20 Feb Update: Jaco Haasbroek
Jaco Haasbroek is an illustrator and designer living in Cape Town. While refined in his approach, Jaco injects his work with an unmistakable sense of liveliness through his clever and humorous play on words. Here we take a look at some of Jaco’s recent work and learn a bit more about him while we’re at it:
To start, tell us more about your journey so far.
I grew up in Joburg, studied Fine Art at Stellenbosch University and moved to Cape Town in 2009. After working at an Ad Agency for two and a half years I decided to go freelance.
What did you want to be growing up?
From a very young age I knew that I wanted to be an artist. As time went by my idea of what it entails has changed, but thankfully it’s kind of worked out that way.
How would you describe your work to someone who’d never seen it before?
It’s quite basic – the main driving force behind the work usually being an idea or concept. I try not to take it too seriously. I like a play on words and drawing faces on things.
In what ways has your style developed or changed since you first started out?
I think I’ve simplified and refined it slightly. My recent work might look a little bit more ‘polished’ compared to some older illustrations. I’ve also tried to broaden my colour pallet.
Does your environment influence your work in a way that you’re consciously aware of?
Yes, in the sense that my environment serves as inspiration through the information it provides. This includes people, places, objects and nature.
What are some of the other things that influence and inspire you?
A variety of things, including other people’s work, books, popular culture, language, problem solving/creative solutions and an ongoing need to improve my skills and be better at what I do.
Tell us more about your creative process. Do you have any routines?
I am constantly trying to come up with new ideas for my work. If inspiration strikes, I write down a sentence or make a very basic sketch of it. It’s really important to always document your ideas. If I have a specific brief from a client I’ll spend some time thinking about the project first and try to come up with a variety of ideas. Once I am happy with one or two concepts, I’ll start the process of sketching it, first with pencil on paper and then finishing it digitally. Most of my work now ends up being digital.
It seems as though you’re always working on personal projects as well as commissions. What importance do you place on this?
There needs to be a balance between Client Driven Work and Self Motivated Projects. As great as it is to have the freedom to do whatever you can think of, it can be quite tiring. You then not only need to create the problem, but also come up with the solution. Being given a specific problem to solve, can be liberating and have its own rewards, despite its limitations. Personal projects usually take a longer time to bear fruit. The important thing is to keep working. If you don’t work, you can’t eat.
Describe your ideal environment for creating.
It depends on which part of the creative process I’m busy with. If I am thinking of new work, I need to be in a space that is constantly changing and provides the largest amount of information, without being too noisy (visual and auditory). Other times I need to have nothing except the outdoors and my sketchbook. When I am busy with the mechanical part of the process, I like working in a relatively neat environment that allows me to focus on the task at hand. It helps working alongside other creatives as this can fuel your own process.
What do you love most about what you do?
I really enjoy making things and having the freedom to take on different projects.
What are you working on at the moment? Any exciting projects coming up?
Making new work. I will be looking at launching a variety of products and focus on having an exhibition or two.
And finally, what could we expect to find you doing when you’re not working?
Spending time with my girlfriend, friends and family.
Visit Jaco’s website for more: jacohaasbroek.com
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