>Could you present yourself ?
Ah, good question.
Well, lets say “ Hi,
I call myself Jeroen (after
the name my parents gave me), I have my base in Rotterdam and Paris,
and what I do outdoors is mostly without permission.” And why should
I, I would think. “I am a decorator,
an urban player, a vandalist, and an artist too.”
As a starter, I don't do 'Streetart' and
I don't like that label. I think its silly and pointless,
but more about that some other time. For the occasion,
lets talk about it as Urban Intervention Art. Started
having my first urban experience when I was around 9 years old. With
chalk drawing on the neighbors'
pavement, where it was not allowed. >From there on it when off hill
;) Then somewhere in the early '80s there was my discovery of the first
unautorised walltext (punkstyle latex) and shortly after my own first
act with the spraycan.
The perceved obvious move to graphic design-school was made after that.
Next, the quick escape (just before they totally destroyed my pleasure
in drawing) and recovery from that. Again a couple of years later I made
my move to artschool. Only after graduation and doing all kinds of silly
things I found a good balance between my love for the outdoors, and the
potential of Art as a tool for having a good time and ventilating my critics
at the same time.
>Is Influenza an urban virus ?
Good question. Actually I see Influenza is a big ongoing project. An
urban virus, I wished! And ambition, yes. And ideal, and utopian engine
even. An anti-dote, against all the shit surrounding us.
But in practice, next to being mostly a very unpractical name to use,
it is mainly a
label for the traces of my existence and thinking about the times we
>Contrary to people like Space Invaders, Shepard
Fairey or André,
you have runned –and you're running- several projects at the same
time ? Is it something important for you not to repeat yourself ?
good question Eko. Actually doing the same old same old tricks
over and over again looks a bit boring to me. But it depends what your aim is
with the things you do. I guess they just want to make a buck with the
thing they. for me it is speculating but perhaps people working like
that, think that changing the look of the work would not be understood
by their audience. In that sense you could say their business-approach
keeps them prisoner of their own visual language maybe. There is no or
hardly any experiment in it as I can discover it or even critique of
some kind that matters. Doing the street thing as such, is just another
sidetrack of the entertainment industry how it seems. An advertising
campaign for the toys, caps, t-shirts, key hangers, pillows, posters
and other collector gadgets-crap. All fine, but it doesn't look very
ambitious outside the range of the wallet. "Happy art is
really silly. Bubble gum decoration."
To come back to your very interesting question, one of the reasons I
do various projects, is 'cause I like to play with the discoveries I
do and conclusions I make after one project. In a way, all the projects
together focus in a different angle on the things I turn around in my
work in general. And you could say that that is about the relation between
us, me and the coded city we live. The traces we can leave behind. The
effect of time on it. How various powers move around us in an attempt
to sustain order or chaos. To work with visual codes and language
is a choice (as far as you could say that) is the thing I want to stick
>Was « Kill your Darling sticker series » a
kind of joke ?
Surely a good question indeed, but not really,
or if it was, not a very funny one I'd say. Actually most I do is meant
to be fuckin’ serious.
I'm not a very haha-guy really. It could be seen as funny but would
just be a misunderstanding. About the Kill Your Darling series, besides
being a tribute to those people their logo's I used, it was also an
invitation for something more and different. A question to be surprised
for a change. Like your question before, it's nice to see innovations
in visual critique. I mean, stuff that could function as a tool to
reflect on ‘life in the cities we live’. The actions of
the ANTI-PUB people in the metros against this oveload of billboards
everywhere, are much much more interesting and have much more impact
and to tell and share that the ego-logo stuff we saw developing around
6 years ago. That logo-style was a phase, we learn from it, but then
after having our experiences we have to progress. Next step. and I
think that moment is now. Don't know in which direction, everybody
has to choose and decide that for themselves, but I think just working
for the fame of a logo and than just exploiting it as any other commercial
brand does, is just as cheap as all the other stuff I dislike in the
streets of today. With our works we should be critical of that
commercial flood of shit that's raining down on us today from all corners
not just follow the streams or even encourage it.
>How do you see « stickering » different
from other street-art interventions ?
