Stories A Source of Inspiration From the Belgian Coast
Julie Saverys spends much of her time at the seaside in Knokke, Belgium. This is the place where she creates art with her sister Olivia as they work on their upcoming third exhibition together in August. When she’s not at the sea, she’s in Antwerp working as a freelance graphic designer and videographer in the fashion industry. Just as she’s always been drawn to the beauty of the sea, she was also instantly attracted to Cowboy. The bike is her preferred mode of transport, cycling to every job assignment and shoot location. Struck by the design of the bike and the in-app navigation and speedometer, the self-professed gadget head told us that after she first tried it she thought, “I’ve gotta have one. I have to go with Cowboy to every job I have.
Where am I finding you today? I’m at the seaside. Knokke, on the Belgian coast.
Are you there often? I like to make art with my sister. We get our inspiration at the seaside. It’s where we grew up. We didn't live here, but every weekend we came here to the beach house. We like to swim in the sea, to look at the sea, to walk at the beach...we have a strong connection to it. Every art piece, every idea starts here at the seaside.
What medium do you work with? Photography and spray paint on canvas. We also have pieces with confetti that we make ourselves. We make confetti for 20 hours or more for one art piece. And we do that together. And while we do that, it's here. We look at the sea, and we have talks, deep talks between two sisters together. A lot of people say, "Why don't you just let a factory do your confetti?" But the problem is when you have party confetti, they're not really round. It's not a beautiful circle. So we make it ourselves and we like it that way.
Well then it’s more yours. It’s more personal. Yeah, that’s also true.
How did this come about? When did you start creating together? Actually, a long time ago, I had one art piece of mine hanging here in this house and one friend said, “Would you sell this picture?" And I didn't want to sell it. But then, there were more people asking about works that I make. And my sister and I like to go somewhere and take photos together. We don't just take the picture itself, it’s also with a graphic design to it. We have two things that tie everything together—inspiration of the sea and four colors that we always use.
What are the four colors? Yellow, cobalt blue, orange, and turquoise green.
How did you choose these colors? It was my sister, I think. We started trying combinations, and one day we had the perfect combination of those four colors and from that day we stuck with it. So we didn't change. Now it's not in our minds to change it ever. But hey, you never know.
Is art your sole focus together or do you have other things on the side? We have stuff on the side. We have two days that we go and do our jobs and then we just come together here and create. My sister is a dentist. I’m a freelance videographer and graphic designer. That is the link to Cowboy because I am always on the move. Every shoot location or meeting or any place I have to be, I take my Cowboy with me.
Yes, let’s talk about Cowboy for a bit. How did you come across Cowboy and how long have you had the bike? Well, it’s funny because I bought it here at the seaside! They were at a beach club nearby. There were cocktails, everybody was having fun trying out these bikes on the boardwalk. The sun was shining and I thought, “I've gotta have one. I have to go with Cowboy to every job I have.”
"For me, it's quite a boy bike, but that's the thing I liked about it. That's what's cool about it...it's a bit rough, a bit cowboy."
When was this? Last summer. I live in Antwerp. Most of my jobs are in fashion and a lot of things are happening in Antwerp. There it’s crazy, the traffic, finding parking spots...I hate it. So every day I take my bike to every job I have. The bike is my mobile office.
So your bike is mostly to go from point A to B or are you ever exploring with it? I also use it here in summer or in winter. I go and bike here just to get inspired, to have wind in my hair and go for it. To smell the sea and de-stress. When I come to the seaside, I just put (the bike) in the back of my car. That’s the fun thing about it for girls with an electric bike, it’s lightweight.
Does your sister have a Cowboy? No, but she’s really jealous of it. [laughter]
You get a lot of attention with the bike, I’m guessing? Yeah. I have when I'm biking on the boardwalk here. People don't see that it's an electric bike so they are looking like, "Whoa, that girl is going really fast with her bike," but it's just because it's electric, nobody notices that. So that's a cool thing. Yeah, I think it’s really cool. You can just do your own thing and pass everyone by.
I think you’re one of the few women with the bike. What attracted you to it? For me it's quite a boy bike, but that's the thing I liked about it. That's why I wanted it. That’s what's cool about it...it's a bit rough, a bit cowboy. Also when I was young I really liked gadgets. And now every gadget, I just have to have it. I'm always attracted to things that are beautiful, so I like that Cowboy put so much work into the design of the bike.
When you first tried it, though, tell me about that moment beyond the aesthetic. What was your impression? First, it's like a motorcycle. When you push you just jump into it. It's directly boosts. That was the thing that I liked, like whoa, I'm just going. But I really like the design. I'm a disaster in finding my way so I directly bought the gadget to dock my phone on the bike for the GPS. I wouldn't have bought the bike just by itself. Now I'm using it, like in Antwerp when I have to find an address I put it in the Cowboy app and then I just find my way.
So in addition to being the kind of cool connected gadget, is there anything in the app you appreciate the most? Yeah. It's cool to see how fast you're going. I also like to look for my bike and turn on the lights. From far away, I say to my friends, ‘See, there is my bike.’ And from a few meters away I turn on the lights. It's like what I already said, it's like a motorcycle or something.
Thinking about your life separate from the bike, what's been a particular cowboy move in your life? Or a moment that you felt your inner cowgirl kick in? The cowboy move in my life was to start a job I didn't even study for. While I just got my masters in Interior Architecture, my passion from when I was a kid was to create and to make videos and pictures of everything I see. My dream was to make a career out of my hobby. I started as a freelance photographer and graphic designer. I could fail, or I could jump into it and go for it.
Soon I managed to schedule my week and have assignments that fit me. Every day is a new adventure on a different location and I meet a lot of interesting and creative people along the way. The biggest advantage is I have the time to make art and to brainstorm new ideas whenever I want. My dream is to be with my sister all the time and to create more.
Thank you for sharing your story with me, Julie. No worries. It’s nice meeting you.