Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am Stefan Cools and I’m a botanist. As a botanist I mainly work with plants. Recently you can find more often animals in my work too. I started studying floral design and after this I did a master degree in Vught. The master course in Vught is a very renowned place for botanists. After my graduation I went abroad to study the behaviour of the bower birds in Australia. From then I took my first steps in the art world.
As a son of a father who is teacher in classics (Latin) I started to learn at an early age about myths and legends that often are related to plants and animals. These stories and knowledge about plants and animals are often the starting point of my works nowadays.
What would you consider your distinctive achievement?
Currently I am working on my butterfly project that is now on show at ramfoundation in cooperation with Tuin op de Pier, Lloydkwartier Rotterdam. I think that this is one of my best projects so far.
In this project, all the knowledge of my background comes together. I tell the story of the butterfly, I use the red liquid that comes from the cocoons as a pigment and perform research on how the butterflies can be used in the horticulture.
In this project are all the senses are triggered, you can see, hear and smell!
What are the qualities needed to be an entrepreneur?
I think that you always have to reinvent yourself at the end of the year, to rethink about your goals. The goal itself is not important to me, it’s the journey to the goal that I believe it is important.
What are you looking forward to?
The most important thing I want to give to the audience as well to myself is to go every day into nature, to see things, experience things, be curious, just like a child. If I can give this experience to the audience, my goal is reached.
Which advice would you give to the other professionals?
I think that whatever you do, your starting point must be yourself. What do you really want to do. For example I wanted to be in nature. I was looking for a way how I could combine my hobby of growing plants with my work. After a long and sometimes difficult journey, I think that I can say that I’m now doing what I always wanted to do. Working in and with nature and everyday again, wonder myself about the beauty of nature.
And I must say that feels very good.
What are the challenges that we need to overcome to make ‘cultural entrepreneurship’ more accessible?
People ask me, are you biologist, artist or botanist? Is it important I ask them. I think that the name that we give to ourself isn’t important at all. Often the name that we gave to ourself is something that holds us back. I think your work has to be personal and you have to be passionated about it. The hardest part is to communicate your passion and make it understandable for people.