Interesting question, dude. Actually I don't. It's just a tool as any
other, in your dialogue with the surface that surrounds us. In our mission
to speak the free voice of our active citizenship and urge to decorate
our cities, every tool is as valid as the other. Spray paint, poster
works, stickers, tape or whatever. All the tools are just the outside.
The important thing is the attitude behind it. The energy someone puts
in it or the message he wants it to speak. That should be the main focus.
II think also in websites like these (ekosystem, woostercollective, stickit.nl,
stickernation, stencilrevolution etc.) it could be much more a focus
than just the formal talk about random character A of logo B or the calligraphy
of mister C. We should promote the innovation and progress in
our piracy aswell as the reasons of our resistance
“ Design is our enemy!”
>What is the action you have done you are the
most proud ?
Good question Jerry. If you really insist on an answer I would say my
resistance to not sell my ass and what I believe in to any, and oppose
the dark forces of the easy opening wallet.
But it's very double at the same time.. poverty sucks too! Haha! At
the same time dudes like Shepard Fairey or Andre would laugh their
off! You know, it's fuckin easy to walk that path. The only thing you
really need is persistence. Just going on to do one and the same trick
over and over again until it's known by a lot of people and then just
exploiting it. That's just a simple low budget marketing strategy. But
the fun of pioneering in art and visual culture lies at the other end
of the table I think. And for some reason most of the walletpeople are
not in the corner..
>Is black & white better than rainbow
Ha! Tricky question. My first impulse would tell yes! Definitely! Fullcolour
is the tool of the professionals. The companies with money. The design-studios
with the big budgets. I think our power lies where it is the cheapest
at the same time. Black and white, do-it-youself printwork, self cut
stencils, latex, spray paint, copied posters etc. and if necessary
a brick through a window at a good time. But again, we have to keep
innovating. Walk the territories marketing doesn't have the
guts to go. That's where our independence lies
and the experiment thrives.
But nothing wrong with a good rainbow at the time of course!
is good, but fighting against what or who ? (Who's your worst enemy
Aha! Smart question! Resistance is important. Against who, is of course
a question that keeps popping up, but I truly think in this the
energy generated by the fighting is the key-thing. It's the fuel of the visual
experiment. The energy of the freedom fight is aimed surely against all
that want to control. City and state governments, planners that decide
how we have to move our lives, architects that build new supermall-cities
we have to live in, graphic designers wallpapering our view, greedy marketing
pimps that try to push us into the cheap and hopeless consumer life,
cops that only protect the lifestyle of the ones that already have, sleeping
guards or even the ghosts of our childhood, like parents of fucking schoolteachers
can work as good fuel for our passionate missions.
We have to be liberators, freedom fighters! Free spirits.
Who or what our opponents are? All the forces that keep us short and
bind up to slavery.
“ To arms my friends! To arms! Victory is in reach.”
>Would you like to give autographs when people
ask you ?
Haha, very funny question! Or do you mean my bank or tax office?
>Any upcoming projects, you would like to share
with us ?
Hmm, hard question. You mean like toys? ;) At this time I'm still working
on the promotion of the Art
of Urban Warfare as ongoing work. It's a collective project and I think still very valid
to promote. Collectivity is one of our biggest strengths in
this Urban Art-thing and that is one of the
main focuses of this project. It is playing around with (cultural)
history and having a good time at the
same time. For the rest I just keep working on the development of my
own kind of visual language or reconstruction and deconstruction ;)
>Could you tell us what was the last records
you played at home ?
Difficult question Jack. I think that would be
home-brew Cavage-cd, with some dopey catacomb tunes, just before I started
typing this blalba for you. (For audio-details check http://cavage.c8.com).
At this time De Kemphanen are
playing as a backdrop. Eindhovens pride and really funny goodvibe-tunes
They're like the audio-part of the solcrew.
But to be honest, I'm not much of a specialist in music, nor a discoverer.
Beastieboys still work on me.. aswell as a good humanbeatbox-concert
in the morning.
Okay Eeko, this is it man. Hope you can live with it as such.
Greetz from Jeroen Fuckin’ J. to you happy ekosys-readers. Keep ‘m
up, wet and sticky and stay in front of the wave!
INFLUENZA website : http://www.flu01.com
INFLUENZA on ekosystem
May 2004 - ekosystem.org