUM

ARTWORK: LOUISE MERTENS
TAKE A LOOK AT LOUISE'S WORK ON HER WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE.

INTERVIEW: VM

I always liked to think that all the creatures that we dont see during the day, are wide awake, doing their thing, eating, walking around, sometimes on top of us, around us.

LOUISE SLEEPING, AROUND 1991

What are you doing during the day?
I run a studio focussing on visual arts, that’s how I like to call it as I practice different things. I’m mostly working for clients, creating visual identities, campaigns, photos, lookbooks, editorials, etc. A typical day for me starts with breakfast in front of my computer (bad habit) and answering E-mails until there is almost no time left to design (I need to find a solution to this problem). On days I’m not working for clients, I create artworks which I exhibit and sell. Believe it or not, but arranging all this this takes a lot of time as well so I try to combine these as much as possible. 

What time do you usually get up? Are you an early bird? 
As I work freelance/self-employed, I can kind of choose. But I’m a very enthusiastic morning person so I would say I usually get up around 8:30 - 9am.

How does your alarm sound?
It’s the iphone-constellation-sound. I hate it now but I loved it for a long time. I have an alarm-light on my wishlist that lights up like a sun and wakes you up with bird-sounds.

What are the first things you do in the morning?
Getting dressed and making up our bed & room. Kind of neurotic but I like to have a calm, clean and organized bedroom. I’m an evening shower-person so that’s mostly done. I start working very quickly with breakfast and tea. 

Do you like having breakfast? And what do you have?
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I LOVE having a croissant with strawberry jam and fresh orange juice. I also like greek yoghurt with granola. I eat a lot of bananas and when we have it at home, I’m a corn-flakes eater.

Any breakfast or brunch places in Antwerp you recommend?
Antwerp: BLT (Brunch Lunch Tapas), Biobakker (Volstraat): it’s a very cozy, French-feel bakery with a nice wood-interior where you can eat, Dansing Chocola (Kloosterstraat): my alltime favorite place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This one is very Belgian.


What time of the day are you most productive or creative? 
Sometimes extremely early in the morning but mostly at night-time. When I’m home alone, I can have these nights where I would start relaxing time on my laptop but suddenly I get this creative vibe and ideas and I just start and I can work for hours straight. It goes with a glass of red wine, in my living room, very cozy, maybe it’s a helping factor, I should try making this environment during the day!

Do you think you get enough sleep?
Yes, I don’t need a lot of sleep. 7 to 8 hours are perfect. Less is also fine, for a few days at least. The longer I sleep, the more tired and unproductive I am during the day.

How do you recharge and get ideas for new projects?

​Difficult question. I have a huge archive with inspiration from a lot of things, moslty non-design-stuff. I get a lot of inspiration from art, art installations, materials, fabrics, movies or impressions even. From weird stuff basicly. I save these images so I won’t forget the ideas or details that inspired me. I feel that my imaginary world is still so big, I can go on for a few more years even without inspiration. But I guess we all get inspired without even knowing by the most unexpected things.

Where do you sleep best?
Hotels with big beds and magical white sheets. ALWAYS. (I never sleep in hotels so it’s still very exciting to me) I like to sleep in my own bed, in a dark place with zero light, where it’s kind of cold and quiet. 

Any rituals before going to bed? 
I can’t go to sleep without cleaning my face and put layers of body-lotion on it. It’s a feeling. I often get a head massage from my boyfriend. For him, it’s the only way I will shut up during watching TV, a movie or a documentary and for me it’s the only thing that completely relaxes me.

Do you remember your dreams?
​Not often. I love having erotic dreams, the ones where you wake up and try to go back to it but you can’t. I had a nightmare (or was it real…) that I remember! I dreamt I was in my own bed, which I was so it could have been real and my boyfriend was watching a movie and I felt something evil coming and then I saw it, standing next to him, and I wanted to move and scream but I was locked in my own body and I couldn't make any sound, like I was paralyzed. After that I woke up and I told him and he told me I was making the weirdest (trying to yell) soft sounds. Afterwards I saw this creepy documentary on netflix where people had the same thing… I try not to investigate this devilish-nightmare.

Ever had an idea in a dream that you brought to real life?
Not that I remember. I could make it up but I’m too honest. 

What do you wear while sleeping? 
Actually yes. In Winter, I need to wear a lot cause I can't stand the cold but a pijama is so unattractive so I try to buy nice, silky ones that still look pretty so I feel like a movie star when going to bed. In summertime I sleep naked, it’s the best feeling ever and less laundry. Movie stars also sleep naked.

Describe your bed in 3 words.
Extremelysmall, white, dwarfbed.

The most memorable spot you’ve ever fallen asleep?
Airplane-seat. I know most people sleep there, but to see myself falling asleep in an airplane seat, I call that a miracle. It’s the most difficult place in the world to fall asleep. It happened once. (probably during a 13 hour flight where there were no babies aboard, also a miracle).

What do you think happens when we sleep?
I always liked to think that all the creatures that we dont see during the day, are wide awake, doing their thing, eating, walking around, sometimes on top of us, around us.

How many sheep do you count?
Zero, I only go to sleep when I can’t open my eyes anymore, I never force myself. I just can’t. When i wake up at night, I just get up, do things. I read that’s actually the best thing to do.

If you could choose, what do you want to dream about tonight?
It’s been a long time since I’ve had an erotical dream. Let’s hope for tonight.

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