On my third morning in Amsterdam, I woke up early and took the ferry from the Central Station to Noord, a Northern borough of the city. It was a two minute ride, but when I emerged I felt like I'd landed in a different world, with houses painted pink and powder blue lining rain-soaked, near-silent streets. My tour guide for the day was Mick Johan, an artist who's lived in the area with his family for two years and who recently saw the completion of a skate park he designed under a raspberry-colored canopy at a former gas station.
Over the course of our conversation — which I shared here on Freunde von Freunden — we discussed his career (which includes a stint as the Editor in Chief of VICE Netherlands), his love of skating, and his deep affection for Noord, a working-class borough that's rapidly evolving as more and more creatives are priced out of the city's trendier neighborhoods. It's a hard place to describe — and, now that I think of it, both Mick and Jordi, our photographer, often resorted to a knowing smile when asked about its eccentricities. "Why are the houses pink?" I asked Mick at one point. "Because this is Noord," was his answer.
Read more on Freunde von Freunden, and find the rest of my interviews, here. Beautiful photos by Jordi Huisman (whose Rear Window series I posted about last month).