Jip Piet – ‘I find the ‘normal’ world a bit monotonous’
You might know the imaginative work of Jip Piet (32) from the illustrative work he does for Correspondent, de Volkskrant and other media. During the lockdown, he not only exhibited his own work, but also that of fellow artists. And his work is on display during the Rotterdam Art Week from 1 to 4 July. But most of all Jip Piet likes to create worlds in which he can escape himself: ‘I find the ‘normal’ world a bit monotonous’.
Illustrations, artwork, paintings, murals, merchandise. In what type of genre can you do your best work?
Creating performance installations is what I like most. The creation of my own world. It can be an exhibition, or something at a festival, or in a place where you don’t expect it at all. I prefer to work in a space that I can completely adjust to my liking with, for example, sound, image, light and smell. I then incorporate drawings and patterns that could also be viewed as separate art works.
Where do you get the inspiration to make these works?
In recent years I have made many trips in Latin America. It seems as if the bond with nature’s magic is more present there. I try to connect to that feeling. But it’s also hard work and just keep trying. It could take three months before I really have a great idea that I want to develop further.
How would you describe your own work?
On the one hand I make commissioned illustrations, on the other hand I do free work. The performance installations. In my work I try to ask questions about reality. What is the norm? The work itself is somewhere in between art and illustrations. I like to exhibit my work without too much context. It must be an experience you cannot avoid.
For example, I am now in the investigative phase of a project. I am going to shoot three music videos, and I’ll create an installation where each video will be recorded in. I don’t necessarily view music as a three-minute pop song. A song could also go on for an hour as a rhythm that merges with the surrounding space.
You’ve completed a bachelor’s degree as an Interior Architect at the Royal Academy of Art. Do you remember why you chose that study and do you use this knowledge in your current work?
In the past I wasn’t aware you could also make or invent something that does not necessarily have a functional purpose. You’re young and you think about what suits you. I really liked it in the beginning, but slowly but surely it became less about creating and more about responding to the wishes and needs of the customer. Furnishing and designing started to bother me more and more. It always had to be functional and it had to be about something. That’s still a twosome in my mind. Do I just want to make things that make people think? Or do I also want to create something functional that makes people think? The artistic struggle, haha!
It is sometimes said that artists are never really satisfied with their own work. How about you?
Yes, I kind of agree with that. For example, I drew for the Correspondent for a very long time. I liked doing that, but in the end I’m not really happy with the end result. The articles I drew about determined too much of the work. I illustrated about Brexit for quite some time. Then at some point I only got asked to do illustrations about Brexit. It takes time to work your way out of that. I’m finally at a point where people more and more ask me for collaborations that have no link with previous illustrations.
Dilemma: create a masterpiece (in your eyes) that hardly anyone will see, or go viral with something you’re not completely happy with?
Going viral, haha. As said, you always create things you’re not completely satisfied with. Going viral creates more attention, which may open more doors to other work.
You recently started the Raam Maar initiative, would you like to tell us something about it?
With Raam Maar I organize two weekly drawing art exhibitions. An artist makes nine drawings that I exhibit in my window. It originated in the first days of the lockdown. Of course nothing was organised. The only outing I had left was going to the supermarket. I happen to live in a square where one window of my home is prominently visible to passers-by. So then I jokingly hung some of my drawings in the window.
Suddenly there were people standing in front of the house all the time. One thing led to another and now we are at our 46th exhibition! We also have several locations that rotate the works. In addition, we now also organize small events around the opening of new exhibitions. I think Raam Maar will also continue after corona. It’s a good feeling to offer other artists a stage.
Finally, what does success mean to you?
Success means to me that I can just do what I want. That I don’t have to think about what I’m doing every time. It’s a kind of mental agility, which allows you to deal with any situation and not get stuck in what doesn’t work for too long. And then when you have some kind of success in what you do, share it with others. I try to achieve that with Raam Maar.
During Rotterdam Art Week (1-4 juli) Jip Piet is opening the doors of his atelier in atelier-building Kunst & Complex.
Geschreven door: Sidney Steinmann