>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 live in.

>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 ?
Well, 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 by.

>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 and 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 movement.
“ 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 heads 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 colors ?
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!

>Fighting 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 Risbo’s [FrotteConnard] 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 and rhymes. 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. The 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