In november 2015 I got an e-mail from novum magazine saying they wanted to print an article about my work. In the issue of february 2016 they included a 6 page article with pictures of my work and this short bio:
Peter Kortleve, alias Shortlife, grew up in the small town of Wijhe in the east of the Netherlands and most of his spare time was spent on three things: listening to music (thanks to his father, who is a Beatles fan), playing guitar (he’s a big Springsteen admirer) and drawing. He may not have made it as far as John Lennon or The Boss in the music world, but in drawing his talent has certainly taken him a long way.
When it came to deciding what to do with his life, it was Peter Kortleve’s parents that suggested he study graphic design. "I had never heard of graphic design, so my father handed me a few print products and said – that’s what a graphic designer does. So, I went along to the design college in Zwolle and saw I saw some drawing of packages. Immediately I knew that that was what I wanted to do. So, thanks mum and dad!", says Peter Kortleve. All through his studies he remained fascinated by drawing and typography, although of course he learned about much else besides. After graduating and starting his first job in an advertising agency, the euphoria of this young creative was dampened: "There wasn’t much drawing to do – no sketches, nothing. There was no time for it. It was all about getting things done fast and cashing in the money. I did that for fifteen years and learned how to work speedily, but also how quality was so often sacrificed. In the end some people — including my dad — began encouraging me to start up on my own, although I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. Not until 2011 that is — then I had a completely different idea of how I should be working with clients, and right in the middle of the economic crisis, I was fired. That proved to be the perfect opportunity to take the decisive step."
Finally Peter Kortleve could do what he really wanted to do – he took decisions intuitively and in most cases that intuition proved right, as he was able to see later. "I am a designer in heart and soul — I just love helping people with my work. Also every project I do must be something I can add to my portfolio — and in 90% that’s the case. My main concern is to support my family with my work and to be able to pay my bills. When passion and quality are top priorities, then the money follows." This Dutch creative is certainly not complaining about a lack of commissions — nor about a lack of variety. Packaging, CI's and posters, all sensitively implemented using careful typography and charming illustrations. So, what of his plans for the future? "I have just moved to a new studio, a real studio with a room where I can do screenprinting, but I don’t have enough stuff yet. Apart from that I just hope that I can stay happy and successful, and become as old and wise as Milton Glaser, and still be designing. I just love it."