February 17, 2021 Mr Crown

Featured Artist on 21ISM

You have already enjoyed MrCrown’s work, even if you’re not aware of it.

He came to our rescue around the time we launched the 21ism Graphic Novel. He had seen and loved the comic but was so appalled by our attempt at a quick site, set up for the sale of the graphic novel, that he took it upon himself to reach out and bless us with his skills. Together we have since then gone in harder and harder on providing the best Bitcoin inspired creative content we can find.

Apart from being one of the 21ism corner stones he is also a prolific artist. His art site 21hodl.com is full of beautiful prints of his work.

Somewhere in The Netherlands, I’m guessing around the end of the 1980’s or the beginning of the ’90’s, MrCrown made his debut on the world stage to a small audience of two.

Raised in an open-minded and freedom focused household, his independence was fostered right from the early years. Encouraged to think for himself, free to make his own mistakes and discovering his natural talents through pure exploration, the seeds that would grow and nourish his endeavours in decades to come were sown early.

Right from the beginning he showed a love for art and creative expression. Months on end were spent drawing feverishly and when computers were later introduced to the household by his technophile father, MrCrown moved his attention from pen and paper to early versions of Photoshop and Illustrator.

Another early influence on his life was his grandfather who had grown up in a very different country. The Holland of the Second World War. His grandfather’s impressive collection of war memorabilia, documentaries, photos and scale models made a huge impression on young MrCrown and together they would visit museums, war time bunkers etc.

Like MrCrown I too grew up with a grandparent with experience of wartime Holland. It was tough. Really tough. I know how it marks generations to come. My grandmother used to tell me about how her and her siblings had to dig the ground for roots and nuts to eat. How they would spend days starving. How two of her brothers had been executed for being part of the resistance.

Like MrCrown, I too grew up with a sense of what my ancestors had gone through in order for me to enjoy my freedom. It sets your course – your moral compass – from early on in your life and gives you a framework from which to navigate and make decisions.

These two different areas of early interest were to hold the coordinates for where MrCrown would be headed later on in life.

As soon as he was old enough, his inbuilt drive for justice and freedom lead him to signing up for the Dutch army. After doing his training and going on training and peace keeping missions around the world he was eventually sent to Afghanistan. It was an experience that was going to change his life. Despite the country having been at war for decades he was struck by the true beauty of the landscape and nature in Afghanistan. Crumbling buildings and infrastructure, people living in abject poverty and with the threat of unpredictable volatility and yet MrCrown still thinks it’s the most beautiful country he has ever seen. Having spent a lot of time in a densely populated European country he was surprised by how detailed and crystal clear the night sky is if you travel far enough away to experience it.

While remembering the immense beauty he witnessed there, he also still carries the memories of the viscerally ugly side of war. It doesn’t take some kind of vivid, childlike imagination to imagine the things one might experience whilst being in the middle of a war zone.
Deliberately, I was careful not to pry or ask too many probing questions about this side of his military experience but MrCrown volunteers a story about being out on patrol and seeing the jeep in front of his driving into an IED and blowing up. He remembers seeing their bodies right next to his vehicle and desperately wanting to help his comrades. He recalls the frustration of not being able to do anything as his buddies were lying there because there was a risk of possible attacks or other unexploded IEDs near by.

“The memories will always be there! They are moments you will never ever forget. It was so frustrating I couldn’t help him.“
Mr Crown

It was a relief to finally get back home. You get to see your family, your friends. You no longer have to walk around with your weapons everywhere. No longer have to follow orders. All of a sudden you have to do all the practical things like cooking, shopping and washing your clothes yourself. Everything is all of a sudden “back to normal” and easy going. The complete antithesis to war.

Personally I have never been in the military, let alone war, but I can imagine that coming home might not truly feel like coming home. Or at least that home isn’t what it was before you left because you are now a product of everything you have seen, felt and smelt while away in a war zone. Some things will never be unseen and will leave a mark on your should as long as you’re alive.

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